Participating in youth sports can help increase the quality of life for both boys and girls, teaching lessons that reach into adulthood. Besides the obvious advantages of being physically active, playing a sport also provides social and psychological benefits that can aid children throughout their lives. Yet unfortunately, girls are missing out.
By middle school, girls are dropping out of sports at two times the rate of boys Many times girls stop playing a sport because of cost, accessibility and social pressures. As a result they are not receiving the important physical and psychological benefits as much as their male counterparts.
By playing a sport, girls can build confidence, develop a better body image and reduce their risk of suffering from depression.
Increased Confidence and Self-Esteem
When kids participate in athletic activities, they have the opportunity to learn new skills. For young girls, developing these skills boosts confidence in their physical abilities and helps them learn to be assertive. Developing confidence through playing a sport not only helps them feel self-assured in their decision-making on the field or court, but also translates to the classroom and adulthood.
A recent sport psychology study found a direct correlation between self-esteem and exercise. The researchers reported that female and male elementary school students demonstrated a higher level of self-esteem the more they exercised. Having a higher level of self-esteem can help girls participate more in the classroom and feel confident in being able to speak in front of classmates. The more participation children have in class, the greater their chances are of excelling in academics.
Better Body Image
Many girls become unhappy with their body image when they believe they can’t live up to the media’s standards for the “perfect” body. These feelings can result in anxiety, depression and poor eating habits.
Sport psychology research found that young girls who participated in a 10-week field hockey and track and field skills program measured a significant increase in how they viewed their bodies. Their participation in sports was associated with less risk for dissatisfaction with body image.
Less Chance of Depression or Anxiety
According to a report by the Women’s Sports Foundation, adolescent girls are twice as likely as boys to experience major depression. Girls who exercised less as a child were much more likely to face depression as an adult. In contrast, young girls who participated in sports reported lower levels of depression and anxiety. It was also reported that women had better control over their anxiety as an adult if they had participated in physical activity or a sport when they were children.
Even though girls are starting to play sports earlier in life than before, there are still not as many organizations or leagues available for girls to participate in as there are for boys. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play sports. Oftentimes girls only have the opportunity to play a sport through school during a physical education class.
i9 Sports leagues are a great opportunity for girls to get involved in a sport at a young age. All of our core sports of flag football, soccer, baseball and basketball are co-ed. Each player, boy or girl, receives coaching and playing time to help them learn and develop.
If you are interested in registering your daughter, find a program in your area today.