Kids, teens and adolescents have a regular routine of going to school, tuitions, homework, watching TV, playing on computer and there the day ends. We hardly watch teenagers playing some sport in the building, playgrounds or in clubs. Few years ago, free time was equal to playing sport or getting engaged in any extracurricular activity that one liked and enjoyed. However, now the concept of free time gets occupied by malls, fast food centers and coffee shops where we see most of the teenagers binging on pizzas, burgers, fries and so on. We see grounds empty where only elderly people are busy keeping themselves fit or very young kids, who are still away from the academic pressures and expectations, playing freely.
Most of the parents have certain misconceptions about their teens getting engaged in sporting activity:
- Sport tends to distract kids from their academics and it affects their concentration level.
- Engaging in sport eats up a lot of time and kids do not get time for their academics. Also, kids become poor in time management.
- Sport makes them tired and they are unable to concentrate on studies later.
- Participation in sport does not have long term benefits.
Now let’s see the facts:
- The most important psychological skill necessary for sport is concentration. Unless you are completely focused in your game, you will not get the results. Research says that kids who are involved in sports have better concentration level that those who are not.
- Kids who are in sports learn better time management skills as they are aware that they get limited time for their academics and cannot afford to procrastinate.
- All of us know that kids do not study round the clock. In fact, they tend to waste more time if more time is available. Sports offer children a change from the monotony of their daily life that has a positive impact on their academics. Sport participation improves blood circulation and physical well-being, which makes kids more alert and high on concentration.
- Sports participation helps in overall personality development.
Advantages of sports participation:
A lot can be learnt from games other than the obvious physical benefits..
Physical and social skills: Sport enhances children’s physical growth. The recreational activities eliminate the unhealthy habits of the children that may lead them to diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, joint pain, strokes and other serious diseases.
Research shows that physical activity, and sports in particular, can positively affect aspects of personal development among young people, such as self-esteem, goal-setting, and leadership.
Psychological skills: Sports promote many values which can be used to mould children into better and stronger human beings. Discipline, team spirit, strategizing, crisis management and resilience are just some of the principles that can be garnered from normal sports participation.
Physical activity is associated with improved academic achievement, including grades and test scores. It can affect cognitive skills, attitudes and academic behavior, including enhanced concentration, attention, and improved classroom behavior.
However, in India, we as parents still ignore these benefits of sport participation and fail to tap the inherent talent in our kids. Most of the times, the kids are either stopped from participating or are made to exit sport early in life. Hence, it’s time we woke up and realized the advantages of being in sport rather than allowing our kids to turn into couch potatoes!