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Sports are so much more than sports!

Posted by Brandi D’Amico on November 24, 2017

With the seasons changing and a chill in the air, you might be starting to look at indoor activities to keep your child busy through the cold winter months.  But does your child really need to start learning sports at such a young age?

Contrary to what you may think, the word “sports” is just a small part of the class.  The underlying benefits of enrolling your child in a preschool-aged sports class will have lasting effects on your child as they continue to grow and develop.  The benefits may vary slightly depending on the class you choose but the following benefits can be gained in any of the preschool and youth sports classes we offer at the JCC:

Balance and Coordination: Structured physical activity encourages children to move and helps children learn how their muscles and limbs can work together, which is what coordination is.  Through sports classes at a young age, children will have the opportunity to improve  their eye-hand coordination and eye-foot coordination.  The most basic activities done in these classes, such as throwing, kicking and catching can help to improve coordination.  These movements can also help to improve balance, as children are shifting their body weight and will work to keep themselves balanced throughout.  These skills help children to explore the world around them and will serve as the building blocks to performing more complex physical movements in the future.

Motor Development: Gross motor skills —  the ability to control large muscle groups of the body for walking, running, jumping, etc. — can be enhanced through  participation in structured activities. Structured classes provide adequate practice time for 3- to 5-year-olds to practice these skills.  Working on gross motor skills helps children gain strength and confidence in his/her body. It also helps them get exercise and physical activity, which is important for a healthy lifestyle.

Cooperative Play/Teamwork: Working well with your teammates is a huge component of sports.  Getting introduced to this at such an early age helps children to learn to work with others to achieve a common goal and helps to increase their communication skills.  These are skills that will help them not only in sports, but in life as they begin school, begin working, etc.  Communication, social and emotional skills are all strengthened when children learn to work as a team.

Improved Mood and Self-Esteem: How do you feel about a run or workout?  Great, right? It’s because of the endorphins our body releases!  Well, the same thing happens to children, although they don’t necessarily realize it.  What they do know is that when they play, they have fun and feel happy!  In a structured setting (such as a class), these emotions can be heightened because children are able to “show off” their skills, which can lead to an increase in self-esteem and leave children with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Check out the Sports and Rec page for a complete listing of the variety of classes we offer.  We are sure that you will find one that your child will love!

Have questions or need help registered for a class?  Contact Brandi D’Amico at 412-697-3532 or [email protected]

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