If you were to sit down and ask a coach “Why should my child play for you?” , chances are you’re going to receive the familiar responses that mirror some movie along the lines of “Because I care” or “Because I win” and maybe even the “They will learn the game”. Though, not all are necessarily bad answers or lies, but it’s not selling the benefits of playing youth sports altogether.
As Coaches & Mentors we must remind ourselves to point out not only the benefits of playing for us or being associated with our programs, but the benefit in you knowing that there is a greater benefit to that child being active in youth sports outside of just playing for you. While there are many benefits that would take me days and days to outline, I wanted to outline 3 that I believe speak volumes for our current generation. These 3 benefits will touch on Bullying, Social Skills, and of course Health.
Quick Stat – In one large study, about 49% of children in grades 4–12 reported being bullied by other students at school at least once during the past month, whereas 30.8% reported bullying others during that time. – Per StopBullying.gov
Now, how does being involved in Youth Sports help reduce bullying? Studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics show that kids involved in team sports are less likely to be bullied and sports give bullied victims a larger support group which in return reduces the affect it has on them. Children who are involved in sports are more likely to stand up for themselves because of the built of confidence gained from playing organized sports. Bullies are less likely to target individuals who are not perceived to be “alone”. The affects of bullying can’t be ignored.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC.
So, building Camaraderie is definitely #1 on our list.
2.) SOCIAL SKILLS
Many believe that the reduction in youth sports participation is due to parents being worried about injuries. I agree to a certain extent. Nowadays, kids are spending less time outside and more time indoors on their gaming systems and social media. During the 2016 season, myself and a couple of coaches from another program shared stories involving first year players whose parents grew tired of watching their child sit around and do nothing but dedicate their time to those 2 things.
Youth sports definitely plays a role in promoting kids socializing and communicating with one another to the extend social media and the xbox becomes an after thought.
I’ll just leave this image here to do the talking for me…
In conclusion, there are dozens and dozens of benefits to getting your child(ren) involved in Youth Sports, but it’ll be hard to argue with these 3.