Millions of people play team sport – and for good reason. Aside from the physical benefits of exercise, participating in team sports can help improve mental health and boost self-esteem. And, for children, sports can also promote better grades and social skills. Here are a few other reasons to get kids into team sport.
1. It teaches communication skills
A team sport requires a great deal of communication. Whether it’s listening to a locker room pep talk, picking up non-verbal cues from teammates, or expressing a thought during a post-game debrief, athletes learn the importance of communicating with one another – which carries over into the classroom and other life situations. 2. It teaches time management skills
Team sports require an incredible amount of planning and attention to detail. From scheduling workouts to managing the number of players on a roster, it’s important for athletes to manage their time effectively. Similarly, in the workplace, this skill can come in handy when making decisions about projects or timelines.
3. It builds character
One of the most obvious benefits of team sports is that it teaches young athletes to be responsible, hard-working individuals. Athletes are constantly working with their coaches and fellow team members, and they learn to value commitment and perseverance. This can be beneficial for the rest of their lives, particularly in school where it’s been found that students who participate in extracurricular activities have better academic outcomes than those who don’t.
4. It fosters mentorship
Unlike most jobs, which offer clear paths for advancement, sports teams are usually made up of many different people – from older teammates to youth coaches and even parents. Consequently, athletes can be exposed to positive role models early in their lives, and they can often turn these into lifelong mentors. These mentors can have a huge impact on children, and they are likely to mirror the behaviors that they see from these adults in their own lives.
5. It helps to develop problem-solving skills
Sports are a fast-paced environment that encourages athletes to make quick, high-stakes decisions under pressure. From deciding to take the shot in basketball to recognizing when a teammate’s best option is to pass the ball, athletes must overcome their natural “fight or flight” instinct and learn how to function under stress. This translates into being able to solve problems in the workplace or other life situations, where it may be necessary to think on your feet.
6. It teaches the value of teamwork
This is perhaps the most crucial benefit of team sport for children. As the Janssen Sports Leadership Center points out, working with teammates teaches children valuable life lessons such as respecting others, acting in unselfish ways and taking responsibility for your actions. These skills can carry over into the classroom and beyond, in relationships and in the workforce.