The benefits of sports for children are well documented. Playing sports has been shown to improve cognitive, physical, and social skills. Playing sports in high school helps prepare young people for the challenges of adult life, like self-discipline, accountability, teamwork, and self-confidence. In college sports, playing sports helps prepare students for the challenges of career, like self-motivation, perseverance, and ability to follow instructions.
Parents, schools, and teachers all know that physical activity, especially sports, is good for the mind and body. Kids who play sports experience an increase in physical activity, increases in muscle strength and flexibility, increases in muscle mass, better bone density, increased cardiovascular fitness, improved mental awareness, better learning and memory, and improved self-esteem. Playing sports also helps develop leadership skills. Teams are more successful when members work together to achieve a common goal. A group of young people working together to achieve a goal builds cohesive and positive leadership qualities that will be essential in their careers and later in life.
Beyond the physical benefits of sports, playing sport has long-term positive health benefits. Playing sports improves concentration, enhances reaction time, improves motor skills, and leads to increased bone density. Playing sport is also beneficial to emotional health. Youth athletes who participate in recreational sports are less likely to develop depression and more likely to engage in positive social behaviors.
Parents should get their children involved in various types of organized sports, from Little League to varsity sports, as early as possible. Pre-interest in sports develops in the infant years, so parents who start a pre-interest in sport at an early age can have a strong influence on the child’s sport interests as they grow older. A great way to get your child involved in the sport of their choice is to enroll him or her in a sports camp, which allows him or her to practice different sports for a set period of time. Sports camps are excellent opportunities for parents to bond with their children, socialize with other parents, and provide a fun environment for learning and having fun.
Once a young person has developed a love of sports, it is important to provide them with a variety of sports-related activities. Young people who are focused on improving their athletic performance should participate in a wide range of sports, including basketball, track and field, soccer, softball, volleyball, and track and field. Other types of sports should also be included, including soccer, softball, baseball, basketball, tennis, swim, skiing, snowboarding, motor sports, and bicycling. In addition, outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, rowing, and fishing are important activities to consider. By providing these activities year round, parents are helping their children develop physically, emotionally, and mentally.
While most young people are passionate about one or two sports, there are many sports that a child may be passionate about and not know that they are interested in. Parents can help by asking their child what types of sports they like and why. If the answer was because they enjoy the competition, the parent should begin to seek out and play sports with the young person as often as possible. Providing young people with an opportunity to experience physical activity on a regular basis will help them develop mentally and emotionally while maintaining a healthy balance between academics and extracurricular activities.