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Why Sports Are So Important For Children

Updated on May 29, 2011

Children and sports has been criticized a lot lately with the increase in overuse injuries, over scheduling of children, and even deaths caused by overheating at practices. I am still a firm believer in the benefits of childhood sports however. I think every child can benefit from playing sports – both unstructured such as in the backyard as well as organized sports like playing on a baseball team.

Sports teach children many important lessons in life. While I think there is a place in sports for every child and team being a winner, I also think that healthy competition is necessary to raising children. Healthy competition will result in both winners and losers. This is an important opportunity for parents and coaches alike to teach children to find the positive in losing situations, to become a good sport, and to have fun regardless of whether you win or lose.

Many leagues have adopted a no losing situation. In fact the soccer league my boys have played in for years would never kept score and never kept track of who won or lost a game. While at the younger levels I think this is fine, you had better believe those kids kept track of the score in their head the entire game and knew exactly who won or lost. This year for the first time during the final session they did keep track and even had playoffs at the end. The kids were so excited to finally have it be a competition. I think there needs to be a balance and the right aspects of the game emphasized to keep it a healthy competition.

When children play sports they will gain confidence in their body’s ability to perform. Every sport might not be for every child, but a child has 15 or so years to find one that might work for them. Regardless of what some parents and frequently the media say, your child does not have to specialize in one sport from the age of 4 on. There is plenty of time for them to try all the different sports and either find one they enjoy and can succeed in, or play them all for the fun of it. I have children that do both. My son wants to play a different sport every season and he has tried numerous ones in his 13 years. My daughter on the other hand found her passion at the age of 3. We have tried other things off and on over the years but she keeps sticking with the same sport and that is fine with me. As long as she is in a sport and enjoys it that is what is important.

Kids these days have too much free time on their hands. Many times this free time is unsupervised, which can lead to all sorts of problems and bad decisions. Having your children involved in sports will keep them busy in structured, supervised settings that are good for them. When kids have something like sports to occupy their time, they are less likely to get involved in drugs and alcohol.

When a child plays unstructured sports in the backyard or on the playground they learn to get along with other children, have fun and get exercise. All of these things are very important to keeping a child physically and mentally healthy. When a child plays organized sports they learn to listen to coaches, get along with teammates, work together as a team for a common goal, and to follow rules and directions. All of these lessons will serve them well in life. Let them play sports when they are children and they will reap the benefits for decades.


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    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 6 years ago from Utah

      Why can't we Americans ever do anything in moderation?? It seems like we either don't exercise, or we do exercise-too much. No matter what you believe or do, remember moderation is the key.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      It certainly is a great help to get rid of energy and build a healthy body.

    • ccdursina profile image

      Carolina Dursina 6 years ago from Spring Green WI

      Sport is so important in the kids development and building self confidence!

    • suejanet profile image

      suejanet 6 years ago

      I have always thought that playing sports and games is very important to development of children.

    • profile image

      sreekumar sukumaran 6 years ago

      Yes, nice article and an eye opener to parents. It reminds me the proverb- All work and no play made Jack a dull boy.

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 6 years ago from India

      very good hub, well written. I agree with you Jennifer.

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 6 years ago

      I am totally agree with you. Sport is very important when , as you said, the competition are healthy. This is possible if adults do not live the sport of their children as a personal challenge.

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      I think All the parents and children should read this hub..

    • profile image

      love2dogs 6 years ago

      My daughter was wonderful in ballet but she didn't like it. She found that gymnastics was her sport. It was difficult to see her give up the ballet but we knew that we had to let her do what she loved.

      Nice Hub :)

    • Jennifer profile image

      Jennifer 6 years ago

      You are so right JPCMC. When we first had kids, by husband told me that he wasn't going to let any of them play soccer. I grew up with parents that wouldn't let me play what I wanted. I told him that our kids would do whatever sport they wanted and it was our job to support them. They have chosen some interesting ones that we never would have thought of. And 3 of the 4 have played soccer.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This is so true! It's also important that parents allow children to find the sport that they want instead of shoving a baseball bat and glove when they don't like playing it. Much of self confidence building is in doing something that the child wants. It's up to the parents to provide an encouraging and supportive attitude.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I couldn't agree with you more.