Team Sports Promotes Better Child Development

Developing positive life skills through athletics

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Most all parents hope their children will develop and grow into outstanding adults with exceptional skills. Sports may be able to help with that aspiration - especially team sports.

Team sports can help enhance your child's development under the right conditions. Experts say better team sport experiences lead to better child development.

"Don't push kids too hard; let them enjoy the fun of sports they play."

Jean Cote, Ph.D., head of the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies and a youth sport and coaching expert from Queen's University, found that children between the ages of 9 and 19 benefit the most from sports environments. The greatest benefits are seen when coaches provided social gatherings outside of sports and promoted equality among teammates.

Children who are involved in a cohesive team environment where kids are not comparing themselves to others and are being challenged, have more positive developmental experiences. These positive experiences can affect life-long personal and social skills.

Children who were not pushed to their peaks showed more initiative and motivation that can last a lifetime. Children who are involved in individual sports like gymnastics or diving tended to have more structured coaching, which lead to higher rates of drop out and injury. It was rare for children to continue or enjoy the sport under these circumstances.

Soccer, baseball and hockey are team sports that tend to provide more positive development for children because they don't require children to specialize early. Kids are more likely to continue and develop into the best athletes they can be.

Cote explains that kids who are happy and passionate about what they're doing are more likely to stay involved and develop their skills on their own.

"Both team and individual sports offer youngsters the chance to pursue their athletic passion. Having a goal and having that goal be meaningful to the child allows them to invest in themself as an athlete. Reaching for a high level of accomplishment absorbs time for training and competition that keeps children on a positive pathway," Jack Newman, the head coach and C.E.O of Austin Tennis Academy, says.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 26, 2011
Last Updated:
July 26, 2011