Yes, of course sports are great. They’re fun and they keep our kids active. But there are so many reasons – beyond keeping our kids physically active – that sports are, simply awesome. Here are our top five reasons:
#1 – Socialization. Social skills last a lifetime and participating in sports and extracurriculars is the perfect way to build those skills. Athletes need to learn to communicate and work with their teammates and fellow athletes, but also learn to communicate effectively with coaches and other adults. That socialization leads to better communication and relationships in the present and years to come.
#2 – They build confidence. In sports, it isn’t rare that you’ll find someone who “knocks it out of the park” on the first try: It’s unheard of. Sports are all about trying again and testing your limits – both of which, when done properly, will lead to success and new skills which, in turn, lead to building confidence. And beyond building that skill, sports also offer an opportunity to celebrate those wins with others, building social confidence.
#3 – Kids in sports learn to challenge themselves. Some people just go farther in life. We’re willing to bet those people played sports. From an early age, athletes learn that practice makes better and that they not only need to push themselves to succeed, but that when they do succeed, it’s time to push themselves even further. That’s one of the best things about athletics: they never get “easy” and there really isn’t any such thing as perfect – there’s just better and a constant path of new challenges. It’s part of what keeps a given activity interesting and part of why true athletes have so much drive – in all facets of life.
#4 – Kids who play sports tend to also have better grades. Numerous studies have drawn a correlation between sports and good grades and test scores. According to a 2015 Penn State University and University of South Carolina study,1 kids who play sports also have a higher likelihood of completing high school and enrolling in college. Another study of 35,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District found that athletes also have higher attendance, attending school an average of 21 more days than non-athlete counterparts. There are plenty of studies with positive sport-education performance findings – and it’s hard to beat that kind of win-win!
#5 – Sports build your own community. Yes, sports are an amazing outlet for our kids – socially, physically and emotionally. But they’re also a great outlet for parents. Parenting can be lonely and sports are a perfect avenue to find new parent friends you share common ground with. And, let’s be honest – with all those practices and game/match days, liking and knowing the parents is an amazing thing.