I’ve read articles by people who question the value of little league and who are so fed up with the craziness that they want to pull their kids out of youth sports altogether.
However, I still believe in youth sports.
Even with all the craziness, I feel that youth sports are more than worth saving. Here’s why I am still a believer:
Exercise helps kids do better in school. It gets blood flowing to the brain, which in turn improves the brain skills needed for learning, such as memory and concentration. Research shows that kids involved in sports do better in school than those who are not.
Sports boost confidence. Sports provide children with opportunities to meet new friends, all while developing their athletic skills. Both of these aspects play a role in the confidence that sports help build in young players.
Exercise promotes good health. It’s common knowledge that playing sports helps your child stay fit and keep a healthy weight, but research also shows that is helps fight diseases.
Sports teach teamwork. This is a quality that your child will need on the field, in school and in the workplace later in life. If your child can’t work with teammates in a sport they enjoy, how will they work with co-workers at a job they might not enjoy?
Sports prepare for life challenges. Sports teach many lessons – everything from time management to how to cope with a tough loss or failure. These lessons are undoubtably useful for kids to learn at an early age because they will face these challenges all their lives.
Sports give children a passion. Although I don’t encourage being a pushy parent who forces their child into sports, I do love that youth sports gives kids something to be passionate about. Sports shouldn’t define kids, but interest and participation at an early age can spark a lifelong love of them.
Sports force your child to have discipline and learn time management. If your child loves to play sports, he will have to learn to discipline himself to study and keep his grades up at school. My own kids even said that it was easier to keep their grades up during season because they were motivated to do so. They knew that if their grades were too low, they could not play.
Most coaches really do care about kids. They’re not in it for egos, for their own kids or for their resume – there are many coaches who just want kids to have a positive and growing youth sports experience.
Sports is simply fun for you and your kids. If you can keep laughing and not take yourself too seriously, you will see the true value of youth sports. As a family, so many fun memories can be made through years of youth sports.
Sports gives you opportunities to bond with your kids. Of course, sports can cause family issues if parents get controlling and try to live their dreams out through their kids. However, when parents are supportive, positive and engaged, they have an opportunity to bond with their kids through the wins and losses of youth sports.
I’ve seen the life-long value of the competitive experience and I believe there’s enough good for us to always have faith in youth sports.
Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.