9 reasons you will be glad your kids play sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 3/23/2016

You’ve probably heard the usual reasons that playing sports is good for kids: character building, persistence, teamwork and fitness.

I’d like to add nine more very specific reasons I am glad that my three kids played sports from preschool through college. Today, as I see them react to what life throws at them, I’m glad for these lessons that they learned:

  • Dealing with difficult teammates. My son has dealt with coworkers who remind him of arrogant high school teammates. His sports experiences have given him the ability to see past annoying behavior and seek to understand.
  • Learning to work under pressure. When my son recently faced pressure in his job, I knew he would stay calm. He learned to keep his cool under pressure when he led his teams as a high school and college quarterback.
  • Learning to not give up on a goal, even when it feels hopeless. I see this daily in my daughter who is working hard to achieve a personal goal in her life. She has faced numerous setbacks, but she will not give up.
  • Learning to ignore naysayers. There will always be doubters and haters. It happened when my kids were on losing teams and when people expressed doubt in their abilities. If your kids learn to ignore the negative voices in sports they will be ready to do the same in life.
  • Learning how to understand his boss, the coach. All three of my kids had coaches who they struggled to read. The admonition of seeking to understand was preached over and over in our home and our kids are still practicing it today.
  • Learning to express what’s on his mind. We always made our kids confront the coach when they had questions or struggles. Learning to express their concerns to a person of authority or to any adult has made them confident communicators.
  • Learning to be patient. There was always a player who needed help on my kids’ teams, someone who struggled to keep up. As adults, my kids are able to give encouragement and compassion to coworkers, friends or neighbors who can’t quite keep up in life.
  • Learning to respect the strengths of others. The ability to appreciate others skills and support their talents makes for a great team player, in the game, in the office and in the home.
  • Learning he is defined by who he is, not by what he does. When integrity, honesty and hard work become the true measure of a champion, and not just stats, trophies and accolades, then your kids won’t base their self-esteem on performance–in the game or in life–but on who they know themselves to be on the inside.

I miss watching my kids play sports. Even watching my daughter coach softball is not the same. But as I see them apply their sports lessons to the real world as adults, I feel like a proud mom watching from the stands all over again.

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach's wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. She authored the Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series and has a podcasting series for sports parents. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.