Going pro, and signing a big headphone deal with Beats is not one of the reasons why kids need contact sports. Toughening them up and turning them into manly men is another reason that didn’t make the list. First, I am not convinced that chasing a ball for a living is the most valuable thing you can do with your life. Second, contact sports are not just for males. The other 50% should not be relegated to the sidelines, waving their pompoms to raise the level of cheer. The benefits of contact sports are universal. If you don’t think so, you haven’t considered these three reasons:
One of the best ways to teach kids how to be safe is by enrolling them into an organized contact sport. Football is perhaps the most violent, mainstream contact sport. You cannot even take the practice field without wearing a very expensive, high-tech suit of armor. Before a practice session of any sport begins, participants must go through a series of warmup exercises to further decrease the possibility of injury. In organized sports, there is always someone around who knows what to do in the event of injury.
Not only is safety practiced at every level of contact sports, it is taught. In many sports, one of the first things kids learn to do is fall properly, that is to say, fall without being injured. There is a right way and a wrong way to take a fall. That is one of the best lessons your kids can learn at as young of an age as possible. They also learn how to deliver effective, but non-injurious contact to another player. A person trained in the techniques of contact sports is far less likely to be injured, or injure someone else on a playground than the kids without formal training.
Fortunately, much of the same equipment used in organized leagues is available for purchase for general play. A pick-up game of hockey can be made just as safe when playing on the street as it is on ice when playing in a league. No well-trained kid will want to play goalie without a mask in any setting.
Safe outlets for aggression
There are minor scuffles and fisticuffs in schools all over the world, every single day they are in session. Boys are usually the culprits due to excessive levels of testosterone. Girls, however, can also be extremely violent, and are often found in the middle of brawls.
Experts agree that kids need safe outlets for aggression. They just do not agree on what that should be. Allow me to suggest contact sports as one of the safest, organized, and supervised outlets available. A contact game is watched by hundreds of fans and peers, teammates, coaches on both sides, umpires and referees, and parents. Too much violence is heavily penalized.
Contact sports also do what video games cannot. They get kids off the couch and into the real world where real actions have real consequences. Video games tease violence without providing satisfaction. Contact sports teach kids how to vent violence in appropriate ways, and provide controls and boundaries for that violence. Contact sports never encourages injuring other players. It teaches violence without injury to either party. Video games simulate arenas of maiming and killing.
There is confidence. Then there’s physical confidence. Physical confidence is about knowing the capabilities and limits of your own body. It is about being agile and dexterous. It is about not being easily intimidated by another person due to physicality.
A physically confident person walks, talks, and interacts in a certain way that gives them presence in any situation. This is especially important for females, which are often the targets of inappropriate male aggression. Females that are not physically confident are easy targets for all kinds of victimization. Physically confident females know how to throw a punch and hold their own when necessary. They also know how to run and keep their balance. They are not set up for failure, but for survival.
We live in a rough and tumble world. Prepare your kids with the skills to master it.