Competitive Sports are Great for Kids

Sports are an important part of many children’s lives. I play a competitive sport myself and could list off countless reasons of its benefits. One reason that competitive sports are beneficial for kids is that sports not only make children physically strong but also mentally strong. Kirk Mango, the author of Sports: The Benefits of Competitive Athletic Sports Participation in Today’s Sports Climate, says, “No matter how good an athlete becomes there will always be times when they “fail.” It is what one does after a failure, how they cope, that will determine future positive outcomes”. He means to say that, in sports, failure is always involved. When kids learn how to fail that is how they get stronger. The way that the child copes with the failure will improve their mindset and make them successful in the future. People learn more by failing rather than succeeding because failure tells them what’s blocking their path to success and when children learn to cope with and learn from these failures, that’s what makes them stronger.

Competitive sports help children develop positive coping skills which will help them in any area of their lives. Kirk Mango goes on to say, “Competitive athletes are involved in challenging situations where their level of perseverance and determination is tested. The hope is that athletes become stronger over time”. Competitive athletes are placed into so many difficult situations. They are challenged and pushed to their limits. This tests an athlete’s determination and perseverance. Every time an athlete makes the choice to keep going they literally get stronger mentally. It’s hard to push yourself and your body but the more an athlete makes the choice to keep going the stronger they get. When athletes are placed into difficult situations in other parts of their lives their immediate response won’t be to just give up. Instead they are going to be determined to get through and succeed just like they did in their sports.

I also agree with Kirk Mango when he says, “The hope is that through making the “right” choices the athlete develops a solid code of ethical standards they learn to follow, thus, supporting and developing strong character and integrity within”. This is important because strong character and integrity is not just developed by participating in a competitive sport. Instead, these skills are learned throughout difficult situations that arise while playing sports. The journey to success or maybe even failure is the most important part and not the outcome. The journey is where most of the lessons are learned. Competitive sports are not the only thing that will make athletes stronger but it’s really the athlete’s choices and attitude toward their sports that affects the outcome. When athletes make the right choices, for example, choosing to keep going or maybe not pushing themselves too hard, that will really shape them to be a person of integrity.

Even though competitive sports are very valuable there is a counterargument to every debate. Some might argue that playing a competitive sport can be too stressful for kids. Jeff Pearlman, the author of “Why I don’t want my kids to play team sports”, says, “Immediately before the final period began, the coach would point to David and begrudgingly insert him at right fullback for the requisite minimum amount all kids must play. He made it painfully clear to others that my brother was the weakest of weak links; that he was useless as a soccer player”(Pearlman 2013). Pearlman proves that a child’s confidence can be badly hurt while playing sports according to his own experiences. I agree that what happened to Pearlman’s brother is a valid reason for sports to be dangerous for kids but a bad coach is not a reason to quit sports. Even if kids have had bad experiences in sports they can take away something from that experience instead of just giving up. When athletes are challenged that’s how they get better. The challenge could be physical, mental, or emotional but kids will only learn if they keep going and keep trying. There are a lot of factors that contribute to an athlete’s success and a good coach is a very important factor. Having a good coach or a bad coach is also a factor that an athlete cannot change unless they get a new coach. Something that can be changed is how hard the athlete works. If athletes work hard and if they are determined, the coach has no reason to just leave them out of the game.

Bibliography

Pearlman, Jeff. “Why I Don’t Want My Kids to Play Team Sports.” 2013

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Harshita Rai

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