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Why kids benefit from playing sports

September 22, 2010
  • A new study suggests that middle schoolers who play a team sport are just plain happier.
A new study suggests that middle schoolers who play a team sport are just… (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

Kids who play sports don't just benefit physically. Research shows they also do better in school, develop personal discipline and learn how to get along with others. "Sports are more than a game; they are a set of life lessons," says Paul Carccamo, head of Up2Us, a national coalition of community-based sports. What's even more interesting is that kids derive those benefits whether or not they excel at their chosen sport.

A new study highlighted in the Orlando Sentinel's Vital Signs blog suggests that middle schoolers who play a team sport are just plain happier. "There’s a lot of positive things that happen when people participate in sports," the post quotes public health researcher Keith Zullig, an author of the study, which appears online in Applied Research in Quality of Life, as saying. “There’s communication, team building and emotional benefits.” Read the whole post at "What makes even middle school kids happy? Playing sports."

But what do you do if your kid wants to quit? For starters, find out why and help them manage their expectations (and keep your own in check) of how they'll do in a given sport.

More online resources on kids and sports: "Five Benefits for Kids Who Participate in Sports," "10 Benefits of Playing Sports" and "The Benefits of Team Sports."

-- Mary Forgione / Los Angeles Times

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