Benefits of Community-Based Sports

Greg Hubbard
November 7, 2022

Youth sports has a been a fun developmental tool and normal part of growing up for generations. When we sign our children up for youth sports, we know physical activity is an important ingredient in their healthy development. We want the sports environment to boost their physical, mental, and social well-being. Positively affecting kid’s lives is more than just teaching them how to play a sport. It also means giving them, their coaches, and parents with the opportunity to connect with each other.

Despite the proliferation of youth sports options offering professional coaches, pathways, college recruitment and other enticements for your kindergartener, the tried-and-true community-based program may still be the best place to start. Your local parks and recreation department’s youth sports offerings will provide both you and your child more benefits than you might expect.

Improved family health. Regular physical activity at any age is vital for long-term health. Children who participate in youth sports have much lower risk of becoming overweight and community-based sports can help create a foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Community-based sports typically do not require specialization and you can follow the local sports calendar and participate in my different sports. In many cases, parents find a renewed interest in their own fitness. Youth sports also brings about a new line of communication within the family. It encourages positive conversation about a shared experience.  

Developing life skills. Youth sports bring a fun way to learn life-long lessons such as sportsmanship, time-management, and teamwork. Having the opportunity to fight for a common goal with a diverse group of players and coaches teaches players teamwork with effective communication to solve problems. This translates off the field when encountering problems at school or at home. They will also build self-esteem. Seeing their hard work pay off and achieving personal and team goals develops self-confidence. Achieving a sports goal encourages children to achieve other goals. They have the opportunity learn in a safe and less judgmental environment.  

Connect your community. Sporting events brings people together from the professional level down to community level. Rallying behind each other’s kids enhances everyone’s sense of community. Both players and parents can increase their peer social networks. Parents network with other people in their community, the players find new friends and mentors in their volunteer coaches. Games and practices act as regular meeting places for social interaction and provides opportunities to volunteer. When children observe parents volunteer, they can understand what it means to be a positive community contributor. This regular coming together of different sectors of your town with a common goal strengthens communities.  

Improved health and developing life skills should be part of any youth sports experience, but this level of community connection is unique to community-based sports. Parent involvement can be just as beneficial to them as it is to the players. Volunteering in your community allows you to be part of helping players develop life skills, with the added benefit of building your own new relationships.  

There are many different opportunities to help your child develop physically and mentally but community-based youth sports provide a unique opportunity for parents and children to connect with their community. When deciding where to start youth sports journey don’t overlook the fun, community, and volunteer aspects of your local recreation department’s youth sports programs.  

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