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As a parent, you want what is best for your children. If they have been asking to play a team sport, you may be hesitant to encourage that participation. After all, stories of parents pushing their kids to perform have become pervasive in society. Yet, it can be a healthy and enriching experience for most kids. If you are on the fence, consider these six science-backed reasons to encourage your kids to get involved with team sports.

1. Playing Sports Fosters Emotional Health

 

Parents who encourage their kids to play on a sports team are helping them develop important social and emotional skills. So, although custom baseball gloves are great, they aren’t the only things your kids will get out of team sports. Kids who play team sports are happier than their non-athletic peers. This research shows that the differences can be quite drastic and that they are specific to team participation and not just physical activity. It also helps to create a sense of belonging in a peer group, which is directly linked to stronger emotional health.

2. It Teaches Discipline and Teamwork

 

As an adult, you know how important it is to be disciplined in achieving goals. One of the best places to learn that behavior is through youth sports. By encouraging attendance, commitment and dedication among participants, they also teach valuable life skills. Plus, youth who play organized sports learn the importance of teamwork and how to work with others. May learn how to motivate and encourage others, and develop leadership skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

3. Participation in Team Sports Helps Career Prospects

 

It may be those strong leadership skills that create a connection between youth athletic participation and career prospects. This study shows that not only are former athletes viewed more favorably in the interview and hiring process, but they are also likely to advance further and earn more throughout their careers. This held especially true for female athletes.

4. Kids Who Play Sports Display Less Risky Behavior as Teens

 

Experts agree that participating in sports throughout middle and high school can prevent a host of risky behaviors. When your kids are surrounded by encouraging teammates focused on performance and athleticism, they are significantly less likely to engage in activities such as smoking tobacco or nicotine products, drinking alcohol or experimenting with drugs — either legal or illegal. That isn’t to say that all athletes avoid smoking or drugs, but playing on a team with a positive, health-focused attitude can definitely be a deterrent.

5. Being Part of a Team Encourages Practice

 

If practice makes perfect, then team sports really set kids up for success. Whether they attend mandatory team practices, work out extra with a private coach or meet up with teammates to get in a few extra drills, young athletes know that the more they work on a move or play, the better they will get at it. This is a valuable lesson that they will carry into other aspects of life. It also helps them understand that winning and achieving success not only take a lot of work, but that they also often come after several failures. Yep, by encouraging practice, team sports can help kids overcome failure and persevere through difficult situations.

6. Sports Promote Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors

 

Kids who participate in organized sports are much more likely to remain physically active and engage in healthy lifestyle choices. Athletics promote strength and vitality over body image, and that fosters better nutrition and activity levels. They are less likely to become obese, which significantly improves their health outcomes even later in life.

Conclusion

Youth sports are a great thing, but try not to push your kids into something they don’t like. Instead, help them explore different sports and find one that suits them well. it might be soccer, baseball, cross country or even fencing. No matter what drives them, encouraging their participation is a good thing. It helps them be healthier both physically and emotionally, reduces the chances they will engage in risky behavior as teens, and helps them develop strong leadership and teamwork skills that will foster career growth.