Prevention Plus: The importance of sports in building resilience

As parents, we look to help our children develop in ways that will assist them as they grow. How can participation in team sports help build a strong foundation? Too often we are overly concerned in our children becoming great ballplayers and winning games. But what should be the real importance of participation in sports?

Being part of a team, and meeting and working with others, can give children a real sense of belonging. Playing well helps build self-confidence.

What do we do when a child fails? Our first thought may be to help the child forget, but that experience is a very important learning moment. How children handle the moment, and how we handle it, can have just as great an effect on a child’s development as the winning play. Children will continue to be put in difficult situations, and need to learn how to recognize and get through them.

As children get older, they learn that hard work and dedication often, though not always, lead to positive results. They learn that the inverse is also usually true. They learn that while most coaches are fair and positive, some are not — just as in other areas of life.

We need to help our children learn from team sports, good and bad, without undue pressure. There will be more than enough pressure elsewhere.

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Joseph Walsh, RCCASA coalition member and local attorney, submitted this column to The Press. He has coached youth sports in Ridgefield for more than 20 years.