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2 March 2020

By: June Owens

I remember playing youth sports, from softball to volleyball and even a short time on the basketball court. But what I remember most … scoring a winning goal for the soccer team in the game that landed us in the state tournament. Now I was certainly not a great player and never walked the path to Olympic excellence, but I sure had a lot of determination. And that year, well let's just say I had a coach that invested time in helping me improve my skills and who never gave up on me.

I now have grandchildren involved in sports and I look for opportunities for them to have that feeling I've never forgotten. I'm not talking about the feeling of winning, but the one of knowing someone truly believes in you. We found this with YMCA Youth Sports and the benefits of their programs are many.

  • Fitness ~ It's important for children to learn the importance of daily physical activity which is  My so often forgotten with technology constantly surrounding our families. A foundation of sports participation along with proper nutrition increases their chances of maintaining a healthy lifestyle into adulthood.
  • Goal Setting ~ When a child realizes they are getting better and better in their chosen sport, they learn the value of setting goals and following through with hard work. This is a much needed skill throughout life and one that naturally helps increase self confidence along the way.
  • Teamwork ~ Working as a team to reach a common goal helps children develop communication and problem solving skills that will benefit them on the field and off. How often have you read a help wanted ad where an employer wants a “team player”? Having the ability to put differences aside and work towards a common goal has lifelong benefits.
  • Respect ~ Sports requires a first and foremost respect of teammates, opponents, coaches, and officials. Teaching children to treat others how they want to be treated is important early in life and as they learn to actively listen, they also learn the importance of their own voice.
  • Adaptability ~ Mistakes happen. Children will face challenges in sports and make errors in judgment. As they have these experiences, they learn to deal with adversity and how to make quick decisions that help them recover from minor setbacks.

Is your child ready to shoot some hoops, grab the pom-poms or golf clubs, score a goal, learn to tumble, or earn a new belt in martial arts? You can find all the opportunities available by visiting the YMCA Youth Sports website at Year-round options are available so no need to wait on the sidelines for warmer weather. It's time to get in the game!