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4 Positive Benefits of Individual Sports
Usually, when sports parents, coaches and league administrators talk about “youth sports”, they are referring to team sports like baseball, football, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, etc. . Obviously, one of the greatest benefits of participating in a team sport is that a young athlete learns to be part of a team. Some parents and sports coaches might argue that the benefits are lost if a child gets involved in individual sports (karate, tennis, golf, swimming, etc.). But if your child is more interested in an individual sport than a team sport, don’t despair! Team sports aren’t for everyone, and there are a lot of great things that individual sports can teach young athletes!
1. Learn to be independent.
While it’s great to have a team behind you to help pick you up/support you, it’s also important to learn to fend for yourself for two weeks. In an individual sport, the ultimate success of a young athlete depends on them and only them. If something goes wrong, they can’t blame it on a teammate, but on the other hand, when they win, they get all the glory. Individual sports teach young players that they are solely responsible for their actions.
2. Be comfortable being in the spotlight.
During a singles tennis match, all eyes are on the two players. Whether you like it or not, everyone is watching you and it’s hard to hide when you’re the only one there! Not everyone is born into the spotlight, but individual sports can teach young athletes to feel comfortable being the center of attention. This skill is useful during school presentations and (on the way) in business!
3. Motivation must come from within.
Obviously, individual sports athletes always have a coach and enthusiastic parents, but at the end of the day, these young athletes have to be the ones pushing themselves to succeed. There is no teammate on the court with you who you can feed energy from, who can excite you and motivate you to go forward – it all has to come from within. Intrinsic motivation has often proven to be more powerful than an external push, and when it comes to individual sports, it’s all about internal motivation!
4. It’s okay to learn at your own pace.
Individual sports allow athletes to compete at their own pace, removing some of the pressure to “catch up”. For example, let’s say your 12-year-old wants to start playing hockey. Chances are most of the other 12-year-olds in the league have been skating since they were little. Your athlete will lag behind the skill level of their teammates, which can sometimes be a tough pill to swallow, especially if they want to impress their friends. But suppose the same 12-year-old wants to start playing golf — he’ll compete against people based on his skill level, not necessarily his age. There is much less pressure to perform from the start.
Whatever sport your child wants to play, be it a team or individual sport, we say give it a chance! There are many great benefits to any sport.
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