The Importance of Team Sports For Children

As their children grow up, every set of parents has a different idea as to what should be the main focus of their upbringing and how they should spend their free time, especially when it comes to extra-curricular activities. Some parents place a huge emphasis on academics and want their children doing extra reading or working with a tutor. Other parents are heavily into sports and want their children to focus on sports. Some parents simply want their children to be children and don’t push them in any particular direction at all.

In most cases, schools give children at least some opportunity to participate in a team sport. Along with the team sports that are taught during physical education classes, there are usually a few varsity sports teams that will represent the school while competing against other schools in the area. In addition to this, most communities have a few organized sports leagues that children can be active in.

In my opinion, participation in team sports is vital to healthy social, physical and emotional development. Participating in a sports team exposes children to a range of challenges in a team environment where they are forced to work with others, rely on others at times and also to encourage or root for others on their team. All of this leads to the development of a cooperative mindset. Now although all of this sounds ideal, I am aware that it does not always work out this way. Some times a child might be a ‘ball hog’ and refuse to pass the ball, or want to score all of the goals themselves. But with time, even this child learns at some point that they must work with others if they want to see true success.

Some kids just love sports and have a natural tendency towards them. There is very little that a parent could do to stop a child like this from participating in sports. Other children are quite nonchalant about sports, and some children even hate sports. A variety of factors can influence the way that children feel about sports. Sometimes they are shy or insecure about the abilities yet with a little encouragement they will get out there and do fine. At times, a child may have a physical attribute that they are conscious or overly conscious about that stops them from doing a sporting activity they would love. I encourage parents to find at least one team sport that their children can become involved in. Not all team sports have to be high impact activities or ‘popular’ sports. A swim team is great for a child that is not boisterous or overly physical. Some schools have sailing as an extra curricular activity which again falls outside of the typical team sport.

I believe that team sports teach children not only how to compete, but how to compete fairly within structured boundaries. This is an important life lesson and the skills and the disciplines that they learn in sports will definitely last them a lifetime. Team sports will teach children how to communicate, since most team sports require children not only to talk to each other while the activity is taking place but also how to plan strategies for an upcoming event and how to debrief or review things that have happened in a game. Perhaps most importantly, team sports teach children how to succeed and how to fail since inevitably throughout each season of their sport their team will do both. With every win and loss, children learn coping skills. These again are important skills to develop in a child and they will last them throughout life.

Susan Roberts writes freelance for a number of different companies including KS Child Locate on locate child mobile

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9 Reasons Why the NHL Playoffs Are Better Than Any Other Sport

If you’re not watching the 2011 NHL Playoffs you are missing out on the best postseason of any sport, college or professional. Now I’m a little biased as hockey is my favorite sport but I’m a big fan of all major sports. I watch the playoffs from all of them and I don’t think its close! You don’t get the same level of excitement from the NBA, MLB or the NFL! Maybe the NCAA Basketball Tournament is close!

There’s been a 4 goal comeback, series comebacks, 13 overtime games (8 nights in a row with an overtime game), 8 Shutouts, 1 sweep, more hitting (brutal hits) resulting in suspensions, highlight goals, highlight saves and now we have 4 game sevens!!

Parody! Throw out the regular season records! Wipe the slate clean! Everyone’s even. Home ice advantage? What home ice advantage! It doesn’t matter if its #1 vs #8 or #4 vs #5. Any team can beat any other team at any time.*

*Except the New York Rangers, apparently!

Intensity! The Intensity and competition in the playoffs goes up tenfold! I’m not even sure that describes it accurately enough. If you took the entire 82 game regular season and packed it into one game, you might get the intensity of the playoffs. Maybe! Players are giving 110% every second they are on the ice. There’s no time to rest or take it easy for a shift, even when your team is up by 4 goals!

Rivalries! Rivalries escalate and are born in the playoffs! There’s nothing like at least 4 straight games with an opponent to get a rivalry going! The Vancouver/Chicago rivalry was pretty nonexistent until three years ago when the Blackhawks knocked the Canucks out of the playoffs two years in a row. Vancouver squeaked by the Blackhawks last night with a Game Seven Overtime victory. In the Eastern Conference you have a rivalry that’s been going on since 1924! It’s definitely still alive and well and another chapter will be decided with Game Seven tonight!

Physical Play! There’s more physical play in the playoffs because every player knows they have to give more to win in the postseason! This is why you see guys who aren’t usually very physical throwing hits and being physical. Unfortunately, there’s more headhunting and a lack of respect in a lot of the physical play. The concept of physical play is to hit a player as hard as you can so the next time they get the puck, they panic a little bit and make a bad play. It’s not to injure a player and take him out of the game.

Playing Injured! Guys play injured no matter how injured they are. They put their team before their own well-being! Trainers do whatever they can to get players back on the ice. Cortisone shots, potassium, Sudafed, ibuprofen, heat packs, cold packs and whatever else can get you back on the ice within the rules!

Sudden-Death Overtime! Nothing beats sudden death overtime! There’s nothing like it in any other sport! “But the NFL has sudden death overtime!” Really? It’s not even close to the same thing! Drop the puck and play hockey! Shoot the puck and shoot it often because anything can happen in overtime!

