Game On! Why Kids Should Play Sports: Benefits of Youth Sports Teams

Youth Sports Benefits: Healthy Bodies & Healthy Minds

The biggest and most obvious reason kids should play sports is to have fun! Sports are all about running around, making friends, and the joy of playing aka “the love of the game”. Yet children’s athletics bring more to the field than fun. The benefits of youth sports range from improving physical health to boosting social skills. Kids sports clubs can help our children grow into the very best versions of themselves, even if they don’t go pro!  

Read on to learn the physical, mental, and social benefits of youth sports teams! 

Physical and mental health of sports for kids.

The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Sports for Kids

Youth sports training is a chance for kids to get into their bodies and off their screens, decreasing their risk for type 2 diabetes, childhood obesity, and more. Sports and athletics help children gain not only physical strength, flexibility, and endurance but long-term exercise habits for healthy lives. According to Scripps Health, children who engage in kids’ sports classes or leagues are 8x more likely to be active in their 20s than those who do not. Those who maintain healthy habits and an active lifestyle get better sleep and are less likely to have mental health struggles. The psychological benefits of youth sports are increased mental well-being and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Other mental benefits of youth sports are a higher self-esteem, the ability to navigate challenges, and an easier time handling criticism.  

The Skills Your Kid Will Score By Playing Youth Sports

Academic Success 

So, what are the surprising benefits of youth sports programs? From the court to the classroom, participating in sports can lead to academic success! Exercise is shown to enhance memory function, concentration, and the ability to learn. Sport allow children to practice solving problems, a skill that serves them in their education and beyond. 


There are many social benefits of youth sports, as it gives children the chance to improve their skills through practice, even if it’s a small amount. Even if a child does not excel in competitive sports for youth, the mere fact that they stick with it can lead to improved self-confidence, just so long as they are in a supportive environment. (Hint: get to know their coach!) 


In junior sports leagues, kids must work together to achieve a common goal. There are children of varying skill levels and different personalities, and to win, they must practice cooperation. During children's sports competitions, kids must learn to respect one another, their coaches, the referee, and the opposing team. 

Play Like a Girl: Now's The Time For Girls In Sports!

Learn facts about female participation in sports.

There continue to be societal factors affecting female participation in sports, such as social stigma, too few positive role models, and sadly less access. High school-aged girls have 1.3 million fewer chances to play sports than boys! Lucky for us, things are changing. 

This year, nearly 24 million of us watched Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes play South Carolina NCAA championship. According to YahooSports, this basketball game was the most-watched broadcast since 2019 and the most-viewed women’s basketball game OF ALL TIME! 

Girls who play sports learn coping skills and how to manage well under pressure, and this happens whether they win or lose, have “natural talent” or not. One of the most wonderful things about girls who play sports is that they think about their bodies as assets, regardless of size. They workout to get stronger, appreciating what their bodies can do rather than how they look, which is a beautiful thing. 

In The Women's Sports Foundation's Chasing Equity Report a survey respondent said, “I just think participation in sport does so much for the well-being of girls—it builds their confidence, helps manage stress/mental health, and prepares them to handle failure, knowing that the next day may be when they win. It is great preparation for a career.” The 2009, updated version of “Her Life Depends on It” also published by The Women's Sports Foundation reported that the majority of girls don’t meet the daily recommended physical activity requirements. By engaging in sports, young girls and teens can reduce their risk of breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and obesity.

Understanding the benefits of sports and the changing cultural landscape, there really is no better time for girls to shoot their shot, go for the gold, or just try out for a sports team.

Impact of Youth Sports Statistics

Bo Hanson, the 4x Olympian, Director, and Lead Consultant of Athlete Assessments stated that playing sports correlates with improved academic performance, decreased dropout rates, reduced truancy, and lower crime rates. In the Importance of Youth Sports Statistics, Hanson supported these ideas with compelling statistics such as:

  • 95% of Fortune 500 executives participated in high school athletics.
  • 96% of dropouts in 14 school districts in seven regions of the nation were not participating in an athletic program.

As children have increasingly moved to digital screen time, participation in sports have had a dramatic decline in recent decades. “Youth Sport: Positive and Negative Impact on Young Athletes” states:

  • Sports games like dodgeball, kickball and stickball have been replaced by an average of 7.5 hours per day of screen time for children aged 8–18 years.
  • 42% of elementary school children and 8% of adolescents met the recommended amount of physical activity.
  • Organized sports help combat inactive and unhealthy lifestyles, boosting caloric expenditure, reducing screen time, and curbing unnecessary snacking.
  • 70-80% of children quit sports by the age of 15 years old. 
  • >20% of “little league” coaches have received formal training. 
  • >8% of high school coaches have received formal training. 

According to the National Library of Medicine’s “Sport Readiness in Children and Youth”, the ideal age for a child to begin playing organized sports is 6 years of age, based on physical, psychological and cognitive development.

In “Physiology of Growth and Development: Its Relationship to Performance in the Young Athlete”, James Roemmich PhD and Alan Rogol MD, PhD report the importance of children playing sports with other kids at their age and level, as it reduces injury risks and promotes fair competition by accounting for the varied pubertal growth and development rates among adolescents.

Set Kids Up For Success In Sports

Check It Out 

If you or your child feel uncertain, take them to a youth sports game and let them watch! This helps both parent and kid get a lay of the land-- or the court-- and get a sense of which sport they may be interested in trying. 

Talk About Expectations 

Before you send your child into the world of athletics, or even just summer sports, have an open and honest conversation about what’s expected of them. Talk about what’s important: that they try their best, are respectful of their coach and teammate, and that the point is to have fun. A little communication goes a long way and helps kids understand that they don’t have to be the greatest player of all time, and they most likely won’t be at first…getting good at anything takes time, dedication and commitment! 

Sports Camps for Kids

There are simple easy ways for parents to get their kids into the game. While a sports academy is for the very serious athlete, sports camps are great for kids to try out something new. Soccer, baseball, or basketball camps run for a short amount of time, between a week and a summer. This lets them see if they’ll enjoy playing for an entire season. It’s a great way for children to make friends, get active, and learn something new, even if they don’t follow through with the sport. There are even sports camps for kindergarteners!

Celebrate Their Courage!

Trying something brand new is hard, so celebrate their bravery with a small gift to start off their new adventure. Warmies just launched a new collection called Sporty Warmies, which are soft plush sports balls that can be heated and chilled for comforting cuddles after a game. Pick from push Basketball Warmies, Soccer Ball Warmies and Football Warmies, or let them choose a buddy from their plush collection. Warmies stuffed animals are heatable, chillable, and scented with lavender making them perfect to ease pregame jitters or soothe sore muscles during a post-game snuggle. 

Most of all, the Sporty Warmies are great for game-time fun!