In a world where screen time rules, team sports are a fun way to get kids active. But the benefits of playing sports go beyond helping kids stay healthy. The dynamics of team sports also builds character in kids — and teaches them valuable skills they can use long after they hang up their helmets or shin guards.
Here are five important values that can be learned when hitting the field or court.
Working Together to Succeed
Nearly 80% of parents agree that playing sports helps their children get along well with others, according to a study by the Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health. From setting up a tackle to making an assist, it only takes one or two practices before young athletes start getting the message that there’s no “I” in “team.” And that’s a lesson that translates to the classroom, the workplace and beyond.
You Have the Power to Solve Problems
How can we block the opponent’s best player? Is there any way we can beat that undefeated team? No matter the game, sports are chock-full of challenges. And finding ways to tackle them can give kids the boost they need to deal with thorny issues in the real world.
Practice Makes Perfect
Even naturally athletic kids have to sweat to become stars on the field. Keeping up with a practice schedule is one of the first ways many children learn that success is almost always the result of hard work.
Being Organized Is a Must
After-school practices and weekend games can eat up a lot of hours. Student athletes have to learn how to prioritize their time in order to tackle schoolwork, participate in other extracurriculars and get together with friends. And as any adult can attest, that’s a skill that only becomes more valuable as you move on to college, the work world and having a family.
Your Attitude Is What Matters
The most important sports lesson of all? Be gracious — no matter what the score is when the final buzzer rings. Time on the court or field teaches kids how to celebrate a win without making the opponent feel bad, and weather a loss without turning sour. In other words, sports help kids learn the ultimate golden rule—treat others how you’d want to be treated.