Unsung Heroes! With teams game-planning against their opponents best players, it makes it more difficult for the star players to play a big role in a given series. This allows the somewhat unknown role players to emerge! Who heard of Ben Smith before he scored a game-winning goal in Game 6 against Vancouver in his 13th game in the NHL? Role players become X-factors in the playoffs and can be a big part in determining who wins a series.

Goaltending! This might be the biggest and most important position in deciding who wins a series and ultimately, the Stanley Cup! A goaltender can get in a zone and lead a team all the way to the Cup! We see it every year and some goalies come out of nowhere to give their teams a chance to win every night! Look at Antti Niemi and Jaroslav Halak last year, Cam Ward and Dwayne Roloson* in ’06 and Patrick Roy in 1986 just to name a few!

*Roloson and Fernandez were a big part of the run by the Minnesota Wild in ’03. Had to get my Wild in there even if they might not belong in a current playoff column since they’ve missed the playoffs for three years in a row now! GO WILD! The Brown Fox will get it done!

The Stanley Cup! All of this so they can Raise Stanley! Lord Stanley’s Cup!The Cup! The Holy Grail! It’s the ultimate goal and the Greatest Trophy in Sports! You never hear about the trophy for the NBA, NFL or Major League Baseball because they all want the ring. I don’t think they care about the trophy because their trophies are all pretty lame! You can’t drink from them and why would you want a day with those trophies! The NHL even calls their playoffs the “Stanley Cup” playoffs and the “Stanley Cup” Finals! It’s a multipurpose trophy! You can drink out of it, eat out of it, bathe babies in it, use it as a paper weight, a food tray, for storage, rescue cats with it, it makes a great wingman, the possibilities are endless! Stanley has partied more than anyone I know. No wonder everybody wants to hang out with Stan!

Do you agree that the NHL has the best postseason? What’s been your favorite part so far?

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Karate – A Great Alternative to Traditional Team Sports for Kids and Families

Many parents want to get their children involved in team sports because they want their child to be active, make friends, learn how to work with a team, etc. However, not every child wants to play team sports or is able to play team sports. So what do you do to get your child active? One great alternative to traditional team sports is karate classes. Karate classes allow children to gain all the benefits they would see in a team sports program, plus much more.

Good For Health and Fitness

Just like participating in any sport, karate classes help promote health and fitness. Martial arts is a great form of exercise and many people turn to this sport to help them lose weight, increase their cardio fitness, and build muscle. Your child will learn to take care of their body through proper exercise and stretching. They will have a positive outlet for otherwise unused energy and get just as much exercise, if not more, as they would playing any other sport.

Competitive Atmosphere

If you are looking for a competitive atmosphere, this is still available through martial arts. Many karate schools host or participate in karate tournaments. While this is not a requirement for taking a karate class, many parents and kids love to have the competitive atmosphere of a karate competition to help push them to be their best while also learning about being a good sport whether you win or lose.

Learn Life Skills

Good karate schools teach more than just kicking and punching, they also teach life skills. Some of the many life skills that children learn through martial arts that they can use through their whole life are respect, self control, focus, self discipline, responsibility, leadership skills, confidence, and the list goes on and on. Many people are surprised at how taking a karate class helps their child do better in school and social activities.

Make Friends

Some parents turn to team sports as a way to help their child make friends. Unfortunately, this does not always work. If your child is shy and has a hard time making friends, putting them in a situation where they have a whole group counting on them to perform may not be the best option at first. Although it is definitely a very good thing to help children learn to be responsible and realize how their actions affect others, if you are trying to help your shy child make friends karate is a great choice. They will be able to focus on their own progress while still being able to work in a group of peers who are striving to reach the same goals that they are. Every time your child learns something new or passes off a technique this will give their confidence a huge boost. At the same time, they will still be learning responsibility and how to work with a group through small team-building exercises in class.

No Prior Athletic Background Needed

Many children who do not have an athletic background or any athletic experience struggle in team sports. This can be very discouraging. Karate classes do not require any previous athleticism for students to have a good experience though. Everybody starts at the same level with the basics and builds up from there.

No Age Limit

As children grow older their ability to participate in team sports becomes more and more limited. At a young age it easy for them to become part of a community or recreational sports team, but once they reach high school age it becomes increasingly difficult to continue participating in team sports as they go through team try-outs. Not everyone makes the team. Karate classes however do not have an age limit, there are no try-outs, and it is a fun sport that anyone can participate in at any age.

Great Activity for the Whole Family

Because karate programs do not have an age limit, it allows parents to take class with their children. Unlike team sports, where parents are generally just cheerleaders on the side lines, karate is a sport that an entire family can do together. This gives your family some great bonding time and a common interest.

Year-Round Activity

Finally, karate does not have an “off-season” and because it is indoors it is not weather dependent. Many parents find themselves at a loss as to what to do with their children during the “off-season” of whatever team sport they play. They want their child to stay active and healthy, but struggle to find an alternate activity when soccer or football is over. Karate is great activity for the whole family to do together year round.

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