In the digital age, the prevalence of youth sports is waning. This may be because most kids aren’t being encouraged to participate in their local sports teams and community activities enough as they were before. But that can be a big mistake. Here are three benefits that youth sports can offer to kids and their communities:
Benefit #1: Encourage Physical Activity
Nowadays, most kids spend their afternoons and early evenings sitting in front of their computers or gaming consoles instead of playing with their friends in real life. While there’s nothing wrong with playing games online per se, it can become a problem if they don’t learn how to find a balance.
This is because playing games on the computer or gaming device all day will encourage a sedentary lifestyle. If they get too into their games, they’ll only stand up from their seats for quick bathroom breaks and meals before returning to their spots. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to serious health problems like diabetes and obesity when left unchecked.
But by promoting youth sports in your community, you can encourage young kids and teenagers to converse with people their age from beyond their blue light screens. They’ll be exposed to a broader range of people from different walks of life, and being part of a team sport can help them hone their skills.
So, not only will they be encouraged to partake in strenuous physical activities with other adolescents, but they’ll also be reducing their screen time. However, they must be guided by adults, especially if they’re playing contact sports like football. Plus, you also have to see to it that they have the right gear, such as shoulder pads and mouth guards for football, to ensure their safety.
Benefit #2: Lower Youth Crime Rates
When teenagers are left to their own devices without so much as a constant presence of their parents, they’ll be much more vulnerable to peer pressure. Of course, there are many reasons the youth can manifest delinquent behaviors, but lack of supervision and neglect often come at the top.
However, the implementation of youth sports may curb their curiosity when it comes to risky activities. Because playing in team sports and working on their skills will take up most of their time, they’ll rarely have opportunities to participate in delinquent activities. Additionally, they’ll be under the watchful eye of their coaches, which means they won’t be left alone for too long.
Youth sports can also be a great coping mechanism for kids dealing with troubles at home or in school because they’ll be shown a more positive way to release their emotions. So, instead of bottling up everything they’re feeling to themselves, they can relieve their stress through friendly and healthy competition.
Another benefit is that they’ll often be surrounded by other kids who may be able to understand what they’re going through. This means that they won’t have to exclude themselves from the world and resort to antisocial behaviors because they’ll have their teammates or friends to lean on for support.
Benefit #3: Create a Stronger Community
Participating in youth sports and events can encourage teenagers to take a more active role in their communities. This is because they’ll constantly be trained to engage with other adolescents, meet players from different schools, and be exposed to a broader range of people — not just from their close circles.
Local sports teams are also known to lead volunteer drives or create events to give back to the community. On such occasions, the kids won’t be the only ones involved because they can also encourage their parents, classmates, neighbors, and other community members to partake in their cause.
Even the games themselves can bring people together because everyone there will be working towards a common goal: to show their support for the team they’re rooting for to win. So, at the end of the day, youth sports will be beneficial not only to the kids playing in them but also to their strengthened community.
Of course, the sports alone won’t be enough to build a strong community, but it’s a start. By providing adolescents with the opportunity to become active members of society, they’ll be more likely to grab at the chance. That’s why you shouldn’t turn down the idea before it even has the chance to prove itself.
Youth sports won’t be the end-all-be-all solution that you’re probably making it out to be, but it can be a great place to start. After all, children are the future. By teaching them how to be morally sound members of the community at an early age, you’ll be helping them be wiser and kinder adults later on.