11 Things Playing Sports Can Teach Kids
Parents begin signing their little ones up for sports as early as age 2 these days, and though it may seem ridiculous to some to put a toddler in an oversize soccer jersey and send him onto a field, there's so much more to it. Signing a child up for sports helps them learn about a fun game, yes, but also teaches them invaluable skills that they can use throughout their entire life.
Read through for 11 life lessons and skills sports can teach your child from the day they step onto the court.
Being a good sport is one of the most important parts of being on a sports team — and that skill is completely transferrable into the real world. Competition is a very real and innate thing, but learning how to be a graceful winner is super important.
What it's like to be a part of a team.
Though some sports are on an individual level, team sports help a child to learn to hold themselves accountable. Through team sports they’ll realize that they are one moving part in a large group and that everyone’s efforts combined are what will bring the team to glory.
The importance of following the rules.
Every game has its own set of rules, and any child participating needs to know, understand, and follow those rules to be successful. Through learning how to follow the rules, kids will have to embrace patience and fairness.
When you’re running down a soccer field looking for someone open to pass to, you’re relying on your team to communicate to you. Communication — both verbal and nonverbal — is a big part of life and a huge part of sports. Kiddos can learn how to express themselves, listen to others, and use body language in an effective and appropriate manner through sports.
Taking instruction and criticism.
A sports coach will give constructive criticism, ask a team member to do something for the benefit of the whole team, or call out plays on the sidelines. Learning how to take instruction from someone — who they may or may not agree with — is an important skill, as is being able to listen to and not get frustrated by constructive criticism (and more importantly, take it to heart and work on themselves after).
You have to practice something to become better at it.
You can’t be good at a sport that you don’t practice — raw ability can only take you so far. To become the best you can be on your own and as part of a team, you have to practice hard and work to achieve goals (though using the phrase “practice makes perfect” may be a bit anxiety-inducing).
How to pursue goals and achievements.
With any sport there is a goal to reach — being the fastest in the pool or throwing more touchdowns than the other quarterback — and kids learn through training how to work toward those goals. This is a valuable skill to possess as they go through school and eventually work.
What fitness can do for the mind and body.
Sports are a great way for kids to get their energy out, release some endorphins, and stay fit. Learning early on how to treat your body and how good being active can make you feel inside is invaluable and will hopefully help inspire a healthy lifestyle.
How to trust others and themselves.
There’s no “I” in team, so your little one will have to learn to trust their teammates to help lead the team to victory. They’ll also learn to trust themselves — their skills, their instincts, and their knowledge of the sport — more and more after every practice and game day, which will totally translate to trusting themselves off the field.
Time management skills.
Playing a sport takes up a lot of time, which means getting into a routine with family time, homework, school, and other responsibilities. Because sports are considered extracurricular activities, kids who play them have to learn how to tackle everything else on their plate efficiently.
Winning isn’t everything.
If there’s anything a sport can teach it's that you can’t be the best at everything, and that’s OK. Though some kids may become frustrated with not being the most successful at their sport, they’ll learn through each soccer season and golf game that all you can do is practice, do your best, and be proud of what you accomplish.