For many parents the idea of extra-mural activities means exorbitant fees and driving endlessly – This may be partly true, but encouraging your child to play a team sport each season is an important part of growing up.
Most schools offer team sports as part of their educational package, and for many pupils these are the highlight of their school week. Being part of a team (no matter at what level) provides an important sense of belonging and identity. Children’s self-esteem is often built on acceptance into a group, and being a member of a team provides this.
The advantages of healthy exercise for a young, growing body are obvious, but there are far more underlying benefits of playing a team sport.
It teaches the skill of being organised, e.g. getting to all the practises on time, keeping fit, having the right kit packed and being organised to fit in your studying as well as your sport , are all valuable life skills.
Being a team player:
- A team situation nurtures the skills of learning to accept the strengths and weaknesses in others, as well as one’s own – and having to work together towards a common goal. Children recognise the importance of not only putting their trust in their team mates but also being
someone the rest of the team can count on!
- It demands unselfishness; the value of encouragement; the importance of facing challenges with a positive mind set and determination; the importance of self – discipline commitment; accountability and responsibility.
- Winning with humility or losing while retaining a sense of personal fulfilment and enjoyment. Disappointments are shared and so are the emotional highs and camaraderie of being part of a team.
- Leadership skills can only be developed where there are others to follow, while accepting the need to conform and follow at times, is also a vital skill.
- Lasting bonds and friendships are founded on the sportsfield.
With so many positive spinoffs, who can afford to not make the sacrifices to encourage your child to participate in team sports?
Nici Hilliar, Chelsea Preparatory School