Athlete and fitness expert Madisson Ledan emphasizes the positive affect team sports can have on physical and mental youth development.
Youth team sports increase a child or adolescent’s physical activity level. However, experts in youth athletics, like Madisson Ledan, express that team sports offer so much more than just physical activity. Sports, especially when played in a team setting, offer a number of emotional, mental and physical benefits.
Fitness expert Madisson Ledan, who played youth soccer, ran track in high school and continues to play team sports as an adult, highlights that it’s especially important for parents to get their kids involved in some kind of team sport or activity.
“It doesn’t matter if its football, soccer, swimming, sailing or chess,” Madisson Ledan says. “It’s the team atmosphere that truly provides the mental and emotional benefits.”
Those mental and emotional benefits continuously outlined by Madisson Ledan include developing self-esteem. Simple gestures that take place among teammates and coaches, like a high-five or pat on the back, can boost a kid’s self-confidence letting him or her know they have abilities that are valued. Other mental developments emphasized by Madisson Ledan include the development of leadership and communication skills.
“Kids learn to communicate better among one another,” he adds. “The social situations they face in team sports teach them how to properly express themselves, often in time-sensitive situations. They learn to communicate better, and they learn to communicate with confidence.”
Madisson Ledan also encourages parents to get their children involved in team sports, so they can build healthy relationships and learn the importance of teamwork. Ledan states teamwork is a skill that follows children throughout their youth and into adulthood.
“Team sports encourage kids to develop a sense of community, teaching them how to nurture quality relationships,” Madisson Ledan says. “They also teach our youth to overcome difficulties and deal with losses as a team. Teammates face challenges and solve problems as a group, much like they will do later in life in a variety of school, work and family settings.”
Additionally, experts like Madisson Ledan emphasize the importance of team sports for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Kids who are involved in sports at a young age often don’t know they’re building endurance and muscle strength. They’re just having fun. However, this regular physical exercise is helping them maintain a healthy body weight, heart health and stamina. Kids who play sports are less likely to face the problem of obesity, which is becoming increasingly prevalent among youth in the United States.
“We want our youth to learn that exercise and building social skills can be fun,” Madisson Ledan adds. “In my opinion, and the opinions of my fellow experts, the best way to do that is through team sports.”