We hear lots of things about youth sports – and lots of things about how they continue to change. But how do sports help kids? Can sports really make a difference in a child’s life?
How do Sports Help Kids
Sports help kids become physically fit, provide them with regular exercise, make friends, have fun, learn teamwork, play fair, and improve their self-esteem. These traits will carry over into every aspect of the child’s life – even into adulthood. There are many ways sports help kids, but let me give you an actual example of how sports helped one kid in particular.
The Story of How Sports Helped One Kid
I want to tell you a story about a kid I once knew. This little boy was such a good kid – well-mannered, polite, quiet, shy, and very passive. However, these traits can lead other kids to see them as a sign of weakness, so the little boy was bullied. He was bullied at school. He was bullied in his own neighborhood. His father had a “Type-A” personality – he was very assertive, an extrovert, and could not relate to or understand his son in any way. To try to get his son to be more aggressive, he was very hard on the little boy when he showed any sign of “weakness.” The result? The little boy did not feel safe anywhere – not at home, school, or anywhere in his neighborhood. What was he to do?
His parents had him enrolled in youth baseball, but he could not relate to the “winning” attitudes of his parents and coaches. He finally quit playing baseball at age 12. So sports did not help him at all. That was until he found soccer and decided to give it a try.
Oh what a difference a coach makes! The coach of the very first team the boy played for had an entirely different approach to coaching. Unlike his baseball coaches who were out to win games at all costs, this coach focused on teaching the game. The baseball coaches were very stressful people who focused on positioning key players, and their own strategy, in order to win games while the soccer coach focused on developing skills, teaching teamwork, sportsmanship, building confidence in the kids who needed a boost, and how to enjoy the game. The result? While the baseball coaches continued to stress over lost games, the little boy was on a team that was undefeated and traveled to compete in the state championships. They lost every game in the state championships, but that didn’t matter – the coach was still happy and the boy had a blast.
That little boy went on to play soccer until he graduated from high school. He joined the military where he excelled in an organization that requires confidence more than any other. He now coaches when he can find the time, and he owns his own business – it all started with one man – one great coach. Who was that little boy? Me – the author of this article, and I can honestly say that sports changed my life. Through sports, I learned how to make new friends, work with others toward a common goal, and was engrained with a strong sense of what is fair – but most importantly, my self-esteem skyrocketed.
Become a Sports Buddy! Spend just a little time with a child interested in sports, and change a life forever!