Benefits of Team Sports for Kids

It’s no secret that participating in sport is hugely beneficial to children, however, what is less well appreciated, is the specific social and emotional benefits that apply to participating in team sports.

Australian children are spending ever more time on phones, tablets and computers, often at the expense of sport and physical exercise*.  As a result, today’s children are less fit than ever before.  Playing sport helps to increase bone, muscle and cardiovascular strength; maintain a healthy weight and results in reduced incidence of illness and disease.  Sport promotes happier kids as physical activity releases endorphins that are scientifically proven to reduce stress levels, promote better sleep and improve self-esteem. 

As well as physical benefits, participation in team sports such as netball offers a wide range of emotional wellbeing benefits.  Team sport helps with the development of emotional maturity.  Learning how to deal with defeat, and winning graciously, are valuable lessons learned through being part of a team. Accepting that things don’t always go to plan and managing your own, and your team mates’ disappointment is a big learning for kids and something that will serve them well in adulthood as they learn to deal with co-workers, bosses and other aspects of their professional and personal lives. Resilience is a value well learned through the highs and lows of sporting teams.

Being part of a team teaches our children about respecting and negotiating differing abilities and attitudes. Understanding that it is not okay to show frustration when team mates make mistakes, act differently or are a little less skilled than others is an important learning. Team sport offers offers children the chance to learn self-discipline, patience and respect for rules, opponents, team mates and officials.

Playing team sport team can be beneficial to children who are shy or lack confidence in social situations.  By being part of a team they can develop a social support network of peers, parents and other authority figures and lessen feelings of social isolation. Having a support structure and a network of friends, trusted adults and supporters is hugely important for children and developing confidence to interact within a supportive environment can encourage shy children to be more outgoing.

Communication skills can be greatly enhanced through being part of a team.  Understanding how to speak up and share opinions, how to respect the opinions of others and when it is appropriate to stay quiet and listen are all important skills learned through being part of a team.  Further, understanding how to read nonverbal cues and have an appreciation of one’s own body language and how it may be interpreted can also be developed as a result of team participation.

Waverley Meadows Netball Club is a supportive, community based club that understands that there’s much more to netball and team sport in general than what happens on court. Our committed team of volunteers work hard to provide a club environment that embraces all the benefits that team sport has to offer.  To learn more about our Club and how you can “Be Part of Something Great”, please visit our website www.wmnc.com.au or email waverleymeadowsnc@yahoo.com.au

*  http://data.growingupinaustralia.gov.au/pubs/asr/2015/asr2015e.pdf

Meirav Dulberg