softballpitchYouth sports can have positive effects in the lives of the participants. Children reap many benefits from playing sports, including self-discipline, self-confidence, a healthier body, and stronger relationships with peers and adults. The skills children develop while participating in sports translate to their other activities and commitments, including school performance and family relationships. As young athletes develop their bodies, their minds develop simultaneously.

Self-Discipline

Youth sports builds self-discipline among young people. The commitment to a team and simply making it to each practice is a first step for many young athletes. In order to be successful in sports, kids often practice the same techniques over and over to acquire proficiency. Learning in-bounds plays for basketball, the nickle defense in football, or even the proper hand off technique for a 4x100 relay requires focused attention and dedicated practice to achieve success.

Self-Confidence

Participation in youth sports provides an arena for confidence development. Self-confidence does not come naturally to all children. Interestingly, one of the best ways to develop self-confidence is to be placed in challenging situations. Challenges provide an opportunity for kids to discover solutions on their own, and reap the consequences of whichever solution they choose. Participating in youth sports presents such opportunities over and over again--how to score on a breakaway in soccer, how to beat a defender in a fast break in basketball, or even how to talk to a teammate about his habit of not passing the ball often enough. Challenges, whether physical or emotional, can develop confidence in children.

Builds Strong Relationships

Players learn to put the team before their individual interests, which develops selflessness.

Participation in youth sports provides ample opportunities for kids to build strong friendships with their peers and mentoring relationships with their coaches. Young athletes benefit from working together to reach various goals. Players learn to put the team before their individual interests, which develops the quality of selflessness. Teams of athletes do not always get along perfectly, and putting aside differences to play effectively together is another important lesson to be used throughout life. 

The relationships between players and their coaches can be powerful. Players look to coaches for guidance both on and off the field, seeking advice on improving their performance as well as succeeding in school. Players come to trust their coaches, and coaches serve as role models and counselors for players.

Builds a Healthy Body

When children play sports they develop an understanding of what their bodies can do. Young athletes are often fearless, sacrificing their bodies to block a shot or dive for a loose ball. Playing with this kind of abandon can be healthy, and it promotes a trust in their bodies' abilities. Regular games and practices build strong bones and muscles. When athletes are young, the focus should be on learning, fun and fitness.