American families are all in, when it comes to organized youth sports. Recent statistics for that 75% of American families with school-aged children have at least one child participating in organized sports. That’s at least 45 million kids!
Balance Between Fun and Achievement
Organized youth sports programs that emphasize fun while establishing a balance between physical fitness, well-being and a healthy, active lifestyle are most successful -for the kids as well as their parents. In fact, sports satisfaction surveys reveal that “having fun” is the main reason most children like to participate in sports.
Once a child is old enough to be part of a team -at least six years of age, introducing them to a variety of activities can be beneficial overall. An accurate assessment of the child’s individual sports readiness must be performed to determine the level of competition they can successfully and safely participate. Otherwise a mismatch between the child and the spots could lead to anxiety and stress, and the child will ultimately quit. We don’t want that!
According to an Institution for the Study of Youth Sports report, most children rank fairness, participation and development of skills above winning, although their adult coaches and parents may contribute to an environment where winning is everything, as they say. Coaching tactics such as punishing physical practices, only “the best” get to play, running up the score and overemphasizing celebratory wins can douse the spirit of the game.
Participation in sports keeps kids moving. This physical activity and regular exercise combats childhood obesity and promotes the kind active lifestyle that negates a couch potato mentality. In this world of “meals on the go,” video games and virtual meet-ups, the average American consumes upwards of 31% more calories, 56% more fat and 14% more sugar -that includes kids! In addition to promoting movement, youth sports provide a venue for learning, practicing and developing motor skills, which is likely to continue into adulthood.
What can something as simple as regular movement do for both boys and girls? Student participants in high levels of physical activity:
● improve academic achievement
● lesson learning difficulties
● decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes
● control weight
● increase quality of life, self-esteem and body image
● make healthy diet decisions such as eating more fruit and vegetables
● are less likely to smoke cigarettes
● reduce the risk for developing breast cancer and osteoporosis
● are less likely to be depressed
● improve skills in goal setting, time management, emotional control, leadership, wisdom, social intelligence, cooperation and self-exploration
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