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Why Is Playing A Sport Important?

Parents, Athletes, Coaches May Have Different Answers

Philosophy 3: Sports Valuable For Health and Wellness

You may be a parent who is most concerned about your child's health and wellness. Some experts believe that what is valuable about sports, from gym class in grade school to tennis tournaments for seniors, is that it helps participants live healthier lives, increasing lifespan and reducing the risk of many of the most common diseases in this country.

As the media has reported a lot lately, obesity in the United States among children, young adults and older Americans has reached almost epidemic levels. Any kind of physical activity could help combat the obesity epidemic. Studies have shown that people who were active as children and adolescents are more likely to be active in things like fitness, tennis and golf in their middle age years.

Parents must also consider, however, the adverse health consequences for young athletes at the other end of the activity spectrum. Year-round competition and intense training can lead to overuse injuries, stress, burnout and rust-out. Parents looking to enhance the health and wellness of their child should consider the intensity and duration of the typical practice. They should also look for a coach who has the athletes stretch and warm up prior to competition and practice. Obviously, parents should make sure their child's equipment is in good shape. Also, make sure your child is properly hydrated. Many parents will overlook the ample opportunities of backyard practice with their child. This not only sharpens the athlete's skills but keeps them active.

Final Thoughts and Checklist

It's not irrational or unreasonable for someone to hold to more than one of the philosophical views outlined in this article. Again, if your child is simply looking for recreation and you are more concerned about building character or winning, conflict is bound to occur. Have a talk with your child to see why they want to play a sport. It may take some asking, but delve deeper to learn what it is they think they will get out of it.

The following are questions for parents of all philosophical persuasions to ask about sports


Robert Troutwine, Ph.D. is the founder of Troutwine & Associates, Inc., a firm best known for its consulting work with numerous sports teams and programs, including teams in the National Football League and Major League Baseball as well as major college programs. To find out more about Dr. Troutwine and his work visit www.troutwine.com or his sport specific site at www.tapsport.com.

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