A Few Things We Can Learn From Kids Sports

I am sure, like me, you find something really enjoyable about watching children play. There is so much to love about the way children embrace the opportunities that sports present to them.

Obviously there are so many wonderful benefits in playing sports. The benefits of leading a healthy life are well known. Not only are the physical benefits abundant, there is also increasing volumes of research that would suggest that the benefits to the developing brain are equally important. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins that make people feel good about ‘being active’ but what may be understated are the developments that children make socially when they play. Clearly, children who play sports learn lessons that develop them on many levels.

Renowned Basketball coach John Wooden said: Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”

The next time that you watch your child playing sports you may recognize some of the following opportunities…

  • Sports allow children to enjoy the success of others. In a team environment, children learn to value the efforts and successes of others. They learn that sometimes this is just as enjoyable as their own development.
  • Sports allow you take a risk or be scared. Sometimes, physical challenges are a little frightening. Whether this is taking a tackle, facing a fast ball or needing to face a bigger opponent, it teaches children that they can face fears. And overcome them!
  • Pass it forward! – You can’t do everything on your own. Sometimes understanding when to “pass the ball” is the most important thing you can know. This applies to life!
  • Plan ahead – The best players in most games learn to think about where the ball is going rather than where it is. This develops a child’s capacity to think ahead and organize their thoughts and plans.
  • Try, try again – If you miss an opportunity, don’t despair. Another one is always coming if you’re ready and willing to embrace it!
  • Team First! – A cohesive team is greater than the sum of its parts. One of the best memories you can create for your child is allowing them the opportunity to succeed or fail in a team.
  • Believe in the power of people – Even when not everyone seems to be contributing, it’s important to remember that everyone can.
  • Have fun – Promoting the passion to play should be the number one aim of any sporting opportunity. Sometimes this is overlooked for a ‘result’. Take time to let children give a ‘high five’ or pat their mates on the back!
  • Get knocked over, take a breath, get up – Occasionally sports (or the opposition) knock you over. That’s okay! Simply brush yourself off and get back up again. Developing personal and team resilience is a great opportunity.
  • Support! – A good word, a kind smile, and an after-game handshake will go a long way toward making someone feel good.
  • Reflect and Grow – One of the golden moments of being involved with your child should be ‘the ride home’. Rather than give advice of what he could have done better, congratulate him on being involved. Perhaps you could share a cold drink or go out and share a meal? This could be a great opportunity for you to discuss all manner of topics including how proud you are of his efforts.

Troy McKinnon

Director of Co-curricular