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The Importance of Sports in Kids’ Lives

Sports are an important part of kids’ lives, not just for physical fitness, but for team building and social skills as well.

We all know that sports keep children active. Active children lead healthier lifestyles, as sports keep them moving, burning calories and give kids an option other than sitting in front of a screen. There’s no question that involving kids in sports from an early age is beneficial, but it can help in more ways than the physical.

The Y, a leading nonprofit focused on youth development and healthy living, encourages healthy physical activity in children of all ages. Sports keep kids out of trouble, help them burn energy, and help them build confidence.

“As a kid playing sports, I learned The Three “Ps”,” said Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA Sports Director, Emily Hudak. “We learned that being part of a sports team requires the three “Ps”… practice, patience, and persistence. The three “Ps” translate into important life lessons you will find useful throughout life. Sports were also a great way to spend time with my family growing up,” said Hudak.

We see many volunteer parent coaches in all of our sports. Bill and Karen Corbett are an example, and when asked, Karen Corbett said that they feel it is important to coach their kids’ teams because they want to make sure it’s done properly and that everyone on the team is having fun and learning. The Corbett kids, Chloe, Carter and Caroline, all play sports at the Y.

“Sports are huge,” said Corbett. “It’s so important to learn to work together and support each other in a safe team environment, from a young age. The program at the Y under Emily Hudak is awesome, she has really taken it to a different level. It’s nicer, larger, and more organized. My kids love playing sports at the Y,” says Corbett.

Childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are between 16 and 33 percent, according to the American Academy of Adolescent & Child Psychiatry as of August 2010. In Marblehead, 23.3% of children, male and female, are overweight or obese, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Playing sports could be seen as a means to help maintain a healthy weight as a child. Sports for children can facilitate friendships, social skills and self-esteem, as well as teach lessons about teamwork and sportsmanship.

“Life is all about getting along with others,” says Corbett. “By the time the kids started at new schools, they knew so many other children in their grade because they played sports. Everyone on a sports team has varying degrees of talent, and all the kids support one another equally and help each other to do better,” said Corbett.

The American Academy of Adolescent & Child Psychiatry notes that a positive experience with sports as a young child can have lasting effects that will help make for a more well-rounded, well-adjusted adult. Lessons learned early on shape values and behaviors they carry into adulthood.

Children can also bond with a parent through sports, which helps maintain a close relationship and be a shared interest. At the Y, we always welcome volunteer parent coaches for our sports.

The Y has new programs starting up just around the corner for all ages! If you are interested in getting your child started in sports, contact Emily Hudak, Sports Director, at 781-990-7044 or email hudake@northshoreymca.org.

For a full listing of sports classes and teams, see our current program guide, and to register click here.

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