Assessing the Value and Benefits of Youth Sports for Kids in 2013
Now that 2013 is underway it’s a good time to reflect on youth sports and all the wonderful things kids learn from being part of a sports team. Sure, the times have changed and more kids today are specializing in one sport, playing year-round, and some are even involved in travel leagues — still, the lessons kids learn remain the same. In fact, I would argue that youth sports might be the best place for a youngster to learn about things like mental toughness, discipline, motivation, and resiliency — four of the most important aspects to life success.
I often talk to coaches and parents about the importance of Athletic Transferable Skills, and how these skills are closely related to confidence development (and sport psychology studies show confidence is related to performance success). Unfortunately, kids don’t always recognize these skills on their own, making it even that much more important for adults to talk openly and often about them. Listed below are a few important Athletic Transferable Skills kids often experience in youth sports:
- Being a great team player. It is important we help kids understand what it means to be a great team player, which at times requires leadership skills while other times means being a good follower. When team members play in synchrony, team cohesion and chemistry improve, and team success usually follows. Ironically, teamwork is also important in the classroom, as well as in many careers, making it a big skill for kids to master while playing sports.
- Resiliency. Everyone who competes in sports will eventually experience stress, anxiety, frustration, and yes – losing. As the old saying goes, “it’s not how many times you fall down, but how many times you get up.” Resiliency is key not only for athletic success, but everything we do in life.
- Multi-tasking. Young athletes learn early on about the importance of planning their schedules and juggling all the things they do, including sports, school, and other activities. Being able to multi-task is a great skill to develop and today’s young athletes typically learn how to do this very early in their careers.
- Problem solving. In sports we often see average teams over-achieve by learning how to problem solve and use enthusiasm and team spirit to gloss over deficiencies in talent. Life is no different than sports in that we are often pushed to be creative in our problem solving abilities and make the most of the talents we have.
Of course, there are countless more great skills and experiences kids enjoy from playing sports, but this is a short list of some of my favorites. Take time to sit down with your kids and talk about how sports can be used to help them eventually trampoline into bigger and more successful life experiences. Good luck!
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