The Benefits of Participation in Sports For Kids
Popular coach Billy Zufall is serious about ensuring sports participation teaches kids critical skills that they can transfer to other areas of their lives.
In fact, that’s one of his main goals as director of coaching for the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams at Highland High School. It’s likely one of the reasons he won the Medina County Coach of the Year for three years in a row.
Why do we at Kids’ Sports Psychology think this topic is so important? We believe that when kids learn mental game skills in sports, they benefit in most other areas of their lives. That’s a huge plus.
What are the skills we’re talking about and how can parents and coaches ensure kids acquire them?
Zufall has lots to say about this. So do we.
At Highland High School, Zufall has found that sports kids learn time-management and team-building skills and have learned how to intertwine their individual goals with team goals. They also learn how to focus for long periods of time. In fact, many of his players have earned all-academic team awards.
“These skills help them quite a bit outside of soccer as far as academically. This is important, because, as we all know, our athletic careers are short compared to the rest of lives,” he says.
Parents play a huge role in ensuring kids acquire these skills, he says. For example, many of the parents he works with block out time during the day to check in with their sports kids and ensure they’re learning the life skills they need to learn.
“They say, ‘This is what we’ve done throughout the day, are we prepared for tomorrow?’ This helps kids prepare for the next day or so,” he says.
Being prepared helps young athletes feel more confident in sports—and that boosts their confidence academically, as well.
For Zufall, one of the toughest skills for many kids is learning to pay attention to detail. That’s where sports play a huge role, he says.
“The more they pay attention to details, the more successful they are,” he says.
For example, the kids who pay attention to details know how to warm up and cool down properly and are less likely to sustain injuries.
They have the mental toughness to hang in through a long and grueling season, he says. Coaches who provide regular feedback help sports kids learn how to focus on important details, he adds.
“The mental preparation involved in soccer transfers over to life,” he says. “Kids are better able to understand what teachers are asking them, and how to prepare and execute.”
If you’d like to learn more about how to help kids learn mental game skills in sports that help them succeed in other areas of their lives, visit:
Kids’ Sports Psychology
You’ll find articles, e-books, audios and videos—all designed to help you become a better sports parent and help your athletes make the most of their talents!
For example, to help your sports kids learn about preparing well:
- The e-book, “Using ‘Get Ready’ or Pregame Routines,” written specifically for young athletes
- Pre-competition Mental Game Review Sheets–for young athletes
- Mental Game Plan Summary–for sports parents and coaches
- You’ll find many more resources–all designed to help your young athletes make the most of their talent and reap all the important benefits of playing sports.
How do sports parents view our programs? Here’s an email that came across our desk today:
“Hi LISA and PAT! I think you guys are the best. You are really doing a wonderful job.”
~Oral, sports dad
Help your kids get the most of their sports experience. Visit Kids’ Sports Psychology and take a free tour:
Kids’ Sports Psychology
P.S. If you are a Kids’ Sports Psychology member, go here to listen to our interview with Zufall:
Expert Interview with Billy Zufall
Help Your Young Athletes Improve Focus In Sports!
Are your young athletes easily distracted by people shouting on the sidelines? Do they obsess over their mistakes? Do they worry about what people think of them?
These issues will cause their concentration and performance to suffer!
The Focused Sports Kid helps kids overcome distractions that can hurt their performance in sports.
This is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to discover secrets to helping young athletes improve focus and concentration!
The Focused Sports Kid program is actually two programs: one for sports parents/coaches that provides mental game tips especially designed for parents and coaches, and for young athletes, ages 8 to 12, that will walk them through 7 simple lessons in mental focus in sports.
What are parents and coaches saying?
“I read your report and prepared a one-page summary for my team. I asked the team to attend a 10am training session on Saturday before the final on Sunday. (I told parents) they must obtain the one-page summary handout from me and ask a parent to read it to them until they understood what it meant…My boys succeeded! We beat a team that no one could beat during the year, that was coached by a former professional player that had sons of former Professional players in the team and as a result of believing in themselves, they won. In my humble opinion , I look beyond the game and hope the kids have learned a lesson in life that you really can do almost anything if you put your mind to it. We salute you and the wonderful work you do.”
~Anthony (Tony) Costa, coach
“We just completed the first ten tips, it has helped tremendously for (our daughter) and us. We’ve learned to keep our behavior and comments in check. She’s letting mistakes happen and not worrying about them, she’s now just moves on to the next play with the same attitude as before the mistakes. She’s playing more aggressively all game. Her coach even mentioned that whatever we are doing, keep doing because it’s working.”
~Scott, Sports Dad
Help Young Athletes Overcome Perfectionist Challenges in Sports!
Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma: Helping Young Athletes Kick Perfectionism And Fear of Failure will walk you through the problem and arm you with practical solutions.
The Sports Parents’ Top Dilemma is a two part program. It includes:
- A 23 page E-book that identifies the challenge, explains why it is harmful to young athletes and gives step-by-stop sports psychology tips for helping kids.
- A 21 page kids’ sports psychology workbook that is intended to help you kids identify beliefs and expectations that are the root of perfectionism.
Now you can learn how to help young athletes overcome the difficult cycle of perfectionism, fear of failure and loss of confidence!
What are parents saying?
“My wife and I immediately applied your tips and luckily we got a fast response. Our 16-year-old daughter reads like a case study for lack of confidence. She matches the profile your e-book describes: high technical ability and successful in soccer practice but looks like she forgets how to play in games!”
~Glenn G. New Jersey
“After listening to a couple of your podcasts and reading your “10 tips to confidence in youth sports,” most of the challenges you make note of apply to my 14-year-old son. He’s got all the physical ability, but the more mistakes he makes, the worse it seems to get. So reading and listening to your information has been so helpful and validates what I have observed in him for the past few months. Thank you so much!”
~Brenda Felder, Everett, WA