Youth sports are more important now than ever. The overall participation of kids in sports was hit hard by the pandemic, so it’s crucial that both kids and parents know the benefits associated with playing ball. Since the list is virtually endless, we’ll cover the five that we believe are the most important (in no particular order)!
#1: Time management
Youth sports give kids the opportunity to learn the essential skill of time management. This skill plays a key role in the overall development of youth, which can ultimately contribute to academic success and personal growth. Learning to manage time effectively can alleviate stress and anxiety, both issues severely impacting the youth.
While it may seem counter-intuitive to add another responsibility to relieve stress/anxiety, if kids start at an early age, it will allow them more time to better combat these feelings once they are older.
Whether it be sending a through ball to your teammate down the wing, celebrating a last-minute goal, or picking each other up after a heartbreaking defeat, it all leads back to that sense of family that playing sports brings you. Building relationships is at the core of who we are as humans and kids need to be exposed to opportunities to do so. The ability to collaborate, communicate, and empathize with others eventually becomes second nature and can be applied to academic settings, workplaces, and social interactions.
#3: Building Character and resilience
Having the discipline to attend practice when you’re tired or the mental fortitude to make that 90th-minute sprint or the strength to keep your head up after a tough loss is all a part of the game, no matter the sport. It teaches young athletes different ways to deal with success and defeat, which is again, essential for development.
#4: Physical activity
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, “Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes or more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.” With this daily exercise, it contributes to aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening aspects that are crucial in youth development. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, or type 2 diabetes are not commonly found in children and adolescents, but current evidence shows that obesity, elevated insulin, and high blood pressure are appearing more and more in youth. Exercising and regular physical activity reduces the risk of these factors and it is more likely that kids will stay healthy as adults.
#5: inclusion and diversity
Last, but certainly not least, is the diversity aspect of youth sports. Engaging, playing, and spending time with people from different backgrounds facilitates a cultural exchange, enabling kids to learn and appreciate diverse traditions and perspectives. Especially a tournament such as Target USA CUP where thousands of athletes from all over the world join us in a celebration of soccer, it gives kids the perfect opportunity to cross cultural boundaries and learn.