You miss 100% of the shots you never take -Wayne Gretzky
The benefits of youth sports
“Dad, can you help me?”
I look down at my daughter. She is trying feverishly to get her new shin guards into her knee high soccer socks. I kneel down and smile at my daughter. I roll down her sock so she can get the pad set correctly then I roll it back up.
“Are you nervous?” I ask
“No…. yes, maybe a little.” She replies.
She looks so proud in her new soccer uniform. She spent the morning ironing her jersey and organizing her soccer bag for the first real game of the spring season. I can tell that she is nervous by how she holds her soccer bag tightly to her side as she waits for all of her teammates to arrive. At her request we were the first people from our team to the soccer field, almost an hour early.
Yeah, she is definitely nervous.
I look at her and ask “Did you practice hard this week?”
“Yes, dad. You took me to practice!” She replies sarcastically
“Then you have nothing to worry about. Go out there and do your best. Play as hard as you can and leave all your effort out on the field. Go out there and show what you can do!”
“I will dad, you just watch me!” She replies as she runs off to meet her arriving teammates.
As she runs up to her teammates, her friends, I smile to myself. This is what makes all the late practices, the early mornings, the overnight tournament trips all worthwhile. Watching my child laugh and play with her team.
What are the benefits of youth sports?
A 2018 study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity in U.S. Children, 1999-2016) showed overweight and obesity rates increased in all age groups among children ages 2 to 19. The rates of older children generally increased with age, with 41.5% of teens being obese by 16 to 19 years old.
These numbers are shocking.
Regular physical activity benefits health in many ways, including helping build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints and helping control weight and reduce fat. Sports and exercise is also one of the least expensive ways to stay healthy
A British Journal of Medicine study from 2013 found that exercise can prevent chronic diseases as effectively as medication .
As you will note as the amount of children participating in sports falls, the rates of obesity rise.
As you can see even a small amount of exercise can have a dramatic effect on cognitive abilities.
After school sports or recreational sports programs help to increase a child’s learning and participation in academic activities. According to a study by the Policy Interpretation Network on Children’s Health and Environment (PINCHE) physical activity in general is associated with improved academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores.
Currently most children believe that social networking is sitting on a comfortable surface on the social media application of their preference. Studies are showing that this kind of behavior is detrimental not only to a child’s physical heath but has been shown to increase depression in children.
However the physical activity in sports have a positive effect in the emotional development of children. There is also the added bonus of the building of self esteem and leadership skills.
Children are also less likely to smoke or suffer from loneliness and low self-esteem, when compared to non-athlete peers, according to research used for the Healthy Sport Index study.
Team sports build a support network of children working to accomplish a common goal. In this a child builds their self esteem in accomplishing goals and also learns to lean on their teammates during times of struggle.
Sports will introduce your child to many different children from all different backgrounds and cultures. It creates a common goal that all those involved strive to accomplish and will need to work together to achieve