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Understanding the Importance of Youth Sports

The Importance of Youth SportsIn the United States alone, an estimated 45 million children under the age of 18 years are involved in school and extracurricular physical activity programs, ranging from youth basketball, and baseball to cross-country skiing and for our western audience yes–even the rodeo.

It’s common for children to be intensely involved in organized sport.

Sport participation has been found to represent at least 66% of all out-of-school activities for youths. Some of sport psychology’s most important contributions, therefore, can be powerful guidelines for use in coaching children’s sports.

On average, they participate in their specific sport 11 hours weekly for an 18-week season. This becomes important when you consider that sport is one of the few areas in children’s lives in which they can participate intensively in an activity that has meaningful consequences for themselves, their peers and family, and the community alike.

The youth sports experience can have important lifelong effects on the personality and psychological development of children.

For most children, sport participation peaks near the age of 12 years. We know from research in developmental psychology that this age and the time leading up to it are critical periods for children and have important consequences on their self-esteem and social development.

When asked, younger children in both school and non-school athletic programs had similar responses-and their comments were consistent with findings from previous research into the motivation for participation.

Most children participate in sports to have fun. Other reasons most of them cite are to do something they are good at, improve their skills, get exercise and become fit, be with their friends and make new friends, and compete.

Sex and cultural differences have been found in youth motives for participation.

For example, in a study of 1,602 middle school students, researchers found that boys were more motivated by the competitive aspects of sports and girls were more attracted by social opportunities. However, more differences exist within these groups than between them, making it very important for practitioners to strive to understand the unique motivations of each young person they work with.

The Youth Performance Coach Certification is designed for new and advanced coaches and trainers who want to specialize in the areas of youth athletics, youth mentorship and leadership for the next generation.

If you are new to youth coaching, training and mentoring, this is a great launching point for your career. You will gain valuable insight that will give you the skills needed to make a positive change in the lives of youth.

That’s it for now.

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NESTA | Spencer Institute

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And here is the link for the Youth Performance Coach certification again: