We are reader supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Also, as an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
How many times have you heard this phrase: “It’s just a game. It’s meant to be fun.”
On the same note, how many times have you heard this one: “Sports are more than just a game. They’re a way of life.”
Those two statements have two completely different meanings, so one is right, and one is wrong, correct? Not necessarily. What if I told you that both statements have some truth to them? The truth is, sports are just games, but they also have a way of offering meaning to life.
This is why many parents opt to start their kids in sports at an early age, which often turns out to be a good decision.
Sports are important for youth because it helps give them a sense of purpose, teaches them how to deal with failure, helps them become a good teammate, keeps them active, and helps them build healthy relationships.
Continue reading to learn more about how sports can be beneficial for youth.
How Can Sports Give Youth a Sense of Purpose?
People who feel as if they have a sense of purpose in life live longer. Anthony Burrow of Cornell’s College of Human Ecology found this to be true in his research of the benefits of having a purpose in life.
Kids are no different than adults, and in order for them to thrive, they must feel as if they have a purpose. Sports can do that by giving them something to look forward to outside of their everyday activities such as school and chores.
Some may argue that sports can be a distraction from more important things such as school work and family. However, as Burrow would argue, when kids feel as if they have a purpose, they will become more productive in their school work and family interactions.
On the flip side, it is important that kids who play sports don’t allow their sport to be their entire identity. Instead, they should be encouraged to play sports not so that they can find themselves, but so that they can become a well-rounded human being.
How Can Sports Teach Kids How to Deal with Failure?
In sports, there are winners and losers. No one has ever been successful at everything in sports. Even the best of the best lose from time to time.
In sports, failure is inevitable. Playing sports allows kids to fail at something in a relatively low stakes environment.
It is much easier to handle not getting the job as an adult when you’ve lost your starting position on the football team as a kid.
Losing a client for your business is not so bad when you’ve lost in the championship game in Little League.
It is easier to navigate that helpless feeling of not knowing what to do when your first child is born after having to deal with the same feeling when your coach made you switch positions when you were 12 years old.
Obviously, failing in sports is not the equivalent of failing at something in life. But for kids, sports gives them a taste of what it is like to fail at something and then have to persevere through that failure.
If you don’t want your kids to give up at the first sign of failure, then sign them up to play youth sports because they will develop the grit necessary to succeed in life.
How Can Sports Teach Kids be Good Teammates?
“Teamwork makes the dreamwork.” We have all heard this phrase, and those of us who have both played sports and maintained a successful career understand the truth in it.
Most sports require teamwork, and playing sports at a young age can help kids understand the importance of getting along with others and working together as a team.
Team sports help kids understand that they are a small piece to a much larger puzzle. Even when kids are the best player on the team, youth sports teaches them to trust their teammates to do their job to help the team win.
It teaches them selflessness and leadership. When other players on the team need help to get better, it teaches them to use their strengths to improve others’ weaknesses.
When the team is having success, youth sports teaches players to give credit to teammates for helping the team succeed.
Can these lessons about teamwork be learned in activities other than sports? Absolutely. But because the goal of playing a team game is to win, sports have a unique way of teaching kids that in order for the team to win, everyone must play their part.
According to the Ultimate Medical Academy, one of the most desirable traits in an employee is being a team player.
If you want your kids to go on to be sought-after employees, then signing them up for sports at a young age will teach them the teamwork skills necessary for the real world.
How Can Playing Sports Keep Kids Active
In order to live healthy lifestyles, kids need to keep both their bodies and their minds active. Playing youth sports is a great way to do that.
Playing sports helps kids get the necessary exercise they need to stay physically healthy. Also, learning new skills and learning about their sport helps keep their brain active as well.
Regardless of what some of them may say, kids hate to be bored. They crave brain stimulation even more so than adults.
One of the many reasons kids love to play video games is because it stimulates their mind and satisfies that craving. While they may give kids that fix from boredom, one thing that video games can’t do is offer the physical activity that kids need to be healthy.
That is where sports come into play. Learning to play sports offers both brain stimulation and physical activity for kids.
Most kids don’t like to go for a run just to get some exercise. However, if you put them in a basketball game, they will run up and down the court all day. Kids that refuse to run at home will sprint when they are chasing after a fly ball.
Sports are a fun way for kids to get exercise. At the end of the day, what more can parents ask for if their son or daughter is enjoying themselves while also maintaining great physical shape?
How Can Sports Help Kids Develop Healthy Relationships?
They often say life is not about what you know, but who you know.
Sports are a great way for kids to get to know other kids and also gain more adult role models.
Kids who grow up playing sports often have an easier time making friends as they get older. Typically in youth sports, a new season means a whole new team. This means that kids must get to know new teammates each year and develop a relationship with them.
Their social network expands each year they sign up for a new sport.
Evangelist Billy Graham once said, “A coach will impact more people in one year than the average person will in an entire lifetime.” For most kids, their parents are their role models. But when kids play sports, they are also introduced to more adult role models in their coaches.
Coaches can sometimes get through to kids even more than their own parents to teach them life lessons on discipline, hard work, toughness, etc.
As a parent, it is okay to admit that you sometimes need help teaching your child these things. That is where their coaches can come in handy.
As they move on to higher levels of sports, kids often spend as much if not more time with their coaches than their parents. That is why it is important for kids to build positive relationships with coaches at an early age. Playing youth sports can provide that positive relationship.
Are Youth Sports Expensive?
Youth sports can be as expensive as you want them to be. If you plan to play travel sports, yes, they can be expensive thanks to uniforms, tournament fees, travel costs, and sometimes hotel stays.
Playing in the local recreation leagues, however, can be rather cheap. There is often a one-time sign-up fee, but it is relatively cheap compared to the cost of travel ball. For families that cannot afford to buy equipment, oftentimes the league will provide the necessary equipment.
What Sports Should Kids Play at a Young Age?
Any sport will teach kids the lessons discussed in this article, but the most common sports that kids play at a young age are baseball, soccer, and basketball. This is because most local recreation leagues offer these sports, and they are rather easy for kids to learn the basics.
Should Kids Play Travel Baseball or Little League Baseball?
There are benefits to playing both travel baseball and Little League. It is typically recommended for kids to start out playing Little League when they are young to learn the game. If they need to be challenged as they get older, it might be time for them to start thinking about travel ball.
Kids should never feel pressured to play travel ball. If they enjoy baseball and want to see how they stack up against better competition, then they should play travel ball. If they just want to play to have fun, there is nothing wrong with playing Little League.
Do Little League Coaches Get Paid?
How Long is a Little League Baseball Game?
When is it Too Late to Play Baseball?
Travel Baseball: Pros and Cons
What Months are Baseball Season?
Who Invented Baseball Caps? (Detailed Explanation)
How to Start a Travel Baseball Team