The benefit of youth participation in sport is constantly being questioned. What do these youth gain? Parents ask this question as they make the decision to enroll their children in various programs. Taxpayers ask this question as athletic directors fight to keep programs in school districts. It doesnâ€™t help when the media focuses on the negative in an effort to gain ratings. To be honest there are some programs that need a lot of work; however, there are so many programs out there making a positive impact that itâ€™s just a matter of doing the research.
Take a look at the Run Buddies program. This is a running program that pairs youth with mentors. While learning about nutrition and fitness, these youth also learn mental toughness and have an outlet to discuss any issues they have in their life. Run Buddies shows that successful programs are not a result of monetary support but because of quality coaches.
Itâ€™s easy to give the list of benefits. Sports teach personal responsibility, teamwork, communication, sportsmanship, mental toughness, etc. Making a list is easy, but structuring a program to truly teach these life lessons takes work. This is why coaches can benefit from working with a Sport Psychology Consultant. A consultant can teach coaches how to better demonstrate and reinforce these skills. Then, instead of just listing the gains, coaches can watch their athletes put these skills into action.
If you are a coach looking to strengthen your program, contact SPINW.
About the Author: Lisa Peetz received an M.A. in Sports and Exercise Psychology. Lisa is an avid runner who appreciates and is addicted to marathon running. She uses her athletic experience in her mental skills training by individualizing skills to be both sports and life specific.