How Kids Win When They Participate in Sports

We can think of a long list of reasons why kids need more opportunities to be physically active.

Moving and playing helps them stay happy and healthy, channeling their energy in a positive direction, and building their social skills and self-confidence.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing trends in youth sports and play move in the wrong direction. According to State of Play 2017, research from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association and the Aspen Institute:

  • The number of kids ages 6 to 12 who play team sports on a regular basis is declining – 36.9% in 2016, down from 41.5% in 2011
  • The percentage of kids who are considered active to a healthy level is also going down – 24.8% in 2016, compared to 28.7% in 2011

But there’s some good news as well. State of Play reported:

  • The percentage of kids who were completely inactive decreased from 18.8% in 2011 to 17.9% in 2016
  • Good coaches make a big difference, lowering kids’ anxiety levels and boosting their self-esteem. One study found that 5% of kids who played for trained coaches quit the sport the next year, while 26% quit otherwise.
  • Organizations around the country are doing work to help children – regardless of ability, location or demographic – to stay active through free play, local sports leagues, and other opportunities

We’re encouraged by these hopeful updates, and we’re happy to play a small role in helping kids fall in love with sports.

Here are just a few of the benefits of youth sports participation:

  • Staying physically fit

Sports help kids build healthy muscles, joints, and bones, as well as prevent chronic diseases and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Making fitness a priority for life

Children and adolescents who exercise regularly are more likely to be physically active throughout their entire lives.

  • Improving behavior and performance in school

Sports help kids develop their cognitive skills, and physical activity is associated with better grades, test scores, concentration and classroom behavior.

  • Boosting personal development

Physical activity can have positive effects on self-esteem, leadership, and goal-setting skills. Student athletes are also less likely to participate in risky behaviors, like drug use, smoking, and unsafe sex.

  • Maintaining good mental health

Among teenagers, research has found a correlation between regular exercise and better mental health.

We strongly believe that all children deserve the chance to participate in sports – and that they’ll reap lifelong benefits if they do.

Learn more about the Swim Thru Life philosophy of Tom Dolan Swim School