10 Benefits of Youth Sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 3/2/2020

Young people that participate in sports are less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as smoking, drugs, sex and criminal activity. Studies have shown reduced crime rates in areas with sports-based youth development initiatives. Those facts alone should be enough for parents to encourage their kids to play sports. But there’s more, so much more, that youth sports offer children.

  1. It teaches kids how to handle the mistakes they make and how to learn from them.
  2. Sports teach children the importance of teamwork, a lesson they will need later in life in the workplace, home and community.
  3. In youth sports, kids can learn how to be leaders. If the coach and the league see this as a goal and are intentional about teaching leadership qualities and skills, they will make a major impact on tomorrow’s leaders.
  4. Sports teach discipline—time management, playing according to rules, and working hard even when they do not feel like it. Kids can learn the value of being prepared.
  5. Sports teach kids how to deal with criticism and adversity, and how to get along with difficult people, whether it’s a coach or a teammate.
  6. They help prevent drug and alcohol abuse. Most athletes want to keep their bodies healthy so they can perform better. If they are educated on the dangers of drugs and alcohol and the negative effect they can have on their bodies, they are more likely to abstain. Being an athlete also gives kids an acceptable reason for saying no to drugs, booze and other high-risk, unhealthy behavior.
  7. Many athletes do better academically. They have a reason to keep their grades up and they are forced to manage their time better to get their homework done.
  8. Obviously, physical activity in sports helps kids stay fit and maintain a healthy weight. Hopefully, the love for fitness will keep them exercising for life.
  9. Kids who participate in sports are less likely to become smokers and they lower their risk for heart disease and diabetes down the road.
  10. Youth sports can help develop a child’s self-esteem and confidence. Coaches and parents play a huge role in facilitating this.

According to the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University, youth sports offer health, psychological and social benefits. Paul Caccamo, a Harvard graduate, explains that “sports are more than a game; they are a set of life lessons. Kids growing up without them are really disadvantaged.”

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.


USA Football's new model for youth football is designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and by teaching the game based on an athlete's age, the skill they are learning and game type.