There is no secret that everyone has different opinions about youth sports. However, there are good reasons why children can benefit from sports.
Just like with any other level of athletics, youth sports teach children important skills and traits. Even though some people think that playing sports at a young age is not suitable for development, many people would disagree. Parents sometimes go all out to make sure that their children play sports at a young age. There are also parents who believe that playing sports under a certain age is not about the child but more of the parents’ wants. Being a sports mom myself, I can say that I have met all types of parents with all types of opinions.
I grew up playing sports and started at the age of six. Today, my children participate in sports, so I have been in the world of athletics for years. I learned traits then that I witness my children and other children learning now. I decided to share a few of these traits for those who may have mixed emotions or are undecided about their children’s involvement in youth sports.
Young Athletes Learn to Be Coachable
Let’s first get an idea of what it means to be coachable. According to Merriam-Webster, being coachable means that a person is capable of being easily taught and trained to do something better. There are so many cases where parents get their kids involved, but the coaches have difficulty coaching the child. Some kids are naturally easily taught, but some do struggle with taking direction from coaches.
Starting at a young age can help teach kids to learn to be coachable and function better as they get older, and the level of play becomes more difficult. I have seen the difference in athletes who grew up playing sports and the athletes who started playing later in life. In my opinion, the players who started young were always more disciplined.
Remember, most every child has a desire to learn in general. By putting them in organized sports, they may become more willing to learn and more comfortable to teach. Sports are an excellent way to challenge children not only physically, but mentally as well. Young athletes tend to work hard to learn about the sport and play their position to the best of their ability.
Young Athletes Learn Teamwork
Children at young ages should learn to do group activities and be able to function in organized events. One of the best ways to do that is by letting them participate in organized sports. Youth sports teach children to work with others and can also help with their behavior. By having a sense of importance and knowing they are equal to their teammates, kids can build self-esteem.
Working together as a team is an important skill to learn at a young age. Children can benefit in many ways, from learning how to work with others. If they cannot work as a team, they cannot be successful and reach their goals. I have seen the outcomes of what happens when a team does not work together. Children can learn at young ages that they cannot let the little things amongst the team mess up the big picture.
Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.Michael Jordan
I know from experience that giving young athletes a role and responsibilities can help them build character. Having a position on a team can teach them how to do their part in a group. Setting goals as a team, and as an individual, gives young athletes something to work towards. When they set team goals, they learn to work as a group to achieve goals. They will use this their whole lives. However, setting goals as individuals teaches them to achieve personal goals and build confidence.
Young Athletes Learn It’s More Than Just a Game
Here is usually where some parents get their feathers ruffled. Everyone wants the kids to have fun, learn to love to play sports, and be a part of a team. In some cases, parents do not want their young children to receive discipline or punishment in sports. They do not feel like sports at that age is important, but it is the opposite.
Even though playing sports is supposed to be about having fun, young athletes have to learn that it is more than just a game, and even though they work hard to win, part of it is also learning how to lose. Many people would disagree when I say that not everyone deserves a trophy and awards should be earned. However, there have been many changes in how youth sports are viewed over the years.
For example, the idea that children who do not receive an award are left out, but I think that should be motivation to work harder, and that mindset starts by teaching children to work for what they want. Let your child learn that they must earn awards without negatively criticizing them. Constructive criticism is a way of showing children to learn from mistakes without tearing them down.
From growing up playing sports and watching my children play, I know how important it is to understand how to play as a team. There may be different opinions about what ages are right and how things should be taught, but when a child is ready to put themselves out there, then they should get the chance to learn these skills. Youth sports can teach children many things, and as parents, we should encourage them to work hard, and it will pay off in the future.