Taking part in team sports like basketball, volleyball, cricket, rugby, hockey, netball etc not only keep children fit and healthy, they also help children develop transferable personal and social skills they will utilise throughout their lives.
Ideally children should begin team sports around 6 or 7 years old. This is when most children have the physical and developmental skills, as well as the attention span, that are required for team sports.
It does not matter what team sport your child plays, or their skill level, the benefits from team sports are the same.
For the purpose of this blog I have grouped the benefits of team sports into 3 sections: health, academic and social, some benefits fall into more than 1 of these categories.
- Builds endurance – getting regular physical activity can help build stamina and endurance, over time children will be able to do more, faster and for longer.
- Burns calories – when active our body uses more energy (calories) to fuel our muscles. Regular exercise builds more muscle. These bigger muscles will burn more
- calories, even when resting.
- Boost immune system – exercise causes antibodies and white blood cells (cells that fight disease) in our body to circulate in higher numbers and faster, detecting and fighting illness earlier.
- Strengthens muscles and bones – bone, like muscle, is living tissue that becomes stronger with exercise. Strong bones and muscles protect against injury and improves balance and coordination.
- Improves motor skill development – motor skills are movements and actions of the muscles. These can be developed by activities prevalent in team sports such as running, jumping, sliding, throwing, catching and kicking.
- Less likely to develop vision problems – children who spend time outdoors playing, especially organised sports, are less likely to develop vision problems. (https://www.stanfordchildrens.org)
- Develops critical thinking skills – every game, and opponent, is completely different. Observation, analysis, interpretation, reflection, evaluation etc are all critical thinking skills used in team sports.
- Effective and quick decision-making skills – team sports are fast paced, and the right decisions/choices have to be made quickly too.
- Improved academic results – According to ‘Project Play’ by the Aspen Institute, kids that played in team sport achieved on average 40% better on school test results than those who played in no sports at all.
- Time management – children will learn how to time manage their practice and game days along with their other commitments such as school, family, friends and other clubs the belong to.
- Strong work ethic – team sports teach a determination or desire to work hard by forming good habits such as focusing, staying motivated, being reliable, setting and finishing tasks.
- Patience – waiting for your turn to bat, or to get the ball, or to win a game all takes patience. Patience is a skill that can be learned and practiced in team sports.
- Self-Discipline – having goals to aim for are essential if a child is to develop their self-discipline. When they achieve their goals, children can see the result of their hard work.
- Making new friends – when a child joins a sports team, they make a whole new group of friends. These are separate to school friends or family friends these are their teammates.
- Embrace differences – your teammates will be from different religions, different backgrounds, different ethnicity, and have different sporting abilities too. Despite the many, many differences, you all play for the same team with the same goal.
- Team spirit – the feelings of camaraderie, pride and loyalty among the members of a team enables them to cooperate and work well together.
- Communication – in any team communication is essential for success. Team members must work together effectively and have a common goal to reach.
- Kindness – being part of a sports team teaches children to be friendly, generous and considerate to their teammates.
- Support- team sports are not about 1 individual person they are about the whole team. The team members need to support one another so every child can play their best.
- Respect – team sports teach children to have respect for the opposition, the referees and officials, their own teammates and for their coaches.
- Confidence – as children’s strength, skills and stamina improve through training they will become more confident in their ability as they can see themselves visibly improve.
- Compassion – being compassionate is to care about your teammates, the opposition, and others. Children learn to be be both competitive and compassionate in team sports.
- Learning to deal with setbacks, obstacles and defeat – children will learn through team sports that life is not always fair, it’s not always easy and you don’t always get what you want. Losing can build camaraderie, sportsmanship and resilience.
- Build leadership skills – when coaches allow the players to do the warmup and rotate who is captain every game each child is given the opportunity to step up and lead.
Some children may not be interested in team sports, some may be interested in individual sports such as tennis, karate or swimming. Other children may not be interested in playing sports at all, and that’s ok.
It is very important to highlight that every child should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. At Xcelerate Gyms we have an exclusive membership for members aged 5-15 years old. For more information about X-Nation visit X Nation – XCELERATE GYMS.