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August 16, 2023/Daily Health Stories

Health Benefits of Playing Youth Sports

Sports can be a great way for kids to stay active, but they also offer a lot of other benefits. A psychologist explains.


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CLEVELAND – Sports can be a great way for kids to stay active, but there are a lot of other benefits too.

For example, Matthew Sacco, PhD, psychologist with Cleveland Clinic, said sports can teach children about the importance of teamwork.

“You’re trying to figure out how to solve problems, how to work together, sometimes managing the frustrations that come with not everybody doing what you want, when you want them to do it,” said Dr. Sacco. “Managing whether your team is successful or not, dealing with loss.”

Besides that, sports can also help a child make new friends, build their confidence and learn responsibility.

However, that may not be the case for everyone.

Dr. Sacco said it really depends on your child’s personality.

If they have anxiety, they might not enjoy a sport where the coaches could be yelling or there’s a lot of pressure.

And speaking of pressure, he said if your child is trying a new sport for the first time, you may want to consider a rec league.

The seasons are generally shorter and most of the players have the same skill level, which can make it less intimidating.

“I would definitely start there because if you thrust a young person into a new sport and it’s not their thing and there are other pieces and parts to it that may not be working, then you are much more likely to face the challenge of a child wanting to quit prematurely,” he explained.

Dr. Sacco said if your child does join a new sport and decides they don’t like it, that’s okay.

There are plenty of other sports and activities out there.

He said it’s good for kids to try new things.

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