According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 4 children are physically inactive globally. Now, that may not seem like a lot, but when we put the worldwide statistics together it adds up to a huge percentage of kids. Sports, often mistaken as physical fitness, have much more to it than just that. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons that make it imperative why kids should play sports:
Social Networking, Except it’s Not Online!
Being on a team gives your child a completely different sense of companionship and friendship. It increases your child’s social circle and the friendships made on the field are way different from the ones made on the school benches. As a team, your kid learns to put himself second to the well being of the team.
Kids win together, train together, cry out on each other’s shoulders after a bad game, pep one another before each consecutive game and deal with adversities and failures without blaming any one person. As a team player, each member has to shoulder the responsibility and credit for every failure and success and those are very important life lessons which can be applied to our personal, family and even professional lives in the years to come.
We all know that being physically active is beneficial for health and well-being but how exactly?
- According to the WHO, more than 90 million children are affected by obesity around the world. Besides unhealthy eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle is a huge contributor to the increasing number of obese children. You don’t want your kid to enter that category now do you?
- Sports enhance our muscle coordination and helps build stamina.
- Sports help reduce body fat and build up more muscle mass making your kid physically strong.
- Better metabolism and healthier heart is another reason why kids should play sports.
Now, this is a quality which comes in handy not just as a kid but throughout life. From school and college assignments to multinational projects at your firm, all require working, handling, managing and leading a team of talented yet diverse people. Each member of the team is like cards in a deck or pieces in a game of chess. Each person is important yet everyone has their own mindset and background. Playing sports enables you to understand and decide working strategies that may go against your personal thinking but are beneficial to the team.
All sports teams require a leader, and as exciting as that may sound it’s a place which comes with much more responsibility. As a kid, your child will be able to understand what it’s like to make the members agree to disagree, to bring them all to one page and lead them to a common goal i.e. winning the game while staying within the ethical limits of the game.
The next factor that influences why kids should play sports is a healthy and productive competition enables your child to perform better. It makes your child push and test his/her limits, to live and enjoy the ‘spirit of the game’. Another thing that comes with healthy competition is positive reinforcement. Winning a game will earn your kid appreciation and material rewards whereas losing it will make him understand that they need to work harder. Once the lesson is learnt our kids will automatically apply that to other disciplines of life such as their academic and professional lives making them improve their grades at school and coming up with better projects at their workplaces.
Compliance and Commitment
Compliance to rules and authority is yet another thing that sports teach us. Whether it is you listening to your team captain or your coach if you’re playing for a club professionally. Your compliance is a reflection of your dedication to your team’s well-being. Now it’s important to realize that compliance in no way means surrendering yourself completely and just playing by the rules as a lot of times you come across moments in life and on the field when you have to improvise your strategy and in-situ and lead your team to the win. Your commitment to the team teaches you important life lessons like loyalty and resilience.
Better Channel Your Energy
As pre-teens and teenagers, your kids are generally high on energy and it is imperative that the energy is properly channelled. Sports provide your child with the best medium to let their energy loose and lead them to something productive.
Another important and proven aspect of being involved in sports and why your kids should play sports is that it acts as a mood enhancer. Being on the field brings out all your negativity and helps you steer your mind rightfully. Being active and flexing your muscles also releases chemicals in our body that enhance our mood and of course, winning helps as well.
Additionally, sports are a much better way to utilize our precious time which would otherwise be wasted either in front of a TV screen or with a gadget making your child a couch potato.
Ability to Take Risks
As talked about earlier, playing sports either as a team or individually, in the case of games like badminton and tennis, requires improvisation of tactics and working strategies. Now doing that comes with a lot of risks as you can never be sure if your improvised act will be fruitful or disastrous. With nothing else but yourself to blame, you still decide to take the leap and act with the sole intention of reaching your goal, your target. In life too all of us have to take risks on a daily basis. As a kid, sports are not a matter of life and death and hence the field is the best platform to train for making life-changing decisions that require risk.
Coping up with Failure
A field is a dangerous place. No matter how hard you train, there is always a chance of failure, always a chance that your opponent might have trained better or maybe the odds are in their favor. Hence as a sportsman, your child will learn how to cope up with and handle failures. As a team, they will cry and vent it out and then decide together to rise up from the ashes, to perform better in the next game and to never give up, not until the last minute and not even after that. Failures are an unavoidable part of life and the earlier we start preparing ourselves and our children for it the better.
Better Self-esteem, Persistence, Dedication and Patience
There are a lot of additional qualities that your child might learn and which might help shape up their personalities, their attitudes and their outlook on life. Being good at sports, enhances a child’s self-esteem, losing games and the will to prove himself/herself better in the next one builds on the kids level of persistence and dedication and the optimism that their hard work will pay off teaches your child the importance of patience. Sports involve a wide array of elements that makes you win or lose it, each of those elements serves as foundations upon which a team and in the long term, our lives are built.
Playing sports as kids may even enable your child to discover his or her true passion. Examples of Mauricio Baldivieso and David Beckham are living proofs of how playing sports earlier in their lives helped them not just discover but also follow their dream and passion. Today the world agrees that your work performance is best when you are doing the job that you love. Making a professional career in sports require one to truly be a sportsman at heart and there is only one way to ever completely understand your strengths and weaknesses and that is when you put them to test. Taking your kid to his first football practice or buying him his first ball, may be the first steps you take in leading them to where they finally built their identity and achieve what they truly desire.
Sooner or later we all come to realize that the famous saying that ‘all work and no play makes jack a lazy boy’ is true. Extracurriculars are not just important for all the life lessons and benefits which they offer but they also serve as an additional star on your applications when you apply to colleges and universities and even beyond that, today a lot of professional companies prefer having people on their team who have at some point in life has been involved in some kind of sport because they believe that the qualities they may have acquired on the field will definitely help them take their company forward in the race of getting to the top.
Last but not least, Sports provide us with the opportunities to travel beyond the geographical boundaries of our homeland. What’s even more interesting is that often these sports tours are completely funded by the organizers or your institutions. Travelling in itself provides numerous benefits like experiencing different cultures, being part of different teams and meeting new and exciting people. Broadening our horizons in more ways than one.
Although parents understand the importance, the younger lot questions the idea of why kids should play sports. Despite the trend going out of fashion, it has not lost its benefits and it is the responsibility of the elder generation to remind kids about this.