Everyone knows that playing a sport is a great way to get exercise. Yet, athletics are more than simply a workout for your body. Playing a sport helps children to build confidence and mental agility as well. Encouraging your child to try playing a sport has significant benefits that, while not initially obvious, can positively impact your child’s long-term development.

Playing on a team should give your child a greater sense of the importance of being part of a community. Representing a school, community, or club can give a child a feeling that they belong and that they are connected to something important. Working with other people for a common goal helps to develop team-building skills and gives a child an opportunity to invest in something that doesn’t only involve herself. Children learn how their performances and behaviors impact others.

Playing a sport teaches children the importance of persistence, practice, and patience. Learning the importance of sticking with an activity and trying to improve is not limited to sports. When a child learns that hard work and persistence can lead to positive results, she becomes motivated to work harder. She can patiently work through challenges and overcome mistakes. When a child feels that she can achieve her goals by never giving up, she has a better chance to succeed long after she stops playing the sport.

A child involved in sports learns to problem solve. Participating on a team, children can encounter social problems, physical problems, and even problems with comprehension. Socially, a child has to determine her role on the team. Is she best-suited for a leadership role? Or would she contribute more as a supporting player? Determining her place within this group will teach her to network and maneuver effectively long after the team plays its final game. Physically, a child must determine her strengths as well as her limitations. How can she play to the best of her ability without getting injured? Understanding the team’s strategy is also a key component of playing a sport. A child has to be quick to react and respond to the coach’s directions. She must be able to think on her feet, and she must develop a high IQ for the game. When a child can comprehend directions quickly, she tends to learn new material quickly and on a deeper level.

Participating on a team requires time management and executive functioning skills. Playing a sport requires a child to allot time for practice and games. This can take up from two to 15 hours a week, depending on the child’s age and skill level. Fit in homework, family time, social engagements, you name it…and executive functioning and time management skills must kick into high gear. If not, a child can easily fall apart. Often, the drive to be part of the team and play the sport can serve to motivate a child to manage time and responsibilities effectively.

So encourage your child to get out there and join a team. She will build skills that can help on and off the sports field. And she might love the exercise as well.  

 

GAMECHANGER can connect you to sports coaches who will help your child build skills and confidence.