Playing sports at any level can be rewarding and fun. Children and adults alike can benefit from playing various kinds of sports. At the same time, there are also disadvantages that come with playing sports. You should weigh these advantages and disadvantages before you or your child commits to playing a sport.
The Benefit of Exercise
One of the best and most obvious advantages to playing sports is the exercise that you get from athletic activity. The benefits of exercise include improved heart health, weight loss, lower blood pressure and reduced body fat.
Most sports require physical conditioning, so you can see the benefits of exercise as you prepare for playing. You’ll also see benefits from the physical activity of the sport itself.
The Advantage of Teamwork
Another benefit to playing sports is the teamwork and camaraderie that you’ll experience interacting with others. There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment that goes along with achieving goals and reaching milestones as a team, and you can enjoy the new friendships you make as you play.
Sports activities bring people from diverse backgrounds together. You can learn from your teammates, and your teammates can discover new things about you.
Problem Solving and Communication
When you play sports, you can develop better communication and problem-solving skills. As a team, you and your teammates work together to accomplish objectives and overcome adversity, and the team has to make quick decisions to respond to different situations. The problem-solving and communication skills that you’ll develop playing sports can benefit you in every area of life.
Better Academic Skills
If your kids want to play sports, they can benefit academically. Some people might assume sports will take away from children’s academic performance due to the time demands of practice and games, but physically active kids can actually reap benefits in the classroom. Athletic activities engage kids’ brains because of the memorization, skill learning and repetition involved, and all of these factors can help kids perform better in school.
The Risk of Injury
One of the most obvious disadvantages to playing sports is the risk of injury. Injuries can be more than just an inconvenience; they can lead to lasting problems. Many injuries can take place during the course of a game. Collisions in contact sports can cause injuries, and falls can hurt you as well.
The repetitive motion of many athletic activities can lead to joint and muscle injuries. Failure to properly prepare and condition for a particular sport can cause athletes to get hurt as well.
Stress and Pressure
As fun as playing sports can be, it can be stressful as well. Many times the pressure that athletes experience is self-induced. You can be your own worst critic as an athlete, and it’s important to make sure that you’re not causing yourself too much stress by worrying about performance.
Sometimes the stress and pressure that go along with athletic activities can lead to lack of sleep. If you or your child is playing sports, be sure that a healthy, consistent sleep routine goes along with practice and game schedules.
It’s sometimes easy to overlook how playing sports can lead to poor sportsmanship, especially in children. Anger and sadness over losing a game can lead athletes to lash out or act ungraciously toward others. An unhealthy attitude about winning can manifest itself in taunting and other obnoxious behavior. It’s important to instill proper attitudes in both adult and child athletes.
Overbearing Coaches and Parents
Dealing with coaches and parents who are overbearing, unreasonable and rude is one of the most unfortunate disadvantages to playing sports. Coaches who demean athletes who underperform are difficult to deal with and can add pressure and stress. Parents who have unrealistic expectations for their own kids or other children can also create undue frustration.
It’s important as a parent or coach to manage the expectations you have for young athletes, and if you’re an adult athlete, it’s crucial that you control your reactions to coaches or spectators who act inappropriately.