Sports build character, teach teamwork, patience and other life lessons

In this day and age where electronics and technology rule, schools have less funding for physical education or daily recess, and some neighborhoods are no longer safe, youth sports are vital.

Sports impact youth in more ways than you can imagine and do far more than help kids burn off steam and develop skills. Sports shape children’s mindsets, emotions and views. Youth sports build character and teach life lessons.

Learning to lose

It’s important to learn how to win AND lose. Life has its ups and downs, and no one is successful all the time. Life won’t always be fair. Learning how to handle things that don’t go as planned prepares youth to be understanding and patient with themselves and others.

In sports, kids learn the importance of setting and working toward goals. This promotes hard work and responsibility. Kids learn that you have to put in the time and sometimes make sacrifices to achieve their goals. Challenging team dynamics, questionable coaching decisions and tough competition teach children how to handle themselves under pressure and during conflict as well as when they win.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Socialization and the value of team work are also learned through sports. Just because a 3-year-old can nail a 3-pointer, doesn’t mean she’s ready for travel ball. Joking aside, it’s important for parents to encourage kids to commit to the length of the sport, even if it means sitting on the bench, cheering on the team and working hard without much playing time. They’re still an important part of a team.

Freeze frame

Some kids have performance anxiety. They might do well at home but freeze in front of peers and onlookers. This is okay. Every child is different and learning to perform well with all eyes on them only makes them stronger.

Youth sports are more than dribbling, shooting, tumbling and learning a new skill. Youth sports encourage and enhance social behaviors that benefit children now and into their future.

The Y offers youth sports of every kind and new sessions, leagues and clinics run throughout the year. At the Y, it’s not just about winning, it’s about learning and having fun too. Which sports will your kids like to try? Better yet, which life skills and lessons will they learn?

Written By: Alice Weber, Ransburg YMCA Sports Program Director

Alice Weber, Ransburg YMCA Sports Program Director