Sports allows your kids to build balance and coordination, enhance their social skills and develop positive lifestyle habits that they will carry with them the rest of their lives. First and foremost, participation in sports keeps children active. This is especially important now that we live in an age in which digital devices seem to have taken the place of playtime.

Throughout my life, I’ve always been active as an athlete and love playing sports. As a Canadian, of course, hockey has long been one of my favorite pastimes. But there are many other options, including baseball, football, and basketball, and many others. Parents and coaches agree that practicing and playing sports not only helps kids on the field, but also off the field in life.

I think the obvious reason that playing one or more sports prepares you for life is because of how the experience helps you learn and appreciate teamwork and practice leadership. For example, a quarterback calls the plays to his teammates, while a manager in the business world delegates responsibilities to his or her employees. The skills learned while playing on a team will teach kids leadership lessons that they will be able to use when they are adults.

Playing sports also helps develop both the body and mind. We know that involvement in physical activities keeps kids physically healthy, but did you also know that it also contributes to their mental well-being?

A study by the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that young people who participated in team activities felt a stronger sense of optimism, more satisfaction with life and a feeling of belonging. These are all positive mood-enhancing benefits that will later help them as adults in the workplace. Also, when young people get into the habit of staying fit and active and maintaining a good mental state, the more likely they will be to continue this into adulthood.

Another reason, and quite possibly the most important reason why kids involved in sports have success later in life, is because it teaches them time management skills. In the workplace, a person can be highly intelligent and skilled at what they do, but if they don’t know how to properly manage their time, they may encounter problems.

Time management is a critical skill to have in today’s hectic business environment. It’s crucial to be able to prioritize tasks and reach goals, both independently and as part of (or while leading) a team. If a child learns to manage his or her time while young, he or she will be much better prepared to do this in the future when they have more responsibilities and demands.

These are just a few of the ways youth sports prepares people for the challenges of adult life. Want your child to stay healthy and fit, develop strong character and be as prepared as possible for success in life? Encourage him or her to play sports today. They will learn many valuable skills that will help them far beyond the playing field.

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