Children learn in many ways. Play is one of them. Young children just love to play, and it forms such an important part of their learning and development. Competence in sport enhances physical development and gives a child confidence, a feeling of self-esteem and the ability to communicate. Sport also complements study and provides a healthy and balanced approach to work and play.
Facts about the kids of today:
- Children's physical activity has decreased over the last 30 years by 70%
- 50% of young people do not receive two hours of Physical education in a week
- Kids spend an average of 5.5 hours a day in front of a TV or computer
- It is predicted that kids born today will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents due to inactivity and diet
Promoting Health and Fitness
Sports is probably the best way to promote health and fitness among kids, and promote an active lifestyle throughout their lives. Staying fit can help a person maintain a healthy weight and decrease the risk of serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Kids who are physically fit also sleep better and are better able to handle the physical and emotional challenges that a typical day presents.
According to researchers at Michigan State University's Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, young people who play sports perform better in school than those who don't. Regular participation in sports teaches kids to focus on a task at hand and to manage their time effectively as they juggle school, sports, and a social life.
Winning and losing is a part of life. The earlier kids accept that, the better it will serve them in future. Sports teaches them this invaluable life lesson. Being able to shake hands with the competition, no matter what the outcome of an event, serves children well into their adult lives. Further, being part of a group and learning to do what is best for the team as a whole is one of the most valuable benefits of sports for young people.
Providing Positive Peers
Sports serve as a great platform to interact with others at an informal level. In many ways, it is an offline social network for kids. It helps build friendships, a support structure and a peer group of similar interests.
Building Self Esteem
Children develop positive self-esteem through accomplishments. Sports give kids opportunities to learn, achieve, and feel good about themselves through skill development and goal-oriented activities. When parents and coaches emphasize effort and improvement over winning or individual performances, they foster healthy self-image and positive self-esteem.
Being a team player and working effectively in a group is one of the most important lessons that sports teaches us. It is easy to understand how team sports have this benefit, but individual sports teach this too since there will always be a team to work with. Sharing the ball, listening to teammates, following the coach’s instructions and following group rules are fundamentals of good play.
Working Towards a Goal
Setting a milestone and achieving it bring great delight. However, as important as the result is, the process is equally if not more important. Preparation, hard work, planning, and lots of sweat result in achieving a milestone. Sports provide children with invaluable experience in breaking long-term goals into short-term objectives. Life skills such as commitment and perseverance are honed as kids mature beyond needs for instant gratification and work toward goals that demand long hours and hard work.
Perhaps the least talked about benefit, yet the reason group games originated; sports are meant to be fun! When competition is kept in check and sportsmanship is prioritized, pastimes that involve running, jumping, throwing, catching, diving, scoring, and high-fiving are made for cheering. Kids who know that fun is the name of any game are more likely to sign up to play and commit to a sport over the long haul.