If you’ve ever played a team sport, you probably remember the highs and lows of the game. Sometimes you were on top of the world, and sometimes you just didn’t want to play. Some games you were the team hero when you scored a goal, and some games you felt bad when you missed.
If you played on a team you probably remember the experience well. And that team sport helped you develop the social skills you use today. Those skills are crucial and help you when working with different personality types, meeting new people, and dealing with adversity. In fact, a study by Cornell University found that people who played youth sports:
- Are more likely to donate to charity as an adult
- Make better employees
- Have better career opportunities compared to those who didn’t play a sport
Team sports aid your child’s social development in many different ways. Here are just a few:
When kids are playing on a team, they need to work together and react quickly to each other. Sharing the experiences of winning and losing, training together, and aiming for the same goals throughout the season can help kids recognise the benefits of being a team player as they grow older as well.
A Sense of Belonging
Cliques are forming earlier and earlier at schools throughout Australia. Sport teams mix up these social divides and force kids from all different groups to work together. That gives them a chance to get to know other kids and gives them a sense of belonging.
Control over their emotions
When kids play team sports, they have to learn to respect their teammates, their coaches, and the referees. They quickly learn that talking back, throwing the gear around, yelling at teammates and throwing a fit over a loss won’t be tolerated. Many parents find that kids that won’t listen to them at home but will listen when a coach tells them that tantrums are unacceptable. They also learn what’s appropriate from their fellow teammates.
If you’ve ever had the urge to yell at your boss, lay on the car horn in traffic, or fire an employee, you’ll know how important emotional control is as an adult. Team sports help kids learn this early on, so they can enjoy relationships with both their peers and adults.
Team sports teach kids to effectively solve conflicts with other kids. A good coach will be encouraging teamwork and keeping an eye out for any problems between teammates. When problems do arise, kids are encouraged to talk out the problem, try to see the other person’s point of view, and apologise if they’re in the wrong.
Many adults have problems dealing with conflict, and conflict resolutions skills are crucial for healthy relationships. When these skills are learned early on, your child will incorporate them into every relationship they have as they grow older.
While it is possible to be too competitive, team sports help your child to understand healthy competition. Competition is a part of life, from getting into a good university, to getting a job, and moving up the career ladder. When kids learn healthy competition early, they learn to compete with integrity and recognise that their biggest competition is themselves.
Team sports teach kids to set goals, and to have discipline. They also learn about commitment as they go to practice each week. But one of the biggest reasons for kids to play a team sport is for the increased confidence that comes along with the game. They’ll learn how hard work translates to better results on the field, and as their skills grow, so will their confidence.