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Team Sports are Central to Childhood Development

By: Maria Werner-- 2016-03-01 8:30 am --

Team sports are deeply engrained in the culture of Americans, and gathering to watch the football game each week has practically become a tradition. For children, team sports provide an enriching activity that can promote their social, cognitive, and psychological development. Yet, as schools struggle to balance their budgets, extracurricular sports teams are often the first to be cut. Given the tremendous impact sports can have on the developing minds of children, they should remain central to the curriculum of schools, even when finances are tight.

Sports and Physical Health
Perhaps the most obvious reason to engage children in sports is for the undeniable health benefits they provide. Research has found that children who are involved in several sports are 40 percent less likely to struggle with obesity. Team sports can also help children to develop a habitual pattern of athleticism, which will become engrained in their daily routine and lead to a healthier adult life.

Sports and Social Development
Social development is critical in order for children to develop empathy, compassion, and confidence. Team sports are a fantastic way to encourage the social development of children, enabling them to become more amicable and sociable adults.

  • Team sports help shy children to build confidence and verbal skills.
  • Team sports teach sharing and encourage collaboration.
  • Team sports teach children how to win and lose, while teaching them that effort is more important than winning.
  • Team sports build social skills, which can lead to more career prospects, better relationships, and more friends in adult life.

According to Ross Morrison, a sports expert from the NSW Department of Education and Communities, "When you play a team sport you learn that it doesn't just come down to the best player. It comes down to working as a team, accepting decisions and understanding that people have different abilities." This, in turn, helps children to develop greater empathy for others, relate better to their peers, and build healthier relationships with family and friends.

Sports and Psychological Wellbeing
In addition to promoting physical health and social skills, team sports can actually improve the emotional and psychological wellbeing of children.

  • Team sports promote physical health, which can reduce the risk of certain mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression.
  • Team sports increase confidence and self-esteem, allowing children to be more ambitious and well-adjusted.
  • Team sports reduce the chance of children getting involved in at-risk behavior, such as drug use and criminal activity.

As children develop their self-esteem, they have more faith in their own abilities, which results in higher aspirations throughout life. Studies have indicated that when children are involved in team sports, they exhibit improved academic performance and better focus. Similarly, they are more likely to engage in volunteer work when they’re older, which supports the hypothesis that team sports can encourage the development of empathy.

Team sports are undeniably beneficial to children. By reducing the risk of obesity and related health problems, encouraging proper social development, reducing at-risk behavior, and improving academic performance, it’s clear that athletic activities are fundamental for child development. Schools need to prioritize athleticism and extracurricular sports in order to provide children with the tools needed to flourish in adulthood. To save money on sports equipment and provide better athletic opportunities to children, browse our bulk sporting goods section today.