What Are the Benefits of Competitive Sports for Youth?

By Bailey Shoemaker Richards
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Children who play competitive sports receive a great deal of good from the experience. Physical, mental and emotional development are enhanced by playing competitive sports, and playing sports can also help combat childhood obesity. Sports are a great way to get kids involved with their community and with others their age.

Physical Benefits

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Children who play sports are more likely to be physically fit, have a healthy weight and maintain a better body image. A healthy body contributes to a healthy mind, and regular exercise contributes to overall physical and mental health. Competitive sports require discipline and focus from children, especially as they grow older. A child who can keep her body focused on the sport may also have an easier time focusing her mind on school work.

Mental Benefits

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Competitive sports are challenging for youth. They require kids and teens to cooperate, compete in a sportsmanlike way, use strategy and communicate with one another. All of these attitudes can be developed through playing sports. According to the University of Florida Extension, youth sports can enhance a child's emotional and mental development, helping him to mature at a steady and accelerated rate. The mental benefits of playing youth sports can last for a lifetime.

Social Benefits

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Youth who play sports form a circle of social acquaintances. They will become better able to make friends, socialize with others and respond in constructive ways to conflict. Competition is a situation in which conflict and problems inevitably arise, and children who play sports are more likely to handle conflict in positive ways. Communication is a major part of competitive sports, and students who learn to communicate play and react more positively.