School has started which means it’s time to think about extracurricular activities. One of the best after-school activities is team sports. Kids learn a lot of important skills from playing sports and getting them outside and active is great for their health and development. There are so many great team sports that your children will love that it can be a little difficult picking the right one for them. There are a lot of factors that go into picking a team sport for your child, so it can be a little overwhelming picking the right one. So we’ve put together a guide to help.

The Benefits Of Team Sports

How To Pick The Perfect Team Sport For Your Child

Getting your child involved in team sports has so many great benefits. When children play team sports they build confidence, make friends, and get exercise. Children who play sports are also happier. Children who play sports are 35% less likely to experience depression. They also do much better in school. In fact, children who play team sports have 40% high-test scores and are 15% more likely to go to college than children who do not. These are just some of the many benefits of playing team sports. So it’s a great idea to get your kids involved in a team sport this school year.

The Most Important Things To Consider When Picking A Sport

team-sportsWith so many options, it can be difficult to determine which sport will be right for your child. So here are the most important things to consider when making your decision:

Team Sports Can Be Very Expensive

On average, team sports can cost parents $671 dollars a year. That is a very expensive cost for an afterschool activity. However, some sports cost a lot less than others. The most expensive sports require a lot of heavy gear. So sports like football and hockey, which require padding, uniform, shoes, helmets, face masks, and expensive fields to play on can cost parents an average of $2,266 to play every year. However, sports that do not require as much athletic equipment like soccer, basketball, and swimming can be really affordable. For soccer and basketball, you will only need to purchase sneakers, the uniform, and a ball for practice. Swimming usually only requires the uniform and the goggles and usually a very nominal fee to use the pool. So before signing your child up for a sport consider what you are willing to spend.

Some Team Sports Can Be Dangerous

Every year, 1.35 children go to the emergency room for sports-related injuries. Most of these injuries occurred while children were playing injury-prone sports. So you should understand the injury risks of each sport before signing your children up. The most injury-prone sports are track and field, football, baseball, cheerleading, ice hockey, and wrestling. Fortunately, there are also some sports that are very safe. Swimming, tennis, golf, and volleyball all have low occurrences of injury, so they are a good pick if you are worried about your child getting injured.

Sports Can Help Improve Your Child’s Strengths And Weaknesses

Children who play sports grow up to be more productive members of society. As adults, they tend to earn 7-8% more than children who do not and are 20% more productive at work. So when picking a sport, you should think about both what your child is good at and where they could use some improvement. From there you should pick a sport that will help them develop in those areas. Beyond all the physical benefits, team sports can teach your child a variety of life skills. So think about the areas they need to develop before picking a sport.

A Guide To Team Sports

To help you make the best choice, we’ve put together a guide of the costs, injury risks, and skills of some of the most popular team sports:

Basketball

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear basketball costs an average of $500/year.

Injury Risk: Basketball is the second most dangerous sport for children, accounting for 189,000 visits to the ER every year. However, most basketball injuries come from falls, so they usually don’t lead to long-term damage.

Life Skills: Basketball teaches children to accept and overcome adversity. There are several times in a game a referee will make a call a player disagrees with and they just have to accept the call and play on.

Baseball

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear basketball costs an average of $600/year.

Injury Risk: Baseball is third most dangerous sport with 112,000 children experiencing injuries every year. Most of these injuries occur from over-exerting their pitching arm, so they do not tend to cause long term damage.

Life Skills: Baseball is a relatively slow game in comparison to other sports. However, players always have to keep their head in the game and stay ready for any play. So baseball teaches patience and preparedness.

Cheerleading

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear cheerleading costs an average of $1,000/year.

Injury Risk: Cheerleading has a low rate of injury, with only 24,000 children incurring injuries each year. However, 68% of these injuries are concussion or catastrophic injuries. So though the risk of injury is low, the injuries incurred from cheerleading can be long term.

Life Skills: Cheerleading fosters strong teamwork. Cheerleading routines require everyone to work together in perfect sync to execute the routine. If even one member of the team is off, the routine falls apart.

Golf

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear golf costs an average of $2,200/year.

Injury Risk: Golf is extremely low risk, accounting for only about 12,000 injuries every year. Most golf injuries are from over exertion during swings, so they typically do not cause long term damage.

