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Playground Equipment Blog
Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Five Reasons Your Child Should Join a Team Sport


As the motivational saying goes, “Teamwork makes the dream work!” Team sports and other group activities—like band or choir—provide a host of benefits and growth opportunities that will aid in your child’s development. Here are five reasons to encourage your child to join a team this school year.

1. Teamwork creates community.


Joining a team offers kids an opportunity to be part of a group that shares a common mission, requiring children to learn important skills like cooperation, self-discipline, communication, and humility.

Team sports also provide a great outlet for children to make friends with other kids who share common interests. This is especially vital for homeschooled children because it gives them a structured environment in which to practice social interaction, interpersonal negotiation, sportsmanship, and tolerance.

Additionally, team sports create a space for children to develop intergenerational relationships with coaches, teachers, and mentors who’ll act as role models and guides. As society progresses, we see the emergence, or revitalization, of diverse housing and living patterns, many of which include multi-generational support and habitation. Positive adult role models can teach children “The Four R’s”—respect, responsibility, reciprocity, and resilience—essential to co-existing with their peers, young and old.

2. Team sports aid in emotional intelligence and development.


Team sports give children a place to develop emotional fortitude, giving them a set of skills that transfer to other areas of their lives. And these benefits are both mental and physical.

Most obviously, exercise provides a safe space in which children can explore feelings of competitiveness, aggression, and anger, channeling their emotions into a productive outlet. Plus, the relaxation of sports alleviates anxiety and depression, and can improve overall mood. Additionally, studies show that regular exercise improves memory and cognitive abilities. For example, in one study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular, vigorous aerobic exercise appeared to boost the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain linked to verbal memory and learning. The development of the hippocampus can lead to a slew of positive outcomes, like better recall, vocabulary, and communication.

So, if you can, encourage your child to participate in a sport involving intense bouts of cardio, like soccer, gymnastics, or even softball, It could increase your kid’s concentration, creative thinking, and mood — benefits that extend into their academic performance.

3. Teamwork teaches responsibility and commitment.


It’s important for children to learn to honor their responsibilities and show up for the people in their lives. Teamwork teaches children how to take responsibility for their actions, while team sports provide the perfect avenue to practice “soft” social skills, which influence a child’s academics, future work, and relationship maintenance. Knowing the team is counting on you can be a huge motivator for kids to show up and follow through with their commitments.

4. Kids learn good sportsmanship and how to be a team player.


Nobody is a winner every single time. And one of the most important lessons kids can learn is how to lose — and fail — gracefully. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” It’s not about how many times a child fails, but their attitude in making mistakes and learning from them.

Being part of a team allows children to cope with the highs and lows that come with failure and success, teaching them to navigate life’s ebbs and flows in a healthy way.

5. Athletic involvement can increase academic performance.


As mentioned above, there are myriad tangible benefits to athletics. And practice on the field can transfer to performance in the classroom. According to a University of Kansas study that analyzed the scores of high school students, tests suggest that over 97% of student athletes graduated high school — 10% higher than those students who had never participated in sports. Additionally, athletes were shown to have better G.P.A. outcomes than non-athletes. Some of this might have to do with the time and stress management skills learned through sports participation, or even the emotional benefits of exercise, but regardless, time spent in athletics can help a child succeed in unexpected ways.

Remember to listen to your child.


Despite all the benefits that come with team sports, not all kids will show an interest. And that’s okay. Above all, encourage your child to join group activities they find engaging. Support their budding interest and watch them blossom!


Written by: Parker Jones

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