young girls playing baseball

Should Your Child Play Sports? How Parents Can Prepare Them

  •  Playing sports provides physical, emotional, and social benefits, from improving physical abilities to teaching self-control and goal-setting.
  • Parents should ensure their children are prepared for the demands of playing sports by scheduling friendly practice, warm-up exercises, basic drills, and breaks.
  • Various safety measures should also be taken to protect children while they play, such as providing the necessary safety equipment and reinforcing safety protocols.
  • Kids should also be encouraged to find a sport they enjoy by trying different activities. This will help them gain new skills and experience a greater appreciation for physical activity.

Playing sports is integral to a child’s development, providing physical, emotional, and social benefits. Not only does it help develop their physical abilities such as agility, strength, endurance, and coordination, but playing sports also teaches teamwork, social skills, and even problem-solving abilities. It helps children learn the importance of discipline, self-control, and goal-setting, which can be applied to everyday life.

Regarding physical development, studies have shown that physically active children often perform better in school and have better physical health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children who play sports have a lower risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity later in life. Those same studies from the CDC found that those who engage in regular physical activity demonstrated higher concentration levels during school activities than their peers who did not participate in any sport or exercise routine. Additionally, those same students had higher self-esteem, which helped them perform better academically than those without regular exercise.

However, parents must ensure kids are ready to handle the physical demands of playing sports. A study by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) revealed that injuries were more common in kids who were unprepared for the physical demands of playing sports. To help prepare their kids, parents should follow these steps.

Schedule Friendly Practice

Parents practicing with kids

Like in any physical activity, kids must practice to get better and build up their skills. Parents should encourage them to engage in low-intensity practices before participating in competitive sports to help build their strength, agility, and coordination. Here are a few parts of the practice routine to ensure your kid improves enough to play sports.

Warm Up

Parents should also ensure that their kids warm up for at least 10 minutes before practice or playing a game. This is important as it helps condition the muscles, prepare the body for physical exertion and reduce the risk of injury.

Basic Drills and Techniques

Every sport requires different techniques, so it is essential to ensure kids are proficient in the basics of their chosen sport. This can be done through drills and exercises that build muscle memory and help them perfect their skills before playing competitively.

Scheduled Breaks

It is critical to stay hydrated during physical activity, especially outdoors, where heat can quickly sap the energy out of athletes. Always ensure your child has plenty of water when engaging in any sporting activity.

Fun Exercises

Kids must remain engaged in practice to perform well in youth sports. As a result, parents should change their routines from time to time. Visiting a slam dunk trampoline park can be a fun social bonding time and a good practice facility for basketball and other sports.

Drill Safety Awareness into Kid’s Minds

Kids wearing safety gear

Sports have so many benefits for kids that it can be challenging to question why kids are not playing often. However, it doesn’t mean that parents should relax the reinforcement of safety awareness. Parents must remind and train kids to practice safety, especially when kids are playing with their peers. Reminding them about the importance of being safe and taking away any potential risks is essential.

Parents are also responsible for investing in safety gear and equipment for their kids, like properly fitting helmets and padded gloves. The proper safety gear can help protect kids in an accident or injury. Those equipment will vary from sport to sport, but all should be factored into any decisions about playing sports.

Consider Kid’s Preferences

Sports can benefit a kid in many ways, but it won’t work if they don’t enjoy the sport. That’s why it is essential to consider a kid’s preferences and skills when deciding what sport they should play. It will ensure that kids are engaged and have fun while playing sports, maximizing their potential benefits.

Enrolling the child in different classes and sports activities can help them discover the sport they enjoy. Kids should also be open to trying other sports, as this could help them gain new skills, create opportunities for social interaction and develop a greater appreciation of the physical activity that comes with playing sports.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, it is up to parents to ensure their kids are ready for the physical demands of playing sports and make sure they receive all necessary safety equipment before any competition. By understanding how to prepare children for youth sports and respecting their preferences, parents can increase the chances of their child reaping maximum benefits from participating in sports.

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