Against a backdrop of increasing childhood obesity, the physical benefits of sports participation are clear. Kids today need to move more, and being on a team or involved in a sport is a great way to stay healthy. But there’s also been more discussion of the physical risks that children face in sports, and with good reason. As a nation, we are coming to terms with the epidemic of knee (soccer and track), shoulder (tennis and baseball), and head (football) injuries related to specific sports. What’s talked about less often are the psychological risks and benefits related to youth sports.
While teaching “Sociology of Sport” at Northwestern University (a Big 10, Division 1 school), I did the research and heard from hundreds of students. Here are six risks and six benefits that parents of athletes of all ages should consider as they help their kids navigate the world of sport.
6 Psychological Risks of Youth Sports
6 Psychological Benefits of Youth Sports
As parents, we should all be aware of the psychological risks that come with sport participation while reinforcing the positives. Sports are supposed to be fun. When it stops being fun and has the potential to hurt your child, it’s time to shift gears and reevaluate. However, if your young athlete is having fun, the rewards can last a lifetime.