As children grow, they learn from their environment around them, whether they experience good or bad things, psychologically the experiences stay with them.
Research shows that sport is an ideal activity for children’s well-being, not just physically, but mentally also.
There are many things to consider from this perspective, and what the psychological benefits of sports to children.
Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.— James A. Baldwin - American novelist
Sport is an ideal opportunity for children (regardless of age), to make friends. The team spirit that comes along with engaging in sport will allow children to bond over common ground. They can feel unity and the power of synchronising energy as they are playing for the same team with one common goal to win! Even if the sport is not a competitive sport, one that is more gentle also allows the opportunity to bond with peers.
For a shy or reserved child the chance to engage in a sport can really help to ‘bring them out of their shell,’ as the saying goes. This will have a positive impact on how they view themselves, their abilities and mental self-esteem. A sense of ‘I can do this’ will be installed in them, leading to a more positive self-loving attitude, rather than a harsh critique of their capabilities. The sense of achievement once a skill has been mastered via a sport will lead them to want to reach the next level, with a positive can-do attitude.
Learning The Impact of The Emotions and Actions
Research by Psychology Today suggests that at the top of the Prime Sport Pyramid sits emotions, due to how humans respond while under pressure in competition. In addition, their study suggests that negative emotions can be harmful mentally. In relation to children playing sport, sport can help them to control their emotions (especially negative ones) when tension is high during competition. This is an excellent life-long skill to learn from a young age, which they will benefit as adults.
Ability to Think Ahead
Further research by Psychology Today into the psychological benefits of sports for children, suggests that participation in sport can also help children to develop key skills that could set them up for success in the world of work. For example, a child that participates in sport at a higher intensity rate than a child that hardly participates, is more likely to have the ability to think ahead, it has been suggested. Commitment to a sport will require thinking about the sport, how to improve, anticipating a competitor’s move, analysing strengths and weaknesses, what could have been done differently etc. This kind of analytical thinking is a skill that can extend into other areas of life academically in the classroom, and as adults.
There is no I in team
Participation in sports requires children to learn how to work together, to be one strong vessel and achieve together. Essentially they learn ‘there is no I in team.’ Learning the value of joint effort will allow children to evaluate themselves and what they are good at, or what they could add to make a team stronger. Here, again they will experience an increase in self-love as well as learn when to take the lead in a team, when to step back and what part they can play in order to achieve the same goal of doing well.
Ability to Bounce Back and How To Lose
It’s guaranteed that not all competitive games a child takes part in they will be on the winning team. However, a loss can help children to develop resilience and the ability to bounce back from not achieving, or things not working out how they planned. This is excellent for a child’s psychology. If a child can understand both emotionally and mentally what loss feels like, and then process it in a positive way, their mental maturity will increase.
You win some, you lose some
While the aim of competitive sport is to win, ultimately in reality ‘You win some, you lose some.’ Understanding this concept and possibility even after a child has performed to their very best allows strength in character, growth in their sports skills and reflection on what they could have done better. All round this leads to a positive mental experience rather than feeling they were never good enough.