Research shows exactly why young athletes should stay in sports.
That’s the word from Paul Caccamo, the Harvard-educated executive director of Up2Us, a national coalition of community sports programs that teaches young athletes life lessons.
“Sports are more than a game; they are a set of life lessons. Kids growing up without them are really disadvantaged,” he says.
The statistics tell you all you need to know about the advantages of participating in athletics, says Caccamo, who received one of Harvard’s most prestigious graduate awards for innovation in social-service program design.
“Kids who participate in sports attend school more, are more community and civic minded, get in less trouble, and tend to be more successful in the workplace. They have done studies from corporate leaders in the country: The number who made honor role was less than 20% but those who played sports was 70% – 80%.”
Young athletes learn to work together, acquire leadership skills, get a sense of discipline and learn communication skills, Caccamo says. “All of these things are keys to success in the workplace.”
So how do you ensure your kids get all these benefits by staying in sports?
To understand why children and teens stay in sports, you have to understand why they drop out. The Number One reason: They’re not having any fun. Kids often join sports teams to be with friends and enjoy themselves, but at some point become overwhelmed by the pressure and the focus on winning.
To help ensure your kids stay in sports and enjoy the many benefits:
- Be sure to separate your dreams from your child’s. Sometimes parents have different ideas about what they want from their child’s sports experience. These ideas can undermine their child’s experience.
- Keep your expectations in check. Kids often take on your expectations as their own, and if they don’t achieve them, lose confidence.
- Help kids manage their own expectations. If a young athlete begins a basketball game expecting to score 24 points, he’s likely to feel frustrated and disappointed.
- Choose coaches and teams carefully. Be sure to interview potential coaches about their philosophy. It’s best, especially when children are younger, if coaches focus more on skill-building and on having fun than on winning.
We’ve got many more resources for ensuring your young athletes stay in sports and enjoy its many benefits at Kids Sports Psychology
Our resources include e-books written for both parents and young athletes, including:
- Ten Ways of Thinking That Hurt Kids’ Confidence (for sports kids)
- Post-Game Checklist for Parents: Boosting Kids’ Confidence
- Focus to the Max! (for sports kids)
You can also download audio and video programs that help you and your young athletes get the most out of taking part in youth sports. They include videos you can watch with your children and interviews with experts like Caccamo.
Become a member today and help your kids stay in sports and reap all the benefits of sports participation:
Patrick Cohn Ph.D. and Lisa Cohn
P.S. If you’re already a member and want to understand why it’s so important that kids have fun in sports, you might want to check out this article: