Overview: I used to snub my nose at the thought of my boys playing sports – too time consuming and expensive. No longer! Check out the many benefits of team sports!
I’ve been a bookworm my whole life so I’ve never been very athletic. I played softball for a few years when I was in middle school and I pitifully attempted to run track one year. But that has been the extent of my foray into sports.
My main experience with sports was during gym class. The things I remember most are getting picked last for the team every time and getting pegged repeatedly with the dodgeball which I’m sure you’d agree negatively warped my view of team sports.
I also saw other people who used to play lots of team sports as kids; but, who floundered to fit physical activity into their lives as adults when they no longer had a team to play on. And, of course, some people go over the top with sports and have their kids involved in so many that there is no longer any time for family.
So my intention was to keep my boys away from team sports and to focus instead on physical activities that they could do on their own such as running, swimming, hiking, and biking.
At some point, however, my boys wanted to play baseball. Lots of the baseball teams in our area require practices on Wednesday nights, which would interfere with us attending church that night. Plus, they were super expensive! So we intentionally steered our boys toward less competitive leagues which allowed our family to continue to put church before sports and to spend way less money as well.
These leagues were fun but they were also less demanding and my boys felt like something was missing. So this past winter we finally bit the bullet and allowed them to join a competitive homeschool basketball league.
Turns out, it was a super good decision for our family! Our oldest son, who had been struggling as he entered puberty, really started to excel. All of the extra exercise he started to get did amazing things for his attitude. Suddenly, we were able to talk with him again and he was actually listening! He even asked our advice about ways we thought he could improve.
Our experience with basketball was so positive that we also enrolled our boys in a competitive homeschool baseball league which was just as beneficial as was the basketball season. My boys only played competitive baseball for one year. But they’ve been playing basketball for the last four years and are getting ready to start practices for their fifth year next week.
Basketball has been fantastic for my sons. I can’t imagine our lives without it. Obviously, participating in sports is a great way to stay physically active. However, our family has seen many other benefits to team sports as well.
Here are 11 Benefits of Team Sports:
1 – Become more disciplined
If our sons want to get better at the sport of their choice, they will need to put in lots of practice time whether they feel like it or not. This helps them to develop discipline, focus, and patience. I can’t tell you how proud I’ve been of my sons as they continue to set harder fitness goals for themselves and then work to achieve them. It has been a joy to watch and has helped to motivate my husband and me to be more active as well!
2 – Boosts self-esteem
As our kids play team sports over time, their skills will improve which helps them to feel better about themselves and their abilities. I think my boys have even surprised themselves with how much their abilities have improved over the years.
3 – Learning to deal with disappointment
Life isn’t fair and kids quickly learn that things aren’t always fair when they are playing sports, either. The ref won’t always make good calls. They won’t always get as much playing time as much as they would like. They will lose games they thought they were going to win. Playing sports is a great way to learn how to deal with disappointment appropriately and to have good sportsmanship.
4 – Enhance brain development and raise IQ
Did you know that movement actually makes our kids smarter? Sustained aerobic activity has been found to increase the size of the basal ganglia, the part of the brain which affects attention span and decision making. It also increases the size of the hippocampus which affects emotions, aids long-term memory, and helps with spatial relations. Moderate exercise also causes us to breathe more rapidly which floods the brain with oxygen. It also causes more blood to be pumped and to transport nutrients to our brains and bodies.
5 – Having a coach
Coaches push our kids to exert themselves more than they would on their own. They also teach them the skills necessary to get better at the sport of their choice.
6 – Having a mentor
We’ve chosen to participate in Christian leagues because we want our boys looking up to men who love God. These coaches become mentors for our boys who pray with them, encourage them, and help them to get stronger. They also help our boys to develop good character qualities.
7 – Learning teamwork
This is pretty self-explanatory. It’s important to learn how to work with other people and to get along with them, whether we would normally choose to spend time with them or not.
8 – Learning to handle difficult situations
Participating on a team teaching our kids how to win humbly and how to lose gracefully. It also helps them to overcome their fears, to build self-confidence, to get along with other people including people on the opposite team, and to develop both physical and emotional self-control.
9 – Learning to respect the coach and his decisions
Kids are often tempted to want their own way and to argue with their parents. Being on teams, they will learn that they must listen to their coach and the officials or they will be unable to play. This is a great lesson for our boys!
10 – Making friends
There are lots of opportunities to meet other kids of similar ages while participating in team sports. If you’re looking for opportunities for your kids to socialize with people outside of their current social groups, this is a great one.
11 – Sleep better
The extra physical exercise helps my boys to want to go to bed earlier and to fall asleep much more quickly than they were before. And getting a good night’s sleep is vital for our children’s health and frankly for our emotional health as well. Bonus!
Even a non-athletic mom like myself has to acknowledge that there are many benefits to participating in team sports. I’ve seen them play out with my boys in a big way. If you’re looking for something that will engage your son, try signing him up for a team sport and watch him blossom.
Question: Do your sons participate in team sports? If so, have you found them to be beneficial for your sons as well? Please leave a comment below.