Are Sports Necessary to Grow Great Kids?


Want to grow great kids? Then you must put them in sports. Everyone says you should make sure the kids are well-rounded but keep sports as their TIP TOP priority.

I don’t think you buy that, either.


young kids in a soccer huddle with yellow and black soccer uniforms

When it comes to sports for my kids, my game plan includes:

  1. Develop leadership skills.
  2. Cultivate teamwork.
  3. Engage in physical activity for fun and good health.

Are we on the same (sports) page? 

My eldest child recently dropped a truth bomb: She didn’t want to play a sport this upcoming fall. 

She couldn’t be serious. We are a Sports Family–I couldn’t allow her to bench herself. The old lecture of We Aren’t Quitters in This Family rolled off my tongue in the tone of a determined Clair Huxtable.

My pep talk struck out.  Before I ratcheted up my persuasion, I revised my game plan.

Are sports the Only Option? Are sports necessary to grow great kids?

Participation in sports teaches my kids about discipline, time management and how to handle expectations. But is it truly necessary that my kids learn emotional intelligence and cooperation skills via sports? Could they learn the same lessons as a part of a school musical?  The band? The scouts? 

I could let my daughter quit sports and learn the necessary life skills elsewhere. But, I would struggle with her not loving physical activity. I would fear she would grow into a sedentary adult if she doesn’t –as a child–latch onto a sport.

 I cannot farm this one out. If my kids are going to live active adult lives, I am the one who has got to school them on it. 

Here’s the rub: Coach Mommy doesn’t always run the miles she should; she sometimes skips the gym; she doesn’t play pick-up basketball or swim laps. How do I model a life of physical activity if I don’t live it?

I’m not going to learn hockey or karate, but I have always wanted tennis lessons. Maybe she can join me on the court. My daughter is old enough to run with me, so she’ll be my tagalong–whether she likes it or not.  I’ll verbalize my goals for fitness and share my routine with her. 

What is your child’s sports personality?

Even with my homeschool fitness program, I stress out that I am not forcing her to try enough athletic activities. With the help of a crystal ball, I’d know which sports are right for my kids. Without it, I could register them for every sport possible in fear that I’ll miss exposing them to their perfect fit. 

Gradually, I’ve changed my tactics with my eldest. She loves to cook, so I encourage that. We do Raddish Crates and check out cookbooks from the library. When it comes to sports, I haven’t given up, and I’ve gotten to know her sports personality. 

Her personality hates the pressure of an audience while she’s competing. Beach volleyball was a no-go for this reason. She is not a fan of basketball, either. Swimming, however, is better because she doesn’t feel spectators eyes on her while she is under water. She’s an outgoing introvert as well as an obliger, so she hates to disappoint her team–and her “fans.” 

The game isn’t over for my eldest and her involvement in sports. Regardless of her choice, she’ll grow up to be a great gal, and I’ll remain her biggest fan. 

Do you believe that sports are necessary to grow great kids?