There are many good reasons for kids to participate in sports, such as improving physical health and learning discipline. But research shows that team sports have especially powerful benefits.

Here are the top 5 reasons why team sports greatly benefit kids:

1. Getting along with others. Being on a team means working together. This can help kids get along with peers they may not otherwise become friends with or even like. In addition, kids have the opportunity to get close with kids who are from different cultures and backgrounds—teaching them acceptance. These lessons will be particularly helpful as they grow up and encounter people who are different from themselves.

2. Learning respect. Being on a team means respecting the coach as well as fellow team members. By seeing the strengths of each individual, kids will learn to appreciate and respect others’ talents.

3. Humility. Some kids may have the tendency to think they’re the very best at their sport. But team sports will teach them that they can’t always be the star of the show and that their teammates also have impressive abilities. Since everyone wins when the team wins, they’ll be happy for others’ successes as they contributed to the victory.

4. Responsibility. Unlike individual athletics, kids are depended upon by their coach and teammates. Even if they feel like playing video games that day, kids know that if they don’t attend a practice or game, they’re letting their team down.

5. Self-esteem. As kids improve and make contributions to the team, they will start gaining more self-confidence. Maybe they were once afraid to bring the ball up the field, but they gradually learn that they have the skills to make that awesome play. Increasing self-esteem can be especially important for girls, as they are bombarded with messages to be thin and pretty, which can be very damaging. Team sports help them understand that their value is more than just looks.

While many kids play sports on their school teams, homeschooled students and kids in online schools also have opportunities to participate in team sports. Learn more here.

Image credit: susieq3c / CC BY 2.0

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