Benefits of Sport

On the fence as to if you should sign your child up for a team sport? You should — and here's why! Organized sports are a home run in more ways than one. In fact, endurance sports have been proven to actually raise IQ, in addition to building confidence and teaching kids about emotional self-control. Need more proof? Read on to discover why team sports can help your child become a champion for life!

Organized sports not only keep kids healthier physically, but mentally as well. Research shows that children who play organized sports are frequently healthier and physically stronger than their less athletic peers — and they are smarter as well.

According to sports psychology author Jim Taylor, Ph.D., endurance sports have been found to enhance brain development and raise IQ. In addition, he says that sports build confidence, develop focus, and teach kids about emotional control. "Kids learn essential life skills, such as hard work, patience, persistence, and how to respond positively to setbacks and failure," Taylor says.

Benefits of friendly competition

When playing on a team, kids, coaches and parents spend plenty of time together. Making sure everyone gets along comes down to one simple word: respect. Not only will your little athletes learn to respect and honor their coach and the coach's decisions, but also to respect their fellow teammates. By noticing the strengths that each individual player brings to the team, they'll learn to appreciate and respect each others' talents. It's healthy to be competitive, but respect fosters a friendly competition that pushes each teammate to be the best he can be.

In addition, team sports will give your youngsters something to take pride in. Once they achieve goals they set for themselves, they'll gain pride in their success and confidence in their skills.

You win some, you lose some

Even though you may get out the measuring stick at home to make sure each sibling has the same size piece of cake, kids must learn that in the real world life isn't always fair, unfortunately their team won't always win, and every call by the referee won't always seem fair. Dealing with disappointment will only make your youngsters stronger as they grow older. Not only will they gain the willpower to be the best athlete they can, but they'll also learn the importance of perseverance and endurance to get them through the rough times and most importantly, to never give up.

Helps kids find their swagger

Team sports are a huge self-esteem booster for kids to help them find their swagger. They'll gain greater confidence by learning about their own strengths and capabilities. In addition, kids involved in athletics tend to be natural leaders and learning leadership skills at a young age will be a big boost someday in the corporate world.

For girls entering adolescence, team sports are especially important. As Tonia Caselman, Ph.D., points out, this is a time when most girls are being bombarded by messages about the importance of their looks and popularity, which can take a toll on their self-esteem and even lead to eating disorders. Team sports help build their confidence by proving that they're valued for more than just their looks.

Organized athletics also have the power to give your children courage. Picture it now: The team is tied with two seconds left, and your child is handed the basketball just in time to make the game-deciding shot. When the buzzer goes off, the ball goes through the net and your child throws her hands up in victory, you'll be reveling in her courage and confidence.

By Cristin Chessman

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