Jacksonville Kids' Directory Blog
The Pros and Cons of Having Your Children Participate in Organized Sports
Today the question of whether or not to permit children to participate in organized sports troubles many parents. Like so many dilemmas in life, this issue offers both cons and pros.
First, it may prove useful to examine the negative aspects of organized sporting events. Public opinion largely favors encouraging participation in athletics. Yet some parents do harbor legitimate reservations about structured physical activities:
Potential Physical Dangers
Every sport potentially involves engaging in some physically hazardous activities. Whether the risk concerns slipping on an ice rink during skating practice, falling off a gymnastic beam or enduring damaging collisions on the football field, every year participants in organized sporting events suffer painful (and sometimes life threatening) mishaps.
Any activity involving children potentially involves risks posed by child sex predators. Some sex offenders enter occupations (such as teaching) in which they will obtain frequent close physical contact with young people. Organized sports involving teams traveling to a variety of locations as a group may lead to dangerous situations for youngsters in the absence of close, responsible parental supervision. Sadly, recent headlines from sports ranging from soccer to gymnastics testify to the ongoing nature of this problem in modern society.
Extensive Time Commitment
Yet another potential negative of allowing a child to engage in organized sports may involve time taken away from other, important family, religious or scholastic activities. Young athletes often expend hours developing the skills required to excel in various sports. They may neglect other important activities.
Counterbalancing these negatives, participation in youth sporting events also offers many positives. Experts can point to these benefits:
By regularly engaging in sports, young people can enjoy many physical benefits. These advantages may include the development of improved strength and coordination, weight loss and better endurance. Although different athletic activities sometimes emphasize the development of specific muscle groups or skills, the overall benefits of cultivating a physically active lifestyle may endure throughout a lifetime.
Social Cooperation Skills
Group sports require the development of team spirit and cooperation. By participating in a group effort, young people may learn to cooperate and make sacrifices on behalf of a shared goal. This process may enhance a child's social skills significantly.
Many youngsters obtain improved self-esteem through their participation in team sports. Since coaches usually emphasize group cooperation, a child may gain an enhanced sense of acceptance and inclusion by becoming a member of a team. Sporting events offer participants the chance to obtain public acknowledgement and approval, and this acclaim may translate into enhanced self-confidence and poise later in life.
An Individual Decision
Children possess unique abilities and needs. Parents may resolve the issue of whether or not to allow a youngster to participate in organized sports on an individual basis. The child's health, the sport and the youth program may all prove important.