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How Youth Sports Support Brain Development

By | In the News

It’s absolutely no secret that sports help to develop the body. Regular exercise leads to better cardiovascular health, stronger muscles and bones, and more resistance to disease. But did you know that sports can help foster the development of a healthy brain as well?

Thinking Outside the Box

Tough situations call for creative solutions. Sporting events create a number of dynamic, unforeseeable events that the brain must navigate. By participating in sports, a young athlete must consistently think outside the box to outmatch their opponent. Sports can look effortless and straightforward from the stands, but on the field it’s a mental game where the most cunning and creative athlete usually comes out on top.

Confidence in Decision-Making

Games, regardless of the particular sport, can be seen as a series of rapid-fire moments, each one carrying a micro-decision that has to be made nearly instantaneously. Do I pass the ball? Do I go left or veer right? Can I throw the ball that far? Can I make that goal? Each time an athlete makes a decision on the field, it’s part quick thinking and gut instinct, analyzation combined with experience. This is an exhausting mental workout on level with critical thinking. It’s training a kid’s brain to run faster, more efficiently, and even more decisively. After a few months of sports participation, parents and guardians notice that their child or teen is more confident in making decisions and solving problems faster than ever.

Learning the Ins & Outs of Social Interaction

Nobody is born with an innate sense of social interaction. Sure, there’s roughly an equal percentage of people who are introverts and extroverts, but being the latter doesn’t mean that you know how to interact with people, just that you enjoy it. As to the former, shyness can be overcome with a nudge in the right direction. By participating in youth sports, kids can train on social interaction and learn what works and what doesn’t, which makes them better communicators. Communication is key to healthy development, whether it’s used in school, work, or personal life.

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