When the snow melts, trees regain green canopies, and daylight extends evenings, millions of young boys and girls flood schoolyards, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds to begin a new season of youth sports. Surveys indicate that almost 70% of children between the ages of 6 and 12 participate in organized sports. This annual migration to athletic fields is a good thing because according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, sports help children exercise, make friends, have fun, learn to play as a member of a team, learn to play fair, and improve self-esteem.
“Sports is one of few places in a child’s life where a parent can say, ‘This is your thing,’” Rob Miller of Proactive Coaching LLC says. “Athletics is one of the best ways for young people to take risks and deal with failure because the consequences aren’t fatal, and they aren’t permanent. We’re talking about a game. So they usually don’t want or need a parent to rescue them when something goes wrong.”