The Physical, Social & Emotional Benefits of Playing Organized Sports
Have you thought about enrolling your child in a sport? The advantages of playing sport go well beyond just the physical health benefits that immediately spring to mind. While these are obviously important, you can be helping your child in so many different ways if you incorporate sports into their lives. Take a look…
- New friends
Even if it’s not a team sport, being part of a club where they can practice and compete will mean you’ll widen your child’s social circle. You’ll enable them to develop a social network that’s outside of their school friends – something that can be really important if their school friendships sometimes get a little stressful.
Sports often require group work, coordination, and a sense of working together. They can help children to develop an understanding of responsibility and of the concept that everyone is working together, with different roles, to achieve the same goal. Open discussions about people’s strengths – and weaknesses – are an integral part of this teamwork, which can be a positive way to learn about these team processes within a supporting environment.
Communication is often key to sport itself, but have a think about all the ways we communicate around sport: we share the excitement, give and follow directions, and sometimes have to take criticism and discuss challenges. In addition, sport can often require kids to talk to people beyond those who they normally interact with – perhaps other parents, coaches, competitors, or players from different age groups.
- Organization and commitment
Sport can be a great way for kids to gain an understanding of things like basic organization, planning, and commitment. Depending on their age, this can be as simple as managing their uniforms or sports gear or making sure they’re on time to practices. It can also give them a sense of the value of making a commitment to something: if they have a social event that clashes with their sport commitment, it can be a great learning opportunity for them to realise that compromise is necessary, or that they need to take responsibility by talking to the coach or finding a substitute player. These things enhance their understanding of planning, sacrifice, commitment, and organisation.
- Working hard and achieving goals
Whenever a new season – or even a new week – starts, your child has the opportunity to set goals for themselves. Perhaps it’s a particular skill they want to master or a particular number of goals they want to score. Either way, it can teach children that practice and focus have a big impact on achievement – an invaluable life lesson.
- Practice at Navigating Strong Emotions
Navigating the excitement of playing well and the frustrations of not performing at their best can help children to understand that these emotions come and go, and that often keeping a clear head is key.
Understanding what they can achieve, making new friends, becoming comfortable with new experiences and seeing their hard work pay off can all contribute to building confidence. This is often invaluable in other aspects of their life, particularly through the teen years.
Physical Health Benefits
Obvious, right? Australian’s today face the highest levels of obesity in history, and exercise is an integral part of managing both weight and fitness. Involving your child in sport teaches them how to incorporate physical activity into their lives, giving them the best chance to stay fit and keep physical ailments like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure at bay.
At any age, sports are a great way to get kids to do something that’s great for their physical health and that gives them new social experiences too. Involve your child in an organised sport and give them an opportunity to experience new challenges and new rewards, and to learn important skills that they can carry with them through into adulthood.
With the holidays fast approaching a sports camp can be a great way to keep your child active. Find upcoming Melbourne sports camps or search locally to find one in your area.