The advantages of playing organized baseball for young players are substantial. Beyond the commitment to invest in equipment so your child can “join” a team, what will your young player get from the experience beyond learning to play baseball? Many of the things your child will be exposed to will help him/her jump-start skills that will last a lifetime whether in personal or professional applications.
Let’s take a look at why your child should play baseball and the life lessons they will learn:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a 2018 report, states that 1 in 5 (20%) of all children in the United States are obese. The CDC states that obesity is caused by:
- metabolism—how your body changes food and oxygen into energy it can use.
- community and neighborhood design and safety.
- short sleep duration.
- eating and physical activity behaviors.
- depression and anxiety
The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels in developed countries. It is further stated that childhood obesity leads to non-communicable disease in adulthood such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and orthopedic, neurological, pulmonary, and renal disorders.
Medical evidence suggests that the intake of sugary drinks, portion sizes that are too large coupled with the lack of physical activity are the main contributors to childhood obesity. Consequences of childhood obesity include diminished physical and mental well-being, low self-esteem as well as, poor academic performance and a lower quality of life.
We can help our kids by keeping them active. Healthcare professionals recommend that young people between the ages of 6 and 19 years of age engage in at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
- burning calories that would otherwise be stored as fat
- stabilizes and maintains blood sugar levels to prevent diabetes
- keeps blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check
- builds strong bones and muscles
- reduces stress
- improves sleep
- improves focus
- boosts self-esteem
Learning how to being part of a team
T-Ball and Little League baseball is often the first team experience many of our children have. By playing baseball, your player will develop social skills and make new friends. The earliest years of playing baseball will give our children the confidence to engage in other team activities, whether sports related or in social and academic situations.
- They will learn how to set goals and achieve them by cooperating with others. With this sense of cooperation comes accountability and respect for others.
- Your child will gain self-esteem and understand what it means to use his/her abilities for the betterment of their team.
- They will learn how to address conflict and the importance of communication.
- They will develop respect for the other team – win or lose.
Practicing Good Sportsmanship
Your child will learn what it means to play fair. It can be argued that good sportsmanship is the most important aspect of the game.
What your child will learn about good sportsmanship as a member of a baseball team:
- No one likes a sore loser.
- When the team loses, they will learn not to make excuses or blame someone else.
- They are taught not to brag when they win.
- It is expected they will always do their best.
- When others make mistakes, they are taught not to make fun of them, instead encouraging them to lift them up.
- When they fail, they learn to pick themselves up and get back into the game.
- Baseball is a game of failure.
- No one likes to strike out, but even the best hitters only reach base safely 3 out of every 10 times that they come to bat.
- Baseball is a game of failure.
- Show respect for teammates, coaches, parents and game officials by:
- accepting the decision of the umpire, whether they agree or not;
- not talking back or defying the direction of the coach; and
- treating teammates and parents with courtesy and respect.
Boosting Self Esteem
Self-esteem is not an inherent skill. Just like any other skill, self-esteem is developed through hard work, physical and mental effort and practice.
Baseball is a team sport and to truly succeed, a player needs to strive to improve his/her performance every time he/she takes the field.
Actions that will help your player boost their self-esteem::
- keeping his/her commitment to the team by always coming to games and practice and being on time;
- being determined to improve every time he/she takes the field;
- realizing that they are not judged by a single performance but by determination, hustle, commitment and integrity;
- learning and respecting the process of playing the game; and
- believing in his/her abilities and depending on the processes they have learned and the contribution they make to the team.
To be sure, playing baseball for most kids is all about having fun. However, beyond playing the game itself, there are many skills that your children will learn and develop by playing baseball. They do not have to know right now that playing the game is teaching them valuable lessons that will help them succeed throughout their lifetime.
As the family of our young players, we can let them think that baseball is just a fun summer game to play with old and new friends alike. A great way to spend an afternoon or evening doing something they simply love to do – play baseball. For us, we can be content just to sit back and enjoy watching them enhance their physical ability, take pride in their accomplishments and watch them be the best they can be. Watching your child’s skills (both physical and emotional) develop over the years makes for some very proud moments.
Remember, they are playing the game to have fun. Let’s make sure that what they see and hear are reinforcements for behaviors we would like for them to emulate. We’ll just keep it a secret that they are developing skills to be the finest men and women of tomorrow.
I’d love to hear from you, please share some of your favorite baseball stories below.