7 Benefits of Making Active Play and Organized Sports a Priority
May 14, 2019 | by savannah traywick
Kids often have a lot of energy. Finding a way to channel that energy into something that is fun and constructive can be a challenge for a parent. A great solution to this inevitable dilemma is making active play a priority. Whether it’s at home or via organized sports, we’re taking a look at 7 of the benefits that result from active play and participation in organized sports.
1. The social aspect: One of the best things about belonging to a team is the relationships you build along the way. It’s a way for kids to feel included in something and helps them build confidence. From developing friendships with teammates to discovering what it means to be coachable – establishing a good relationship with their coaches. With sports, they (hopefully) will learn to work as a team with other people, kids they may or may not know. Friendships created in a team environment are unique in that those friends are there through every win and every loss. Indeed, being a part of a team helps children identify their leadership capabilities.
2. The discipline it gives: Sports can also teach essential lessons of discipline. Sports require a specific level of commitment – time and energy - with practices (including a willingness to put in work outside of the gym/field) and games or meets that are essential to playing. Being ready to go and on time is a great way to teach discipline in time management. Learning discipline can also be through respecting coaches and fellow teammates by not talking over them and listening to what they say on or off the field.
3. Family time: Parents might lament “May Madness” (the mad dash from school to field to track) but being together at the games and on the way to and from games and practices are great opportunities to connect. And, of course, there is the extra time the family can play at home. Owner of Full Court Athletics-SnapSports of Montana, Josh Charles, seconds the notion of getting outside and playing together as a family. He notes that play time for kids and families have drastically changed over the years, where they are now often indoors on devices. It wasn’t so long ago, he reminds us that “kids were riding bikes together, kicking a ball, or playing catch. Our courts and gyms bring back that unplugged, active family time.”
4. Knowledge of the game: When we provide opportunities for our kids to engage in active play at home, it gives parents a chance, explains Josh, to coach/parent their kid before sending them off to the court with an understanding of the game and what sportsmanship means (and in the parenting world, there are plenty of opportunities to teach sportsmanship – outdoors and in). That way, when they find their way onto a team setting, “they arrive with a good basis of the game and how fun it can be, win or lose,” says Josh.
5. It provides motivation: Having opportunities for active play available at home provides motivation to get outside and move! Josh, shares that he’s noticed their courts are a great active solution to the summertime “Mom/Dad, I’m bored,” conundrum. He says their customers can now suggest their kids go outside (or inside) to play any one of the many games you can play on their courts, which tends to create a chain reaction when the kids ask mom and dad or siblings to join in. Meanwhile, participating in team sports, engaging in healthy competition is a great lesson to teach kids early on. Whether they’re motivated by the good feelings of a win or a drive to make improvements off a loss, both are important skills developed in athletics and applied in life.
6. Making exercise fun: It is important for kids to move and have fun doing it. Being on a field, on a court, or on a stage are all great ways to get kids moving and feeling their best. When asked how easy it is to adapt their courts to a variety of activities, Josh shares that “SnapSports backyard courts and gyms are intended to be multi-purpose courts for all ages. Within minutes, you can switch from a slam dunk basketball game to 1 of 4 net heights, including everything from badminton to volleyball.” They’ve even added hopscotch, 4-Square, and life-size checkers to some of their installs.
7. The love of the game: If kids’ passion for sports grows more as they get older, they may follow different sports all the way through high school or into college. Sports provide a way for kids to develop their passions of leadership, communication, teamwork, fun, and healthy competition. Having a passionate kid, is having a happy kid. And providing them with an avenue to be active in some capacity will help them as an all-around individual.
Sports are about more than just goals, medals, or titles. Through a series of invaluable lessons, they help to shape the person your child is going to become. There are an incredible variety of activities to help kids get moving, it’s just a matter of finding the place where their heart belongs. Sports can help kids feel confident, excited, and challenged. Indeed, it’s been found that children and young adults who exercise regularly are more likely to seek physical activity and fitness throughout their lifespan, (Psychology Today, June 2015). Let’s get moving!