What Are the Benefits of Competitive Sports for Youth?

Children who play competitive sports receive a great deal of good from the experience 1. 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

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

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 1.

Social Benefits

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.

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