12 Ways Kids Sports Help Shape Them

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My daughter is a creative-type person. She always has been and will spend hours quietly coloring, crafting and doing just about anything that involves markers and imagination. So, I was shocked when she walked onto the soccer field last fall and changed into this fearless little thing that was an aggressive team player and could get the ball into the net with ease.

She loved it out there and I loved watching this side of her personality emerge. As it turns out, she hates losing and is incredibly completive. She gives it her all on that field and keeps getting better as time goes by.

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This spring we moved from a park district team to a more competitive league and it’s been a joy to watch her grow through practices and games. This one decision has been so beneficial for her and so healthy for her in so many ways.

I was also a creative-type person growing up and I didn’t participate in sports until high school. It made me wonder how different I would have been if I had the experience of playing competitively and learning a sport young.

It also made me reflect on all the life benefits that kids’ sports can help provide and studies suggest that sports can have a big impact on child’s psychological and social well-being.

Here’s a few of the benefits you may see if you get your child involved in organized sports.

Learning to play by the rules

Organized sports are so fundamental when teaching kids basic rules and fairplay. Sure my husband and daughter can have fun kicking the soccer ball around in in the backyard, but when she gains an understanding of the rules – and sticks to them – then she’s really learning to play the game. It translates into the game of life too.

Respecting the coach & developing a healthy relationship

Don’t underestimate the role of a coach in your child’s life. A coach teaches your children to respect the authority of other adults outside your home in an environment that’s safe and, ideally, supportive and somewhat nurturing.

As your child grows this relationship might become even more important. In fact, a recent study concluded that coaches have more of an impact on young athletes than their parents, peers, teachers, school and religion. As a high school athlete, I can tell you this was very true for me.

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Provides regular exercise

Getting regular exercise through soccer is imperative for my daughter. As I said she will spend hours coloring so her sport allows her to be much more active than she would be on a regular basis. She has practice once a week and a game once a week which means there are at least two days where I know she will be running and getting crucial exercise.

For most sports there will be additional exercise that goes into training for the activity that will be invaluable too. For instance, my daughter will end up running a lot more because she is in soccer. As a cheerleader in high school, I participated in weights to help build muscles that would be useful lifting other people. People who play basketball, rugby and football will do sprints and lift weights too.

Working as a team

Sports may be one of the first opportunities children have to work as a team. Before school projects, presentations and jobs, sports will provide the basic but fundamental skill of working with others to accomplish a task.

I saw this skill on display this weekend when my daughter took the ball from mid-field and close to the goal. She couldn’t make the shot, so she kicked it to a teammate who was in front of the goal and they scored together. To realize what was happening was really a great moment for me to witness as a parent.

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Dealing with difficult people

Working as a team often means working with difficult people. In sports you sometimes have people who don’t play fair, shove and push and even coaches that don’t teach kids sportsman-like behavior.

We’ve already run into this so we (my daughter and I) are both learning how to deal with these people and either confront them in a positive way or work around them.



Making new friends

My daughter started a new school when she began kindergarten and has a great group of friends at school. However, sports can give children a network of friends outside their school. As they grow this can be valuable as school friendships grow and change.

Additionally, these new friends from soccer are still in our school district so they will end up in middle school and high school together some day.

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Performing under pressure

Children have a lot of pressure in their lives nowadays. Standardized tests in school, over scheduling of activities and heavier and heavier homework loads are all realities they have to deal with as they grow up.

Playing sports can help them understand how to perform when the pressure is on and shows them that with practice they’ll be able to work through any obstacle.

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Greater academic success

Studies have supported the idea that kids who participate in sports often do better in school. Physical activity is linked to enhanced brain and cognitive function due to increased blood flow to the brain, increased levels of endorphins and more. Besides that, regular participation in sports may improve kids’ behavior in school allowing them to have better concentration.

Sports also shows kids that if they work hard, they can achieve the desired results. This can translate into school projects, studying, team projects and more.

Sticking with something

Sometimes it’s difficult for kids stick with things in life and if they truly don’t enjoy something then they shouldn’t be doing it. However, sports can help your child learn how to work towards a goal and teach persistence.

