5 Unexpected Benefits of Playing Youth Sports at the Y
Last updated: January 9, 2024, at 7:51 a.m. PT
Originally published: February 8, 2019, at 4:29 p.m. PT
Youth sports at the Y do more for kids than just learning sports skills. From social and emotional development to creating a lifelong fitness habit, kids who play youth sports get a head start on life.
Whether it’s basketball, soccer, volleyball, t-ball, or martial arts, the benefits are plentiful. Here are some of the unexpected perks of being a young athlete:
1. Develop Self-Esteem
A high-five, pat on the back, thumbs up, or even a nod of approval – these simple gestures can help build confidence in kids. As kids get positive reinforcement from teammates and coaches, they learn to offer that same kind of enforcement to themselves and others. Kids also develop self-confidence the more they learn about themselves and their abilities through the process of learning and practicing new skills.
2. Healthy Habits for Life
When kids play sports, they probably don’t even realize how much healthier they are becoming. By getting the recommended daily amount of play and exercise, they are building cardiovascular and muscular strength, plus making healthy habits that last a lifetime.
3. Youth Sports Make Future Leaders
While team sports require team effort, kids still learn about leadership. They learn responsibility as they recognize the vital roles they play on their team. Leadership isn’t always about who is the best or on top—leadership is about being accountable for your actions and being a role model for sportsmanship.
It seems pretty obvious, but the ability to work well with others is a skill that youth athletes will learn playing sports and will bring with them throughout their entire lives. It will prove to be beneficial when they work with others as they grow older.
5. Young Athletes Perform Better in the Classroom
Youth athletes have been observed to be better students. Through sports, kids learn about time management and discipline. Teammates often support each other on and off the field, helping one another keep track of schedules and academic responsibilities.