As sports-enthusiasts like Joshua Manocherian know very well, there are many benefits that come with an active life-style.  Involving your children in sports from an early age will go a long way towards helping them to develop a healthy lifestyle that they will take with them into adulthood.  Here are some of the important physical and social benefits that come from an involvement in sport.

Self-Discipline

At the heart of many sports are skills that come naturally to young children – running, kicking, jumping and throwing.  One of the reasons that children enjoy sport from a young age is that it is practically like play from their perspective.  However, as they get a bit older, these natural abilities need to be refined and practiced in order to bring their performance to the next level.  This requires practice and dedication.  It may mean that children need to make choices about how to spend their time if they are committed to gaining expertise in a particular sport.  The self-discipline that they develop as a result sets the foundation for success in sports and beyond.

Teamwork and Sportsmanship

If your child is playing a team sport, this will give them the opportunity not only to practice their physical skills, but also their social skills.  Working together to a common goal, and accepting the value of everyone’s contributions are skills that serve children and adults well in virtually every social or work setting.  Sports, whether team or individual, also require children to learn to follow the rules of the game, and to accept the consequences when those rules are broken or when they mean that your child has a penalty.  Additionally, whether the sport is being played for points or simply for fun, the “winners”and “losers” alike will learn how to be gracious in victory and in defeat.

Coordination and Flexibility

There is no question that children benefit greatly from regular physical activity, whether on the field or court, or in the pool or ice rink.  In addition to supporting basic cardiovascular and muscular strength, every sport will in some way encourage the development of eye-hand coordination skills.  Additionally, fine motor skills in general are developed as your child learns to put the spin on the ball with their kick or serve, or to carefully aim, catch or balance. Gross motor skills are strengthened ever time your child moves his or her body through space, whether running, skating, swimming or tumbling.

These are just a few of the benefits that come from an early involvement in sports.  Whether your child has the skill to be a professional or college athlete, or simply prefers to play on the local soccer team, they will reap the rewards of an active and healthy life.