Kids Gymnastics

Published: 09/27/2023 - 8:00 AM

Many children love to run around and play, either on their own or with friends and siblings. Joining a sports program can help them remain active and make new friends. Check out this guide for tips on choosing the best youth sport for your child. 

What Are Some Benefits of Youth Sports?

Youth sports is a large field that applies to any sporting activity for boys and girls under 19. Youth sports include basketball, football, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, gymnastics, cheerleading, tennis, swimming, and archery. There are many benefits to participating in youth sports, such as:

  • Better health and fitness: Children who play sports can maintain a healthy weight, resulting in fewer health problems. They'll also find it easier to stay fit as adults.
  • Enhanced self-esteem: Playing sports encourages children to achieve things they thought impossible. Doing something challenging increases their self-esteem and confidence, which carries over to other aspects of their lives.
  • Less anxiety and stress: Regular exercise can reduce stress levels in children and adults. So, children who grow up playing sports can fight stress and anxiety later in life.
  • Improved social skills: Children who play a team sport must learn to work with others to accomplish their goals. Teamwork allows them to make friends easier and encourages communication. Additionally, children learn to follow directions, accept criticism, and overcome differences and disagreements.
  • Stronger leadership skills: Kids develop leadership skills when they play on teams. They'll learn to support others and provide constructive feedback.
  • Better emotional health: Children learn to manage their emotions when they play a sport. For instance, if they become frustrated with themselves or a teammate, they must control their outbursts and find a productive way to communicate their feelings.
  • Greater sense of community: Many people make lifelong friends from their community in youth sports leagues.

7 Tips for Choosing the Right Youth Sports Program for Your Kid

Here are seven tips to help you decide which children's sports program in the greater Philadelphia area is best for your child. 

1. Decide Between Individual and Group Sports

You can narrow the choices by deciding on individual or group sports. Some children work well with others and find it more fun to participate in a team sport. They also might feel less pressured. Other children may prefer individual sports, especially if they are more independent or competitive.

2. Decide Between Contact and Non-Contact Sports

Another way to eliminate choices is deciding if you and your child are fine with contact sports. If you both are, consider sports like football, baseball, basketball and soccer. Non-contact sports are more individual and include tennis, swimming and running.

3. Consider Their Activity Level

Consider whether your child has high or low energy levels. Some children love to run around and burn off energy, yet still complain about boredom. Others prefer to spend their free time doing low-impact activities like drawing and reading. If your child has a high-energy level, they might enjoy a fast-paced sport like soccer, basketball, hockey or football. Your child might prefer an individual sport like swimming, tennis or golf if they aren't interested in contact sports or running for very long.

4. Consider Their Physical Traits


Many teams need various players. But some activities may suit some children more than others. For instance, a tall and broad-shouldered child may make an excellent football player, while a smaller kid could become amazing at soccer.

However, your child's physical traits alone should never be a deciding factor — anyone can play football if they're passionate about it. If your child isn't particularly passionate about a sport, you can consider their physicality to find a sport that suits them. 

5. Find Sports They Enjoy

There's no rule that says your child has to pick one sport and stick with it. Instead, they can try as many as they want to see what interests them and what comes naturally to them. Participating in a sport they don't enjoy may make kids resistant to attending practices and can frustrate them if they'd rather be doing something else. 

Here are some tips for finding sports your kids enjoy:

  • Consider their attitudes when watching sports: Some children are on the edge of their seats when they watch baseball, while others have to keep themselves from jumping up in excitement when football is on the TV. If your child loves watching a particular sport, they may want to play it. 
  • Go to local sports games: If your child isn't an avid sports fan, you can introduce them to sports by taking them to local games. Then, ask them what they like about the sport and if they want to play.
  • Play different sports with them: Take them to a basketball court, kick around a soccer ball in the backyard, or head to a baseball diamond to toss the ball around. Be mindful of your child's attitude during each sport. If they seem frustrated most of the time, that probably isn't the sport for them. After all, sports are meant to be fun!

6. Practice With Them

When your child is learning a sport, you can practice with them. Kicking around the ball, playing catch or practicing dribbles is a great way to spend quality time with your child and helps them learn necessary skills in a safe environment. If you're unfamiliar with the sport they choose, you can learn together. 

7. Meet the Coaches

Your child's coach is their mentor and supporter. It's vital to ensure the coaching staff are fit to guide and teach your child. Watch the coaches during a game to learn their coaching style. Coaching styles differ, so you want to like their style and find it beneficial for your child.

The primary aspects to consider about the coach are how they give instructions, run practices and games, and develop players. You can also contact the coach before signing your child up. Coaches have a significant impact on players, so research the coach beforehand to ensure their impact is positive.


Check Out Youth Sports in the Greater Philadelphia Region

At the Y, our youth sports programming allows your child to learn about the sport, begin to understand the game, learn the sport etiquette, take direction from a coach, and make new friends. Staying active in your community is one of the best benefits of youth sports. And there's no better way to stay involved in your community than by joining the Greater Philadelphia YMCA sports programs.

The Y is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting people to healthier lives and giving back to the community. We offer team sports like basketball, soccer, hockey, flag football and volleyball, as well as individual sports like martial arts, dance, tee-ball, tennis, swimming, and gymnastics. Learn more about our youth programs and sports leagues, and find a Y near you to get started. Consider checking out our family memberships so you and your kids can enjoy our amenities and programs together.