Although playing organized sports can have some positive effects on a child, there are also some negative effects that parents should be aware of.
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The Dark Side of Organized Sports
competitive sports can have many negative effects on a child. They can include physical injuries, emotional scars, and a sense of entitlement. With the intense pressure to win, some children may feel like they have to sacrifice their health and safety. In addition, they may suffer from emotional abuse from coaches, parents, and teammates.
The Pressure to Win
Kids who play organized sports often feel a lot of pressure to win. They may feel like they have to live up to the expectations of their parents, coaches, or teammates. This pressure can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. It can also lead to poor performance, which can be very disappointing and frustrating. In some cases, the pressure to win can even lead to cheating.
The Fear of Losing
Losing is a part of life, but when you’re a child, it can feel like the end of the world. For children who are highly competitive and invest a lot of time and energy into playing organized sports, losing can be devastating. If your child is struggling to cope with losing, here are a few things you can do to help.
Acknowledge their feelings: It’s important to validate your child’s feelings and let them know that it’s normal to feel upset after a loss. Let them know that it’s okay to be disappointed and that you’re there for them.
Talk about how to handle disappointment: Help your child understand that everyone experiences disappointment and that it’s how you deal with it that matters. Talk about some healthy ways to cope with negative emotions, such as talking to a friend or taking some time to cool off before talking about the situation.
Focus on the effort: Help your child see that it’s not just the end result that matters, but also the effort they put into the game. Praise them for their hard work and determination, even if they didn’t come out on top.
Encourage good sportsmanship: Remind your child that being a good sport is more important than winning or losing. Talk about how it feels when someone isn’t a good sport and how disappointed you are in them. Encourage your child to be kind and respectful to their teammates and opponents, both in victory and defeat.
Losing is never fun, but it’s a part of life. By teaching your child how to deal with disappointment in a healthy way, you’ll help them build resilience and character.
The Cost of Participation
The cost of playing organized sports can be a barrier for many families. Participation fees, equipment, travel and other costs can add up quickly. According to a report from the National Cooperative Extension, the average cost of playing youth baseball was $561 per child in 2017. Soccer was the second most expensive sport, with an average cost of $587 per child.
In addition to the monetary costs of playing sports, there are also time commitments that can be a challenge for families. Practices and games can take up several hours each week, and if a child is playing on multiple teams or in multiple leagues, the time commitment can be even greater. This can leave less time for homework, family time and other activities.
The Negative Effects of Organized Sports on Children
Although playing organized sports can have many positive effects on a child, such as teaching teamwork and good sportsmanship, there can also be some negative effects. These negative effects can include injuries, pressure to win, and increased aggression. Let’s take a closer look at each of these effects.
One of the most common negative effects of playing organized sports is the risk of sustaining a physical injury. According to the National Athletic Trainers Association, there are approximately 2.5 million youth sports-related injuries each year. While some of these injuries are due to accidents and cannot be prevented, others are the result of poor coaching, inadequate safety equipment, or overzealous parents and coaches who push children to play through pain.
Some of the most common injuries sustained by young athletes include sprains and strains, tendinitis, growth plate injuries, and concussions. These injuries can not only lead to pain and suffering for the child but can also have long-term effects on their health and development. For example, concussions have been linked to an increased risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition that has been linked to depression, dementia, and even suicide.
In addition to the risks posed by physical injuries, playing organized sports can also have negative psychological effects on children. For example, competition in sports is often based on winning and losing, which can instill a sense of failure in young athletes who do not perform up to their expectations or those of their parents or coaches. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem that can persist long after the child stops playing sports.
While playing sports, children are often subject to emotional trauma. This can occur when they are ridiculed by their peers, when they lose a game, or when they witness a violent act. These experiences can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and worthlessness. In some cases, these feelings can last well into adulthood. In severe cases, emotional trauma can lead to suicide.
Organized sports can have a number of negative effects on children. One of the most significant is social isolation. When kids are divided into teams, there is inevitably going to be some level of competition and animosity between team members. This can lead to children feeling isolated from their peers and feeling like they don’t belong.
In addition, organized sports can be very time-consuming. This can lead to children missing out on important social activities with their peers, such as birthday parties or trips to the playground. And it can also put a strain on family relationships if parents are forced to miss important family events in order to transport their children to sporting events.
Another negative effect of organized sports is the pressure that is often placed on children to perform. This pressure can come from coaches, parents, or even teammates. It can lead tochildren feeling anxious and stressed, and it can also cause them to lose interest in the sport altogether.
Finally, organized sports can be expensive. Families have to pay for equipment, uniforms, registration fees, and travel expenses. This cost can deter some families from even allowing their children to participate in sports, which puts them at a disadvantage compared to those who can afford it.