Did you know July 15-21st is National Youth Sports Week? In an effort to elevate the importance of youth sports, the National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) is highlighting opportunities for communities around the country to level the playing field and allows kids full access to sports. You can join in on the celebration by encouraging kids in your community to play youth sports, from basketball to archery and everything in between.
Youth sports has evolved a lot over the years thanks to rule changes and health concerns. Heading restrictions in youth soccer, pitch count limits in youth baseball, and concussion concerns in football – among others – are changing the way youth sports are played. Additionally, we’ve seen youth sports grow into big business with travel teams and heightened costs to participate becoming more and more normalized.
Despite all these changes, one thing hasn’t changed – why kids play youth sports. In celebration of National Youth Sports Week, we’ve compiled a list of reasons why kids should play youth sports. From leadership to respect and time management, the potential benefits for kids are endless.
WHY SHOULD KIDS PLAY YOUTH SPORTS?
A boost in self-esteem and confidence.
Baseball, swimming, gymnastics, and other sports put kids in challenging situations that help them learn a lot about themselves and give them a sense of empowerment from doing a good job or overcoming hardships. From a coaches’ high five after a stellar baseball at-bat to a teammate’s pat on the back after a set-winning volleyball spike, simple gestures during play help kids build confidence.
Understanding how to work on a team and foster relationships.
“I get by with a little help from my friends…”
One of the most important benefits of youth sports is the social aspect. For many, teammates are also best friends. Time spent with others at the hockey rink or on the wrestling mat helps kids build a sense of camaraderie and community.
Becoming a better leader.
Last week we referenced Marta’s great speech following Brazil’s loss to France in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Leadership isn’t always about being the best or coming out on top; leadership is about being accountable for your actions, being a role model for sportsmanship, and inspiring others around you to achieve a common goal.
The good news? Leadership isn’t just for the captain of the soccer team or the star tennis player.
Learning the value of respect.
Playing sports teaches kids the fundamentals of throwing a football, catching a fly ball, or how to shoot a free throw, but learning from a coach, parent, or teammate also instills a sense of respect and authority for people and for rules. From a young age, kids who play sports can learn the value of respect towards coaches, referees, and opponents, as well as the consequences that come with not following rules.
Building time management skills.
Youth sports can help kids become better students thanks to a sense of time management and discipline. Balancing homework and schoolwork around going to lacrosse practice three nights a week can help kids understand the value of responsibility and keeping track of schedules.
Developing healthy lifestyle habits.
Sports give kids an introduction to living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Thanks to aerobic activity, they will build stamina and endurance that will help them maintain a healthy body weight. Even better – if a kid really loves playing a sport, exercising won’t even feel like a chore!
What would youth sports be without fun! Beyond respect, time management, and team building, youth sports provide kids a fun outlet to socialize and be themselves. Memories made playing youth sports will last a lifetime.
Think about the Little League World Series. Yes, it’s a competition and everyone is competing to win, but fun is at the center of it all. From handshakes to fun player introductions on ESPN to cardboard sledding in the outfield at Lamade Stadium, the Little League World Series helps illustrate how fun youth sports can be.