Jeremy Kelley on October 25, 2017
Admit it, when you read the title, you thought, “Oh, great, another coach giving us their two cents about participation trophies in youth sports today!?!?!?” And while I could go on for hours about that subject, I am more interested in another interpretation of this title – specifically the multitude of physical, emotional and mental benefits that come from participation in team sports.
Team sports are about so much more than just the physical benefits that come from participating in them. This is especially so when team sports activities are incorporated into a young person’s life. From academics to decision making to mental health, these athletic team experiences help children adjust to new or difficult decisions and allow them to be prepared for situations that they may not have otherwise been equipped to handle.
Just a few of the more important benefits:
Academically – Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between physical activity and academic performance. In addition to higher graduation rates, athletes are also shown to have better G.P.A. outcomes than non-athletes. Much of this has to do with the increased cognitive ability that comes from playing sports, which is a result of increased blood flow to the brain, activating endorphins that impact your mood and performance. More effective time management skills must also be utilized by younger student-athletes in order to accomplish everything both on and off the court. This intentional planning and organization helps athletes focus on reaching their goals sooner than non-athletes.
Emotionally – Team sports provide athletes with a natural community. Several reports have shown that youth who participate in sports have higher levels of social support and that the sense of community created with teammates and coaches is extremely important for critical self-esteem development. These situations also foster mentorship between older players and younger players as well as coaches and players. Players who have identified positive sports mentors and role models when they’re young are also more likely to not only seek out effective role models throughout their life, but they’re also more likely to give back and become one themselves in the future.
Developmentally – There are dozens of additional skills that athletes also develop, which help them build positive social relationships throughout their life including such things as:
1) Communication skills, which are key to maintaining a functioning and successful sports team, whether it’s listening to locker room pep talk, picking up on non-verbal cues by other players or expressing a thought during a post-game debrief.
2) Being on a team with a dozen or more players is a great way to recognize the individual talents that each and every one brings to the table. The diversity of personalities and scenarios will help athletes become adaptable, persistent and patient while instilling a sense of group and individual responsibility.
3) Sports happen fast and athletes are forced to develop the skills needed to make quick, effective decisions in various situations. This ability to function under pressure translates to adults who are more comfortable working in stressful situations and adhering to deadlines and goals.
The fame and the fortune of being a professional athlete can be very attractive to a young athlete. Heck, what’s better than taking something that you enjoy and you’re good at and making lots of money with it? What parents and coaches need to stress to young athletes are the real reasons to get involved with sports at a young age:
Good Grades. Community and Social Support. Role Models. Interpersonal Skills.
Want to be a part of the JCC team? Contact Jeremy Kelley today at 412-697-3538 or [email protected] for information on our 2017-2018 Basketball programs for players and coaches of all ages.
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