The Benefits Kids Get from Sports

Alan ParhamContributor INovember 1, 2010

Young Athletes Get More than Ws and Ls from Leading a Sports-related Life

Let’s not forget where we were or where we could be.  Instead, let’s relish where we are.  There are a lot of options and distractions out there for kids and parents in this, the fast-moving Digital Age.  Yet, chances are that if you are reading this blog, each day your life to some degree revolves around sports.  Healthy for the mind and body even if you are a spectator and not a participant, sports offer us all a whole array of meaningful advantages, but no one reaps the benefits more than the youngsters playing them every day.

The structure, security and personal bonds our kids gain from playing sports cannot be overstated.  Nearly every day they are required to manage their schedules around some obligation to sports—practice, workouts, meetings, video sessions—requiring time, commitment and parental involvement.  Sports give kids a built-in family of friends and parents where they can feel safe and appreciated. Instead of running around untethered with unmotivated kids, they are engaged in a goal-driven environment where the expectations are lofty and the consequences are meaningful.  There are few other options available which offer these personal growth opportunities. 

Sports involvement teaches our kids:

  • Organizational skills
  • Social interaction and cooperation 
  • Respect for authority
  • The value of team work
  • The link between hard work and success
  • How to win and lose gracefully
  • Goal-setting

Yes, there is no doubt that some people are overly obsessed with sports, but in the overall perspective, our kids are still far better off dealing with the consequences of sports obsession than they are if the alternative includes coping with drugs, alcohol, gang membership or truancy.  In other words, in the worst of sports scenarios, our children are more likely to come out of sports involvement with more usable life skills and more well-adjusted than if they sit at home playing video games, bored to the point of dreaming up destructive things to do.  When kids are on the field or on the court and their parents are in the stands cheering them on, the kids have a sense of inclusion, purpose and pride.  Competition, teamwork, effort, sweat, support—what could have more of a positive influence?   

Sports are good for us as people and as a society.  There are downsides, granted, like anything else.  But we are teaching kids so many more valuable things such as personal responsibility, sticking with something through its conclusion, helping others in hardship, listening and learning from peers and coaches—not to mention pushing oneself beyond the limits of where we thought it was possible to go.  It’s all good.

Alan Parham is the blogger for National Scouting Report (