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Youth Sports

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Submitted By astanl09
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“An estimated 25 million American youth participate in some form of organized sport, such as basketball, soccer, or baseball. Sports are one of the best sources of regular physical activity and exercise for many young Americans” (Athletes and sports, 2014). All children should get the chance to feel the crack of the bat as they hit their ball into the middle of the outfield. They should all get the experience of hearing their parents cheering them on from the stands and showing their support for them. They should all get the chance to feel the encouragement and love from their coach and teammates as they score their first touchdown. Every child should have the chance to participate in a team sport. Not only are sports great entertainment and exercise for children, but it also is a fun way for them to learn basic and important life skills. Youth sports help guide children to develop good character and morals. Through their participation with a team sport, children are being taught how to work well with others, develop self-motivation and perseverance, increase their level of strategically thinking, and embrace courage. To begin, while participating in a team sport children are developing an important characteristic, learning how to work well with others. For many children, this is a hard lesson to learn. “Kids practice camaraderie, sportsmanship and loyalty to their fellow players and coaches. They must learn to work together to win a game, rely on each other to make a successful play, and dedicate themselves to improving their skills for the betterment of the team” (Frey, 2013). Have you ever sat in the stands at a youth football, basketball, baseball, or soccer game and just studied a teams every move and the interaction with their teammates. In basketball, you will see the ball being dribbled from player to player with grace and confidence in their teammate. During the game of football, little quarterbacks are throwing the ball confidently to their teammate knowing that they are going to run the ball with all that they got. While watching a baseball game, you will notice the pitchers believing in his catcher every move knowing that they will have each other’s backs not matter what play is next. All of these moves are strategically played knowing that their teammates are going to play their best and they as well will give it their all. These players are interacting with their teammates in a way which is way beyond their years. They are learning how to cooperate with their teammates and how to put their feelings about another teammate aside for a moment in time. While participating in youth sports children are taught that there is no “I” in team and that the strongest teams are the ones who support and encourage their fellow teammates. As adults, we are faced with the fact that we are not always going to work with people we love to work with and won’t always be surrounded by people that we get along with. By learning new ways to work with other people that we may not necessarily want to work with at an early age, these soon to be adults are developing a very important part of having good character. Secondly, through involvement on a team sport, children will learn the value of self-motivation and self-perseverance. ”Competition has been found to facilitate motivation and lead to improved performance”(Gould, 2004). As a child engages themselves in a sport they will be soon faced with the fact that every battle will not be won and every game will not be played to their best ability. The more important lesson they will gain from their loss is the ability to direct their loss into motivation to do better next game and find the drive and want for it within them. What drives people to do better and to want more for themselves, their family, and the worlds is the motivation and thrive for something that they can improve and develop on. In life we will all be faced with the losses and outcomes that we are disappointed with, but the ability to turn that loss around and convert it into something positive defines good character. Many people argue that the amount of time a child spends at practices and games is too extensive for the younger crowd. They argue that as the amount of time spent participating increase so does the amount of pressure being placed on the children. However, involvement on a team sport can do just the opposite. “The psychological and socials benefits of regular activity through a sport may help children cope with stress, counterbalance sedentary lifestyles, and foster positive relationships” (Russell & Limle, 2013). Children who spend more time involved in a team sport will have greater benefits than who spend none. With a greater time commitment in a sport, children will subsequently develop a higher level of skills and a distinguished knowledge of strategy and or tactics. With the knowledge of thinking strategy skills and tactics, a child can use these and apply them though out their lives. This skill level can be used in a way in which they are needed to apply themselves and excel within the job market. With an increased commitment to a team sport and the achievements within themselves, children with learn at an early age that hard work and dedication will pay off at the end of the day. A person’s ability to dedicate themselves to something and achieve greatness is an important characteristic when having good character. Lastly, through participations on a team sport, the players will be exposed to another very important trait they must have in order to achieve being a good character. This trait is known as courage. Courage is the ability to stand up and face your fears no matter what the outcome may be. “Sports provide an unparalleled model for dealing with disappointment and misfortune. Young athletes learn to handle adversity, whether it's picking themselves up after losing a big game or not getting as many minutes as they wanted” (Metzl & Shookhoff, 2008). As they players continue their engagement on the field they will experience strike outs, tackles, points scored by their opponent, penalties, and hard losses. But through these tough times on the field they are encouraged to pick themselves right back up and show their opponents that it is not over with yet. If you have ever participated on a team where you were knocked around by your opponent then you understand the level of courage it takes to step back on the field again. Through a child’s involvement on a team they are taught a valuable lesson in life. This lesson is that it doesn’t matter how many times you were knocked down all that matters is how many feet you have planted on the ground in the end. Having the courage to face your fears and hide your freights may be the pinnacle of having good character. Through the participation on a team sport children are learning basic life skills and important traits to developing good character. These traits include the ability to work as a team, self-motivation and perseverance, an increased level of thinking strategically, and courage. These lessons are taught in a way that is fun and understandable for the kids. As a result, children are more open to learning from their coaches and also listening to everything they have to say. The easiest way to teach children important lessons of life is through fun. Let your child try a sport and see how much they gain from it.

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