These days, there is no shortage of enrichment activities for kids to pick up after school or on the weekends. Your child might be interested in learning to play the flute, paint, code computers, or play tennis or football. But with so many options available, which one is the best?
In my opinion, it’s good for kids to try a variety of different activities. That way, they get exposed to different things and have a better chance of figuring out what is truly best for them. Having said that, I do think there is a strong case to be made for team sports regardless of your child’s long term athletic potential. There are 5 key benefits that children can get from participating in team sports.
Exercise and Fitness for Children
For starters, team sports are a great way to get exercise for children. Developing good physical fitness can have positive effects on your child now but these benefits will show even several decades later in adulthood. Being active and getting in good shape is great for your child’s health and also for their self esteem. Of course, physical fitness and good mental attitude are nice benefits that come from participating in any sport, not just team sports.
Cooperate to Accomplish Goals
No one ever won a football game on their own. In order to play at a high level, everyone on the team needs to coordinate and work together. You can’t try to score every time you have the ball. Instead, you need to pass to other players and run different plays to have a chance of winning. You also have to cover for each other on defense from time to time.
The real world is a lot like a sports field in that you can’t get much done on your own. In most careers, if you really want to succeed, you need to learn to work well with others. So, it’s a good idea to develop these skills early and team sports for kids provides the perfect opportunity for this.
Bonding, Socializing and Camaraderie
Part of playing a sport means competing but that’s actually just a small fraction of the time. Kids that play sports also spend lots of time going to practice and sports camps, some even travel for tournaments. All of these things provide lots of time for getting to know team mates outside of school, you literally have time to hang out with friends who have similar interests to yours. This can form the basis for friendships that in some cases can last a lifetime.
Build Leadership Skills
Almost every team goes through adversity from one time or another. Your child’s team may lose a few games in a row, or fall behind by a lot in a big game. Every time something like this happens, there is an opportunity for leadership. Some kids learn to lead by example, others might make a passionate speech at half time to get the team back in the game. Sometimes leadership is just small things like telling a teammate not to worry about a botched play, or congratulating someone on scoring.
Playing in team sports provides kids with a great platform to test and improve their leadership skills. This can be really helpful down the line if they ever find themselves managing a team at the office.
Memories That Will Last A Lifetime
Personally, when I think back on my own childhood, some of my fondest memories involve football. I made a lot of great friends, and had a lot of fun experiences. I also learned tons of invaluable lessons.
What will your kids think back on when they grow up? If they play team sports, there is a good chance they will develop at least a few lifelong memories.
My Final Thoughts on Team Sports for Kids
There are all sorts of activities for kids to do these days. I’m not saying that your child should focus exclusively on team sports, or on athletics for that matter. But I do think there are some pretty big benefits of participating in team sports, and that this should be one of the activities that most children should try.