The competitive nature and intense pressure that often comes with team sports may make parents think twice about allowing their children to take part. Before you completely write off team sports, though, consider the many social, psychological and academic benefits that can be enjoyed just by taking part in a sport as a member of the team.
Numerous studies show that there are a number of benefits children gain by taking part in team sports. Benefits can range from higher grades and a desire to succeed in school to the ability to develop strong, supportive relationships with others.
Beyond that, though, here are five crucial reasons why team sports are definitely worth a try:
1. Team sports build a child’s self-esteem.
Regularly engaging in sports can help subtly boost your child’s self-esteem. This happens as the child sets small goals on the court—such as perfecting a skill or scoring an additional point—and achieves them.
KidsHealth suggests children with low self-esteem are more likely to have social and behavioral problems throughout their teenage and adult years. So signing a child up for an individual or team sport can provide the slight boost in self-esteem that can help him avoid a number of problems later in life.
2. Team sports can help improve communication skills.
Good communication among team members is essential to sports. Your child, while playing in a sport, will gain valuable communication skills that will last long after your child leaves the playing field.
Sports can help your child develop communication skills not only with their peers/teammates, but with other individuals such as parents, referees and coaches as well. Plus, he will learn how to effectively convey when there is a problem and use a variety of communication skills that include problem-solving abilities and brainstorming.
3. Team sports encourage your child to excel in the classroom.
It’s hard to believe that what your child does on the court can impact what they do in the classroom, but it does. Children who were involved with at least one sport were more likely to get better grades than children who didn’t take part in any individual or team sport, suggests a study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine.
There are a number of reasons why children who engage in sports get better grades. One of the biggest reasons is because many sports—especially those connected to schools—require children to keep their grades up or risk not playing. Children who wish to play must complete their homework, take part in class and study.
Your child’s performance in the classroom will also be influenced by his or her teammates. Children who engage in sports all want to do well in school in order to play on their team. Your child will be surrounded by others who want to do well in school, which can be highly influential on your child’s efforts in the classroom.
4. Team sports build strong, supportive relationships with other adults.
Just taking part in a single sport encourages a child to develop strong, supportive relationships with other adults. Children on sports teams are constantly around other parents and coaches who are supportive and helpful. These individuals truly want to see your child succeed, and the way to do that is through forming positive relationships.
There are a number of benefits reaped from forming a positive relationship with a coach, including learning how to communicate with and building trusting relationships with other adults.
5. Teams sports help develop critical thinking skills.
Problems can quickly arise when playing sports. Sometimes the challenge is trying to overcome an opponent on the other team; other times it is trying to figure out how to get the ball in the net from a particular angle. No matter what the challenge is, critical thinking skills are required to solve it. In team sports, kids learn how to take a current problem, assess it and determine how to overcome it using the resources they have available.
Sure, sports may be competitive, but the benefits of being a part of team last long after the players leave the field. So consider these five reasons when sports sign-ups time rolls around.
Brandon Capaletti is the vice president of Cisco Athletic, a Maryland-based athletic apparel manufacturer that designs, produces and distributes custom uniforms for 18 different sports including basketball, soccer and baseball.