The Importance of Sports in Shaping a Child’s Character (and Defining His Success) -

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The Importance of Sports in Shaping a Child’s Character (and Defining His Success)

These days, there seems to be higher regard for degrees and academics. There is nothing wrong with that except it leaves other equally essential things underrated or ignored. These may be just as necessary for developing the right personality and traits that will translate into success later in life.

Here are the best reasons why competitive play is essential in building a child’s character:

1. Socialization

Loneliness is one of the biggest issues among teens these days. According to World Health Organization (WHO), at least 10 percent of children and teens suffer from mental disorders. These include depression. Meanwhile, more than 85 percent of teens who died due to suicide have some form of mental illness.

The question is why. A San Diego State University study may help shed some light. According to the research, adolescents who spend more time with their mobile devices are less likely to be happy than the teens who engaged in sports.

Although the research did not establish the cause and effect, other types of literature can support these findings.

One of these is the study by Oregon Health & Science University. Published in 2015, the research drew a comparison between face-to-face communication and non-personal options such as emails and phone calls.

The results suggested that those who had fewer face-to-face contacts had twice the risk of developing depression within two years of follow-up. Within the same period, participants who saw their friends and family thrice weekly had the lowest depressive symptom levels.

Socialization is also fundamental skill children need to learn. Kids are born egotistical. It means they believe the world revolves around them – but it is not their fault. After all, they receive a lot of attention, love, and nurturing from responsible and caring parents.

Children, however, at some point have to learn to mingle and socialize as they will have to deal with different types of people as they grow older. In the process, they learn how to cultivate empathy, care, respect, and teamwork, which are soft skills necessary to succeed in the future.

2. Critical Thinking

Many children believe that the ticket to landing a job is having excellent grades and finishing a degree. That is just half of what it takes to get hired. The other half involves the soft skills, especially critical thinking.

About two to three years ago, LinkedIn identified the top 40 companies that attract job candidates. Only three of the first twenty were not in the tech industry. As expected, the primary requirement is tech knowledge, but it is just scratching the surface.

Going deeper, one realizes what these businesses need is the ability to solve problems and think critically. This is because technology is becoming more complex in terms of design and use.

Sports or athletics can improve critical thinking in different ways. For one, it allows the children to be involved in creating strategies. These techniques are not only meant to win but to reduce the challenges that can prevent them from winning. As problems can arise at any point during the game, the players are also compelled to think on their toes. Sports train them to create scenarios and pick the best decision in only a very short amount of time.

A Stanford University researcher also said that children who learn to talk about sports tend to develop their skills of having complex but intelligent discussions and arguments.

3. Grit

There is no doubt that sports teach kids about mental toughness, but not a lot understand its impact during adulthood. In a study found in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, people who try hard not to fail are more likely to experience it. This is because they tend to lose sight of the goal or the learning they can get from the results.

Children who experience failure also become resilient and are less fearful to explore opportunities and maximize their potential.

It does not matter whether you’re training your kids to be athletes. Letting him be engaged even in one type of sport or competitive play is enough to get him towards the right path to success. After all, you’re giving him the avenue to develop the right skills to thrive in adulthood.