Learning certain skills like how to turn a ball around in soccer or how to throw a curve ball in baseball are skills, among thousands of others, that don’t always come easily. Learning the nuances of these skills, even when they’re difficult, can help children see that if you continue to try, you will succeed.



Learning how to lose

Losing is never easy, but sports teach children how to evaluate the loss and how to change behavior for a better outcome next time. Losing helps children learn practice, persistence and patience as they work to achieve a win.

Learning how to win

It’s important to know how to lose, but it’s also important to know how to win. Celebrating is fun, vital and deserved, but bragging or winning by playing fast and loose with the rules is not the way to do it. We’ve experienced bad winners and kids who win by pushing tripping and always knocking the ball out.

Most coaches I’ve met teach kids to win well. Whether it’s giving high fives to the other team at the end of the game or shaking hands and thanking the losing team for the game can make a big difference in the world of sportsmanship.When kids learn how to win well they learn not to tear the losing team down. Additionally, it also teaches compassion, which is a something the whole world can use a bit more of these days.

Building confidence

Hard work, honesty, integrity and persistence will become the true measure of a winner in sports. A pat on the back or a high five from a team can make all the difference in letting kids know they did well – whether they win or lose. They will learn that all their actions are valuable and that their contributions make a difference. These ideas will help them to value and believe in themselves, building confidence for their entire lives.

Does your child play sports? If so how have you seen it benefiting them?

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Rachel
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33 Comments

  • Stephanie May 14, 2018 07.02 pm

    I love every one of these reasons! I played golf since 7th grade and learned so much both on and off the course. My boys did soccer last year, but we are doing swim this year as their activity and they love it!

    Reply 
  • Stacie May 14, 2018 07.21 pm

    Sports and team activities are an incredibly positive thing for kids. They’re important for teaching them how to work as a team and interact with others, among other things.

    Reply 
  • Aditi Wardhan Singh May 14, 2018 07.32 pm

    Certainly a great topic to bring up with kids. Every life skill has so many real life lessons to teach. Great share. Thanks … 🙂

    Reply 
  • Tiffany D May 14, 2018 09.13 pm

    Absolutely agree! Sports teaches kids so many things about life. Especially teamwork,learning how to cope with defeat and putting forth your best effort.

    Reply 
  • chelf May 14, 2018 09.56 pm

    working as a team and learning to play by the rules are the key points for me. I agree 100% sports can shape ones personality so much, even in ways that we cannot imagine!

    Reply 
  • Joely Smith May 14, 2018 10.41 pm

    There is so much truth in this article! Every reason you mentioned are building blocks to a successful life as an adult!

    Reply 
  • Marysa May 14, 2018 11.32 pm

    My kids are both on the swim team, and this is all so true.. it helps them to develop so many skills in addition to learning a sport. And even though swimming is in part an individual sport, it is also a team sport (relays, cheering for other swimmers, etc).

    Reply 
  • Leanne | crestingthehill May 15, 2018 01.21 am

    Both my kids played team sports and it was great for their physical well-being, for co-ordination and for social skills. It teaches them to work as a team and to share the glory. It’s also great for them to be outside in the sunshine (and the rain!)

    Reply 
  • Heather May 15, 2018 03.23 am

    There was way too much emphasis on sports when I was a kid. Being the smallest one in my class made it very difficult. I know the kids that do sports turn out great but it was terrifying for me!

    Reply 
  • Lois Alter Mark May 15, 2018 04.26 am

    Both of my kids played sports throughout their childhoods and I couldn’t be more grateful for all of the lessons they learned and memories they made during that time. Plus, having a balance between group activities and more independent hobbies is so important- glad your daughter has the opportunity to participate in both!

    Reply 
  • Rose Ann Sales May 15, 2018 06.54 am

    I totally agree that sports can do something big for our children. As of the moment, my kids don’t play any sports yet because they are too young for that but hopefully soon I will see them playing the sports that they loved

    Reply 
  • Trần Quốc Hưng May 15, 2018 10.37 am

    It is such a great tips for parents who struggle in teaching their children! Thank you so much for your great sharing!

    Reply 
  • Melissa Dixon May 15, 2018 11.09 am

    My daughter has recently taken up gymnastics and it has really made a huge difference in her self-confidence. I think sports are a nice alternative to some other activities that involve screentime.

