Kids and Sport

SPORT is HEALTH. This statement is very common in the community. This statement also shows that people believe well about sport in which it can make people health. And how about sport for kids?
Actually, sports can boost kid’s health, body image and social skills. But parent also must aware of the injuries: to kid’s shins, to bank balance and, sometimes, to kid’s self-esteem when she just can’t connect with the ball/puck/sensei.

It has been estimated that 22 million children and youth, ages 6 to 18, are involved in organized sports outside of school (Poinsett, 1996). Research indicates that participation in sports can promote healthy development. According to the American Sport Education Program (1994), sports participation:

  • Builds an appreciation of personal health and fitness;
  • Develops a positive self-image;
  • Teaches how to work as part of a team;
  • Develops social skills with other children and adults (such as taking turns and sharing playing time);
  • Teaches both how to manage success and disappointment; and,
  • Teaches how to respect others.

In order to better understand these benefits, much of the research on youth sports has examined how sports enhance aspects of children’s social development. Specifically, studies have examined how sports contribute to the development of social competence—the ability to get along with and be accepted by peers, family members, teachers, and coaches; and, self-esteem—the extent to which an individual believes him/herself to be capable, significant, successful, and worthy (Ewing, 1997).

According to the findings, children learn to assess their social competence in sports through the feedback received from parents and coaches (Ewing, 1997). Self-esteem, on the other hand, is developed through both evaluation of one’s own abilities as well as evaluation of the responses received from others. Children actively observe parents’ and coaches’ responses to their performances by looking for signs (often nonverbal) of approval or disapproval of their behavior. Lack of feedback and criticism is often interpreted as a negative response to the behavior.

Because children often use social comparison as a way of determining their ability in sport, participation in youth sports activities provides children with many opportunities to determine their ability compared with others on their team (Ewing, 1997). Unfortunately, given the influence of other factors such as maturation and previous knowledge of a sport on one’s ability to perform a sport skill, children often reach incorrect conclusions about their abilities. Thus, the role of parents and coaches is significant in helping children interpret their strengths and weaknesses in a sport.