Most of us have our first experience with sports through our parents. We’re signed up to play Little League, organized soccer or dance classes and encouraged to try out for school teams by the grown-ups in our lives. Playing sports can have tremendous benefits in how our youth’s minds are molded. By playing an organized sport that has rules set in place, children can be taught important life skills at an extremely young age. Brett Balick, an avid snowboarder from Matthews, North Carolina, knows from experience that sports are an effective way to discipline the mind at any age.
Obviously, sports have their physical benefits. Children are supposed to get around 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Having them enrolled in organized sports is an easy way for them to reach that goal.
Sports have plenty of ups and downs associated with them according to Brett S. Balick. A child will learn to understand that losing is disappointing but that the loss they are dealing with now will help them improve later on. Losing also teaches them maturity and patience for a brighter future. On the other hand, winning can teach them how to handle their emotions in a positive way without being too overpowering. This system takes a lot of practice and is easier for them to begin to learn the younger they are.
Participating in sports can be a huge self-esteem booster for young minds according to Brett Balick. Research has shown that there is a relation between playing sports and improved confidence. If a child receives praise from their teammates, a pat on the back from their coach or a cheer from the crowd, they tend to feel better about themselves.
In turn, this also teaches them how to reciprocate and be positive impacts on their own teammates.
Brett Balick on Social Benefits
Playing in a team setting starting at a young age can help children develop multiple social skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives. Sports can teach them cooperation, teamwork, sharing and listening. If they can learn to share playing time and to listen to one another in a sports setting, it will be easier to incorporate those skills in their family and school lives as well.
A sense of unity is established amongst youngsters as they can make other friends outside of their school’s social circle. Having others around that share in a similar love for sport can create a positive sense of belonging.
Overall, accepting discipline on the field or in the classroom goes hand-in-hand. By playing sports, children are expected to accept decisions, follow rules put in place and understand that bad behavior can lead to being penalized.
The Parent’s Role
A parent’s role is to continuously provide a positive environment for the child. Don’t focus on winning or losing but rather having fun, beating personal bests and being active. Praising not only your child’s efforts but other’s as well will leave them with a lasting positive attitude on sports.
Sports are all about building social skills, creating a sense of community and boosting self-esteem, claims Brett Balick. They create a foundation in which children can learn discipline while having fun. By keeping children active and helping them through the highs and lows that come with competition, they will come out of their childhoods happy and healthy.