Y Is For Youth Sports: 5 Reasons Kids Should Play Sports

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Please join me for a fun series.  My mission, and I’ve chosen to accept it, is to write a post based on each letter of the alphabet.  The English major inside of me is very excited about this project…and my inner nerd is even more fired up!  Keep checking back as I tackle the intangibles of sport…from A to Z.

My purpose for writing here is to connect with other coaches who are as nerdy about coaching as I am.  Those folks who can’t get enough about leadership and team building and all sorts of intangibles.  Which seemingly puts the topic of “youth sports” squarely outside of the perimeters of what I’m supposed to be talking about here.  I’ve talked in many different ways about the wonderfulness of sport and the fact that I believe in the power of athletics to cultivate greatness.  Kids receive intangibles from sports as well.  They may be different intangibles than high school or collegiate athletes, but they’re intangibles all the same.

5 reasons I think sports are great for kids

Social network.  Sports are a great way to make friends.  Kids find other people their age who are interested in some of the same things they are…they get a sense of belonging.  Perhaps the young person who feels uncomfortable asserting themselves or being aggressive in a classroom environment will step out of their shell on the court or field.

Healthy habits.  At the youngest levels, kids learn that drinking water is good for them, orange slices give them good energy, and that exercise is a good thing.  Beyond that, they learn that relying on others for their own success is the hallmark of “team”.

Develop discipline.  Having worked with elementary aged students, I know that it can sometimes resemble herding cats…cats that are all hopped up on caffeine.  Sport teaches kids the importance of being on time, sticking with what you start, working hard when you’d rather be somewhere else, and that you’re accountable to others.

Manage emotions.  I’ve known folks who coach middle schoolers and they have to teach young people how to control their emotions so that they’re actions can stay under control.  Talk about a lesson that will last a lifetime!   Those who coach that age group understand how  to teach teamwork (and how to squash the fight between basketball players who think the ball isn’t being passed enough), conflict management (it’s not okay to blame your teammate for the team’s loss), and team roles (everyone can’t be a starter).

Personal success.  Sport is a way for our children to stand on their own two feet and have their own accomplishments.  They’re no longer so-and-so’s daughter/son/sister/brother…but a person of their own right.  Athletics is the place where they can say, “I did it!”

Most athletes aren’t going to play sports in college…and even fewer will get scholarships to do it.  Hopefully these are five solid reasons for you to get the kids in your life involved with athletics.

Like this post?  Check out 4 Reasons Our Children Should Play Sports (Or My Love Letter To Athletics).