This year my daughter, Maia joined the Steve Nash Basketball League. After a number of years playing baseball, which doesn’t require much running and soccer, where she played in goal a lot, I was thrilled that she was wanting to play a sport that required more extensive cardio. When I learned that she would be playing on a team with mostly boys I was concerned about how much she would like it. Like her father, she was not born with much in the way of “natural” athletic talent so I was wondering how her confidence would be affected. Everything both of us have ever accomplished in sports has been earned through practice and determination coupled with an acceptance that it’s okay not to be the best kid on the team. I’ve always told her, as long as you bust your butt and contribute in the best way you know how, you have fulfilled you part as a teammate.
Along with so many others, I believe that playing team sports as a child is one of the most crucial life experience building blocks that you could ever provide your child with. Now I am not a doctor or psychologist but here is a list of reasons why you should make team sports part of your child’s life.
- Playing sports is fun. It allows your child to work with a group of their peers towards a common goal and gives them something enjoyable to look forward to every week.
- Kids that play sports are more likely to have a positive body image, higher self-esteem and be more physically fit.
- Kids involved in sports are less likely to take drugs or smoke because they realize the impact that these destructive activities can have upon their performance.
- Physical activities are a good way to relieve stress and reduce depression.
- Sports help kids develop discipline. They learn to set goals and then work to achieve those goals. They learn that by working hard they can accomplish the things that they want to in their lives.
- Kids who play sports quickly learn that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. They learn to be a good sport in both situations. It also helps them learn to deal with disappointment and move on.
- A quick internet search tells me that, according to statistics, kids who are involved in sports while in high school are more likely to experience academic success and graduate from high school.
- Sports help develop teamwork and leadership skills. Kids quickly learn that they have to work together as a team to win the game.
- Motor skills, strategic thinking, endurance and even math skills are learned by playing sports. Math skills are used as they calculate scores and stats. (Just ask my 7 y.o. son what combination of football scores you need to get 46 points!)
- Regular exercise increases quality of life. A child who exercises is more likely to continue the practice into adulthood.
The team my daughter played for was extremely fortunate to be coached by two very talented individuals who both seem to enjoy every last minute they spent with the co-ed team of 12 year-olds. With their passion and knowledge of the game it quickly became clear to me that this was the best possible scenario for my daughter, as this was her first year playing basketball and she knew very little about the game. The husband and wife dynamic duo were super supportive and gave Maia the confidence she needed to compete. Every game she played in she got a little bit better and a little bit more confident. At the beginning of the season her skills were limited and she made many mistakes but she was busting her butt and giving 100% every game and that made me proud. She looked forward to every practice and game with amazing enthusiasm. As the season came to a close her abilities had improve substantially along with her confidence!!
Her team finished tied for first over all during the regular season with a 10-2 record. They then played a two game playoff and lost their first game in a thrilling overtime match-up that had all of the parents on the edge of their seats. Tonight was the final game and they won in convincing fashion, finishing 3rd in the league. For many of the kids this is it for the season but Maia was given an opportunity to continue on for another month with an all girls team and she jumped at it. This was music to my ears as it proves she wasn’t just in it for the boys! Thank you to Coach Mike and Coach Christine! You guys are awesome!