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Why Team Sports like Football and Rugby are Great for Kids

06/06/2013 | Child Health, Exercise, Room to Grow | by Catherine Godiva

When it comes to learning how to be part of a team and how to help others win as a group, there is almost nothing better than team sports. Besides the physical activity that they afford (which is extremely valuable) team sports offer children a variety of opportunities for learning and growing that will help them in many facets of their life once they reach adulthood. When your child joins a team, whether it’s football, rugby, baseball, swimming, tennis or even golf, the benefit to their growth as a human being is undoubtedly high.

Team sports can teach children a wide variety of life lessons including being able to lose graciously as well as be committed to something bigger than themselves and working together with others towards a common goal. Being on a team also provides a child structure and routine that will transfer to their adult life, as well as introducing them to people outside of their immediate family who will serve as positive role models.

Things like commitment, self-sacrifice and even showing up on time are skills that anyone would be able to use and, if they’re shown to children at a young age, can help them to grow into responsible, caring and socially able adults. Research has shown that children who are given the opportunity to play on team sports are the same that will call on internal motivation sources and show more initiative to get things done than children who don’t.

Interestingly enough, research in the UK has showed that not only children benefit from playing on team sports but their parents as well. It was found that while their children were out on the field making friends and learning how to work together, their mothers and fathers were doing basically the same thing on the sidelines. Of course there are the exceptions to the rule but for the most part parents will benefit from their child’s involvement in team sports almost as much as their child.

Team sports can also show a child what it means to take pride in accomplishments that they might not have achieved on their own and also increases and helps them to communicate with other children and with adults. Indeed, many parent/child relationships that were once strained can be repaired and strengthened through the ability to be able to talk about something that both have in common, their favorite sport.

Even team sports that focus more on an individual’s abilities and only have one ‘winner’ can be valuable, for example, swimming for a swim team or being part of a bicycling team. Even though there is usually only one person who comes in ‘first’, these type of team sports still afford your child the opportunity to form strong relationships with others of their own age that have the same goals.

In the end, to steal from a famous quote,  it’s not whether your child wins or loses, it’s how they play the game. Even a child who plays for a losing team can gain a lot of valuable life lessons about sportsmanship, honor, respect and dedication. In today’s world of dwindling values anything that can provide these valuable influences for your child has to be considered a good thing

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