Youth sports isn’t just about getting exercise and winning trophies. While winning games and playing hard can accomplish both of these tasks, and both can have positive effects on a child, seeing youth sports as being only about success and physical health is a very narrow view of youth sports. It’s not often discussed how participation in youth sports can help a child mentally as well as physically.
One very large aspect of being involved with youth sports is teamwork. Children learn how to work together and work off of one another when they’re put in an environment where they have to, like on a soccer field or during a football game. They also want to see their team succeed and they know that this is much more likely when they work with each other to win.
However, another big component of youth sports psychology focuses on work ethic. When they’re part of a team, children are taught skills that help them become hard workers – both off AND on the field.
Work Ethic and Sports
The correlation here is obvious – kids that put the effort in to become better and work well with others will succeed at bettering themselves. Will they be the best? Possibly not. But youth sports help to teach children that you don’t always have to be the one holding the trophy to succeed. Sometimes just getting better than you were the week before is considered success as well.
Children accomplish this through diligence, perseverance and responsibility. Both coaches and parents play a part in fostering this mentality both on the field and at home. League officers should work together to bolster these important lessons throughout practices, games and possible tournaments.
How This Translates to School and Other Areas
While many of the lessons learned during youth sports are specifically about the sport itself, there’s definitely an overarching impact. Part of this is youth sports being a vehicle for teaching children how to push themselves and handle both their successes and failures.
It’s been proven that youth athletes are more likely to succeed in school, and this is partially due to work ethic. Students learn to push themselves and try hard on the field, so it makes it easier for them to do the same off the field. Youth athletes learn diligence to keep up with practice and stick to their goals when they play sports, and this can also translate to being responsible enough to do their work on time and save playtime for later.
Outside of school, youth sports help teach children to work hard at home and in other areas of life. Because they’re used to working hard on the field, children who grow into teens looking for work may find that jobs are easier for them because they’ve already had a lot of practice following orders, committing to schedules and following through with tasks.
All in all, youth sports bring many benefits into a child’s life. It’s always critical that children remain healthy during their formative growing years, but this doesn’t just speak to their bodies – it also speaks to their minds.