Life Skills: Golf is a mental game played against yourself. The best golf players are able to stay calm and quiet any negative thoughts. Golf teaches children how to focus and stay present in the moment.

Football

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear football costs an average of $1,200/year.

Injury Risk: Football is the most dangerous children’s sport. Every year, nearly a quarter of a million children are injured playing football. Football has an extremely high risk of concussions and traumatic brain injuries, so these injuries often lead to long-term health problems.

Life Skills: Football requires a lot of practice. Football practice is usually every day and the sessions are very long and very intense. So for children to balance practice, homework, and their social lives, they will learn valuable time management skills.

Hockey

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear golf costs an average of $1,200/year.

Injury Risk: For having a reputation as a violent game, hockey is surprisingly safer than some of the other sports. Hockey players tend to wear a lot of padding so there is less chance of injury. Only 21,000 children go to the ER for hockey-related injuries every year.

Life Skills: Hockey is very fast-paced and unpredictable. Players have to stay focused the entire game and be ready for anything. So hockey teaches children how to think on their toes and make quick decisions.

Soccer

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear soccer costs an average of $200/year.

Injury Risk: Soccer is a very physical sport so it has a high risk of injury. Every year 171,000 children experience a soccer-related injury. Most of these injuries are from overexertion and sprains and tears from falls. So in general, these injuries do not tend to cause long-term damage.

Life Skills: Soccer is a great sport for teaching risk mitigation. Sometimes kicking the ball from midfield pays off with a goal, other times it can end in the other team achieving victory. So it helps children understand how to take assess risks and accept failure if they do not pay off.

Swimming

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear swimming costs an average of $100/year.

Injury Risk: Swimming used to be a relatively safe sport, with only around 5,000 injuries every year. However, swimming injuries have increased 18% every year. So the risk has begun to increase. Most swimming injuries are from overexertion, so they rarely cause long-term damage.

Life Skills: Swimming requires fine tuning every minor detail of your stroke. It requires a lot of practice and patience in order to get really good. So swimming teaches children the importance of small details for the bigger picture.

Tennis

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear tennis costs an average of $300/year.

Injury Risk: Tennis is another low-risk sport. Only around 19,000 children experience a tennis injury each year. These injuries are typically from strains, sprains, and repetitive stress. In most cases, they do not cause any long term damage.

Life Skills: To play tennis you have to critically analyze every move of the other player and predict what they are likely to do next. So tennis teaches children to use their critical thinking skills and how to think ahead.

Track And Field

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear track and field costs an average of 100/year.

Injury Risk: Track and field is an extremely safe sport for children. Only 14,000 children experience track and field injuries every year. These injuries tend to be strains and sprains, so they also do not cause long term damage.

Life Skills: Track and field requires consistent, daily practice to get really good. So it helps children learn how to discipline themselves and develop good habits in their routine.

Volleyball

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear volleyball costs an average of $100/year.

Injury Risk: Volleyball is a relatively safe sport, with only around 20,000 ER visits a year. Most of these injuries aren’t serious and are typically sprains as a result from falls or overexertion.

Life Skills: Volleyball is played in very tight quarters with several team members. Therefore, it requires quick thinking and great communication. It also requires you to trust the communication of your teammates, so it’s a great game for teaching important communication skills.

Wrestling

Cost: Including fees, equipment, and athletic wear wrestling costs an average of $150/year.

Injury Risk: Wrestling has a low risk of injury, with 29,000 children incurring injuries every year. However, these injuries range from minor sprains to major traumatic brain injuries. So it can be pretty risky depending on weight class, age, and skill level.

Life Skills: Wrestling is technically a team sport but each round requires the skill and dedication of individual. Wrestling is either win or lose, depending on those skills. So wrestling teaches children personal responsibility.

How To Pick The Perfect Team Sport For Your Child

Team sports are very good for children. They can teach them a wide variety of important life skills, help them develop social skills and make friends, and get them some much-needed exercise. However, with so many options it can be a little overwhelming deciding what team sport is right for your child. To help you decide, consider the costs, the risks of injury, and the benefits of each sport. Then you can make a list of the best ones and see which one your child is most interested in. That way, not only will you pick a team sport your child will enjoy but one that will help them in life.