As a parent, you sign your kids up for sports with the hopes they’ll like it, even love it and maybe go pro (and give you a great retirement option?!). You hope your money isn’t wasted on a bad program, a losing team, or your kid making best friends with the bench. We get it. You want the best for your child, you want your dollars to mean something and no one will blame you for admitting you want your kid to be a talented and successful athlete.
But let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Sports mean a whole lot more than just wins, game time and college scholarships. We think EVERY child should be involved in sports. Even if they suck. Yep – we said it, even if your child sucks at sports. The life lessons, the skills and the character building that comes with being in a sports program – it matters. It matters a lot.
Here are 4 reasons why youth sports matter.
Sports come with a coach. Someone to correct, teach, and encourage your child. It’s important for kids to have an authority figure (other than parents) to listen to, respect, learn from, and look up to. Coaches teach your child to work hard for what they want. They instill healthy habits, they put kids in their place, praise their successes and help them learn from their losses. Coaches are put in a unique position where they influence your child both on and off the field in ways that you cannot.
2. Doing Hard Things.
Sports are hard: physically, mentally and emotionally. Being part of a sports program comes with the hard, but it also comes with learning how to persist through the hard and seeing the success of persevering. Your kids will also learn how to perform under pressure, how to deal with stress, how to stay focused and how to maintain confidence. Sure, those things will come with some growing pains, but they will be learned and your kid will be better for it.
3. Social Skills.
Social skills are vital and important because people are unavoidable. Sports will instantly immerse your child into a social scene of friends with common goals. Sports will teach your child the value of teamwork and respecting each other’s abilities and opinions. Because they are part of a team, your child will be required to be committed, be on time, assist their teammates, be reliable, sacrifice for the whole, interact and communicate. Important life skills? We think so. Eh, we know so.
If we had to pick the most important reason sports are vital in kids life, this would be it. It’s a collection of all the things we’ve already talked about and the sole reason why we believe what we do. Sports, regardless of your kid’s natural talent, make them better. And we’re not talking skill here – we’re talking character. Sports teach kids the value of playing by the rules. Sports teach kids how to succeed with class and lose with dignity. Sports teach responsibility, accountability, commitment, respect, work ethic, passion, and much more. Pat Gillick, an American Professional Baseball Executive, says, “it’s about talent, hard work, and strategy. But at the deepest level, it’s about love, integrity, and respect.”
So do it, sign your child up for some type of organized sport this season (and next season). You may not get a back-up retirement plan out of it, but your kid will come out of it with a whole lot more than a team t-shirt.