Sports Help Kids Gain Life Skills

Sports are a huge draw for American kids. At any given time, an estimated 21.5 million American students age 6 to 17 are involved in organized sports, according to a survey by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. If your child is involved in youth sports, then you know it can become a huge part of their identity—and yours.

Understandably, parents have a big emotional and financial investment in their child’s sports participation, according to F. Scott Handlon, business director, Indiana University Health Sports Performance & Sports Medicine Outreach. In his spare time, he is also president of the Avon Junior Athletic Association, where he helps navigate relationships between volunteer coaches and over 400 families.

“For parents who are living vicariously through their kids, things can get very emotional, very quickly—especially if they perceive their child isn’t receiving the same advantage as other kids,” he says. "It's important for coaches to communicate the right message upfront." When coaches and parents develop a positive relationship in the beginning, Handlon says kids can focus more on gaining life skills that are cultivated by sports, including:

  • Learning to compete in a healthy way
  • Becoming a good team player
  • Developing a work ethic
  • Knowing how to win and lose

In our next post, Handlon offers tips to help parents build a positive relationship with their child’s athletic coach. For more information about developing a positive approach to youth sports, or for questions regarding youth sports training and development, call Indiana University Health Sports Performance at 317.848.5867, or email us at sportsperformance@iuhealth.org. Visit our site for more information or education related to sports performance, psychology or nutrition.


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