    Reply 
  • brianne May 15, 2018 12.02 pm

    I couldn’t agree with this post even more. My kids are all involved in sports and I think it teaches them so much more than the actual sport!

    Reply 
  • Ruth I. May 15, 2018 12.13 pm

    My niece is a creative type as well so when she enjoyed her gymnastics class, I was very happy. It really helped build her confidence and learn and be friendly.

    Reply 
  • Nikki Arnold May 15, 2018 01.36 pm

    I agree that sports are important!! Not only is it healthy for kids to be active but it teaches them how to work with others and how to be a good loser!!

    Reply 
  • Vyjay Rao May 15, 2018 01.48 pm

    Sports are a great way to teach life’s lessons to kids in a fun way. Teamwork, adhering to rules and sportsman spirit are great values that sports ingrains in kids and shapes their personalities.

    Reply 
  • Cat May 15, 2018 01.58 pm

    Kids sports are absolutely important! I think it’s also worth mentioning that it keeps them active, and since childhood obesity is becoming an issue here in America we need to get parents more interested in putting their kids in sports. It can cost a lot to do with the team fees and equipment, but it’s SO worth it in the long run.

    Reply 
  • Angela Tolsma May 15, 2018 03.03 pm

    I love the idea of sports I just wish they were so single minded and not opened to those who don’t have full mobility. But sports definitely is good for the things you’ve listed!

    Reply 
  • Gemille Sleweon May 15, 2018 04.16 pm

    I played soccer as a kid and it really helped me develop. I was the only child for 12 years, so joining team sports helped me learn how to interact with other children on a more consistent basis.

    Reply 
  • rika May 15, 2018 05.14 pm

    Sports play important roles in our lives! I want my kids to get involved in sport activities, help build a strong and healthy body and character!

    Reply 
  • Kristyn Medriano May 15, 2018 07.37 pm

    I totally agree with this. Just the other day we were talking about when we have kids that we would want them to join sports. It will help them learn and improve skills and their character.

    Reply 
  • Wendy Polisi May 15, 2018 07.43 pm

    Sports are such great ways for kids to learn things that are only learned from sports. A great way for lifelong friendships to happen to!

    Reply 
  • Becca Wilson May 15, 2018 08.04 pm

    We have always had our kids involved in some sort of activity since they were old enough. It really is a great way to get them out there and experiencing new things.

    Reply 
  • Holly Lasha May 15, 2018 10.01 pm

    Keeping kids active is a great idea. It is important to encourage that and help them to be healthy.

    Reply 
  • Aarika May 15, 2018 11.14 pm

    This is such a great post! As one who played sports as a child, I agree that there are so many benefits of playing sports when we are young. Developing relationships and learning teamwork are so helpful for shaping personal and professional relationships in the future. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply 
  • Lisa Marie Heath May 15, 2018 11.54 pm

    Sports and extracurriculars are so important for kids for so many reasons. We enrolled my son into a few different things to get a feel for what he loves and he blossomed

    Reply 
  • Reese Woods May 16, 2018 12.26 am

    Love this! New medical studies have also found that if a person begins getting active and getting exercise as a child, it plays a major role in the long-term preservation of their bone density in older age. It is so important to get moving young for so many reasons!

    Reply 
  • Lynndee May 16, 2018 02.22 pm

    I agree with all of these. Our son has played soccer since he was in 5th grade. He’s now in high school and it definitely built his self confidence up

    Reply 
  • Narkis Moshe May 16, 2018 06.13 pm

    This is so true. Playing sports can be so beneficial, & I love how you’ve listed benefits I didn’t even think about. It proves that every kid should play sports! 🙂

    Reply 
  • Cherri Megasko May 16, 2018 06.54 pm

    Two of my grandsons – 6 and 4 – play soccer. They both love it and are just now starting to reap some of these benefits.

    Reply 
  • Trina May 16, 2018 08.06 pm

    Totally believe all of these, I think kids participating in sports is so important plus it keeps them out of trouble as they reach the teenage years.

    Reply 
  • Nany May 16, 2018 10.15 pm

    Your daughter’s personality is pretty cool! Both creative and competitive. Love it!!! As you so well put it sports helps kids develop social skills and other traits that can only help them in the future. Happy for you and your daughter that this opportunity is available.

    Reply 

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