Organized sports are designed to be entertaining and competitive, and provide children with a chance to develop physical skills and learn about fair play and commitment. While leagues are available for children at numerous levels, organized school sports often begin in junior high. Many advantages and disadvantages are associated with playing organized team sports.
Playing sports improves the self-esteem of both boys and girls, and offers them an opportunity to increase their quality of life through exercising. Children who play sports are less likely to be overweight, which helps project a positive body image, especially for girls. Those who play sports growing up are also less likely to take drugs, drink alcohol or become pregnant. Physical activity may also relieve anxiety and depression.
Children who play sports can develop a number of different skills. Social skills may be learned, as individuals are able to play sports with their friends as they grow up. Individuals can also learn discipline through practice and hard work. Children can set and accomplish goals in a specific sport. Leadership and critical thinking skills can also be developed through teamwork and game strategies.
One of the primary disadvantages of playing sports is becoming injured. It is possible for athletes to do long-term damage to their knees and other parts of their body. Children who play contact sports, such as football and hockey, may be more susceptible to injuries.
In some instances, competition can help children develop skills that translate to school and work, but in other situations, competition can have a detrimental effect on children. Children who find success playing sports may become obsessed about getting better, and schoolwork may suffer. They may also experience an intense pressure to win and play well. Those who are overmatched physically may find that competitive sports are no longer fun and may be teased and bullied by their peers.