It really doesn’t matter what your age – when we see and feel the warmth of the sun, we feel renewed and ready to go outside to play! Some of us like to walk around our block, while others run and jump, ride a bike, or join a team. In my own family, team sports are part of our DNA. We seem to literally live, eat, and breathe sports, most specifically baseball.
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I have three, active boys, two of whom participate on travel baseball teams, while one has chosen to forego travel in lieu of playing in the recreation league. (He also really likes golf, which we are also encouraging this spring.) Not only are the boys passionate about sports, so is their father, who just happens to teach physical education and coaches their teams. So, on any given weekday, Saturday, or Sunday throughout the year, you can find us at a practice or a game cheering on our teams. Even during the winter…yes, I said, “winter”. Now you might think it’s impossible to play warm weather sports in the dead of winter, but not any longer as many golf domes magically turn into baseball diamonds November through March. And more and more sports training facilities are popping up in once empty stores in malls and shopping centers. Yes, sports isbig business to some, but not us! We believe our kids are reaping the benefitof organized sports, not to mention the togetherness it affords our family – even on those days when we’re rushing like crazy to get dinner so we can get to a practice on time.
To help you determine if an organized sport is for your kids and how it may benefit them in the future, here’s what I’ve learned thus far… And it really doesn’t matter if it’s team baseball, basketball, football (I’ll get back to you with my thoughts about football in a future blog), tennis, golf, lacrosse, volleyball, cheer, softball, gymnastics, dance team, and/or swimming. (Did I miss any?) According to Crystal VanTassel, a Play Ambassador for Let’s Play at let’splay.com, the seven benefits of team sports include:
1. Builds confidence. When playing a sport, children have the opportunity toshow their skills, gain greater self-awareness, and enjoy an activity that they love the most.
2. Provides consistent exercise. Most kids have too much screen time and not enough hands-on activity. Team sports commits your child to regular exercise, which helps boost immunity and contributes to overall physical health.
3. Develops relationships. Children build friendships with other children and their coaches, which is a great way for your child to expand their social skills and understand expectations.
4. Contributes to stronger academics. Children who play team sports are more apt to stronger academic achievement. Through sports, kids learn the importance of time management and discipline.
5. Helps put winning into perspective. This can be a real sore subject for
some kids. Participating in team sports gives kids the opportunity to gain an understanding of both winning and losing, as well as the recognize the value of every teammates’ abilities in contributing toward a shared goal.
6. Teaches respect. In team sports, children learn to respect other authoritativefigures, such as coaches, referees and umpires, as well as their peers.
7. Encourages family involvement. Your child is not the only one who will benefitfrom participation in team sports. Moms, dads and siblings can practice plays, attend games and cheer each other on, providing a bonding opportunity for the whole family.
So, now it’s time to stop reading and get moving! The sun is out and the weather is — o.k. let’s just say it’s warming up. Go to a park or, like the Cooneys, to a ballpark. You and your kids will meet new and interesting people and bask in togetherness. Enjoy family time – win, lose, or draw – and think of the lifelong positive benefits gained by all!