One of the greatest joys of parenthood is watching your child participate in an activity that sparks their enthusiasm and allows them to have fun while also instilling valuable lessons that they can take with them and use in every facet of their lives. It does not really matter what the activity is, as long as it is something that your child enjoys.
Having said that – if you are reading this it is very likely that basketball is one of the activities that your child participates in. As someone who has had basketball as a major part of their life for about 30 years (and I’m not even 40 yet – wink) I think that you have made a great choice – obviously I’m biased, but I’ll challenge anyone to think of ways that basketball is not an awesome activity for kids.
So why is basketball great for young kids, and what are the benefits of getting them into a structured program as early as four years old? No, the answer is not “so I can get my child on the fast track to the NBA”.
Seriously though, there are many ways to answer this, but here are a few ways that kids benefit – my Super Six if you will.
- They receive an introduction to the sport and it’s fundamentals which can provide a solid base for future development as they grow up.
- They gain self confidence in their abilities as they see themselves completing tasks that they previously could not perform – thus fostering a sense that new challenges should be embraced rather than feared.
- They get exposed to situations where they must listen, receive instructions, and accept feedback on how they are performing a task.
- They get practice with focusing amid distractions. If a child can focus in a gym full of basketballs and other kids, then focusing in a quiet classroom should be easy.
- They get used to working with other kids and all that comes with that – teamwork, unselfishness, patience, leadership, etc.
And finally my personal favourite:
- They get to practice dealing with negative outcomes. This is something that all kids need in manageable doses. Even in a non-competitive program for four and five years there will be missed shots, bumps/bruises, teammates that don’t pass and other situations that test the ability to overcome adversity and persevere.
So there’s my list of some of the ways that kids can benefit by playing basketball at a young age. For those of you with kids just getting into the sport – remember to just let the them play, have fun and discover/develop a love for the game without any pressure. All the Best!
Head Coach for U10 Boys REP Team