Children and Sports Participation

Many parents believe that team sports are necessary for their children. Sports are valuable for physical health and coordination. Research does not support the idea that team sports are inherently better than individual sports for children. Many children thrive by participating in individual sports.
Other things to consider as you make choices regarding your child’s participation in sports: make sure the coach emphasizes safety and sportsmanship over winning, allow your child to participate as a recreational athlete and not become competitive until he or she is emotionally ready. If a child chooses a sport, consider allowing him or her to have one or two private lessons before beginning group lessons or joins a team. This allows the child to gain confidence and decide whether to continue or not, before making a commitment to a group. Once a commitment is made, consider requiring the child to finish out the season or series, as long as the program is well-run. Finally, research by i9 Sports found that as many as one third of children wish their parents would not attend their athletic events because they are uncomfortable with their parents yelling and pressuring them.
Key idea: Require good sportsmanship of your child, and yourself.


Melody Matthews Lowman, M.A. has a background in both psychology and education. Her biopsychosocial approach allows her to be a resource for behavioral and educational problem solving for children, teens and adults.
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