We all know that sports help a child stay healthy and physically fit, but what other benefits do they bring? We’ve talked about how sports are great for a child’s body and the community, but what do sports do for a child’s mind?

The truth is that sports can greatly improve a child’s academic standings. Not only can a child stay fit while playing sports, they’re mind becomes sharper for it.

A Student’s Overall Mental Health

Adolescence bring about a slew of challenges; navigating friendships, body issues, peer pressure and increasingly complicated personal life. Many tweens and teens go through a vulnerable period during puberty, and their mental stability can waver.

Being active, and this is especially true in cases where children have preexisting conditions. Adolescents with anxiety problems, OCD, ADD/ADHD and other neurological issues can become more confident and focused through sports. Learning to use their bodies, discovering new skills, challenging themselves, on the field can bolster confidence. Self-esteem and pride in oneself, even at a small level, can go a long way into feeding a child’s courage to tackle new things.

Academic Success

Sport played in a competitive setting require team and individual focus, training and field awareness. All these skills are transferable to school and homework. Learning (even unconsciously) that repetition and muscle memory are key to mastering physical skills creates an unconscious realization that mental exercises (i.e. homework and problems) are also key to succeeding academically.

Working on a team improves a child’s teamwork capabilities, focus, understanding and their ability to follow directions. Where can all of these skills come in handy? The classroom.

Test Taking and Brain Health

Many language arts and math standardized tests look for subconscious skills within a child, like their ability to strategize and solve complicated problems. Plays and strategy, game day focus and constant evaluation of opponent’s actions and positions can also translate into an increased ability to evaluate issues at hand holistically rather than too narrowly.

Skills like planning, forethought and cause and effect are all necessary in sports, and these concepts are also heavily used in the classroom

Exercise, increases heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain and releases responsible for the growth of brain cells.

Responsibility

Another skill learned through sports is being responsible. Players have to be responsible for their fitness, equipment, training and furthering their sports skills. While parents and coaches are here to help, It is clear early on that discipline is key. Not making a practice or skipping out on a game can come with big consequences.

Without even thinking about it,  a disciplined player has a better ability to be responsible turning papers in on time and studying when they should.