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The Forgotten Benefits of Spring Sports

04/11/2016, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

 

When you think about youth sports, what’s the first image that pops into your mind? For a lot of athletes and their parents throughout the minor sports universe, thoughts of victories, medals, trophies, goals, and glory probably dominate their imagination. 

And there ain’t nothing wrong with that. 

The only issue, however (did you think I was done?) is there’s plenty of blood, sweat, and tears that pave the road to ultimate achievement. 

Wait a second - blood, sweat, and tears? That doesn’t sound like a very fun way to learn physical activity at a young age. How about fun, laughs, and challenges?

Yeah, doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. But when it comes to young athletes, it’s a lot easier to learn when you don’t realize you’re learning. 

Joining new teams, leagues and trying different sports in the spring can have a significant impact on both the physical and social development of a child. 

New Friends

There’s something special about introducing a group of hockey players to contact for the first time, especially when most of them don’t know each other. Well, bodychecking each other at full speed will endear you to your new friends in a hurry, that’s for sure. 

Regardless of the sport, teaming up with a new group of peer athletes and finding a way to work together in practices and games is a valuable life skill. These kids have seen the same faces day in and day out since September on the ice and in the classroom. Spring hockey, baseball, football or even 3on3 hockey gives young athletes the opportunity to meet new friends and expand their social network a little bit. 

New Rules

Playing a different sport for the first time? Well, the are easy to see. 

And I like easy, so:

  • learning the rules of a new sport (so like, soccer has offsides too?)
  • adapting to the culture and etiquette of a new sport (like chewing sunflower seeds)
  • fitting into an existing hierarchy of players (alright, that dude is massive, so I think I’ll avoid this confrontation)

Committing to a different sport in the offseason is valuable for muscles and joints that might be under-utilized during the regular season. 

What if you’re playing your primary sport in the spring?

Hearing a new voice can have a huge impact on young athletes. There’s two lines of thought here, 1) the athlete could learn that perhaps his or her coach during the winter actually did know what they were talking about, or 2) the athlete could learn something that wasn’t previously taught. 

Winning is awesome. We all like to win. We all want to be on teams that win the majority of the time. Sometimes we forget that winning doesn’t just happen when you build the best team (wait, I guess it does), but the reality is that this isn’t the point in the spring. Hockey soccer, football, baseball - it doesn’t matter. We forget that we’re putting our kids in a situation where they have as much opportunity to learn off the ice/field/pitch as they do on it. 

And that’s valuable. 

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