Kids Benefit By Playing Baseball
Kids who join a baseball team for the first time may be thinking about all the fun they will have playing games. Hitting the ball, running the bases, making plays in the field, and sliding into home plate are some of the highlight reels that may be playing through their minds. While all of these moments are an integral part of the game, and highlighted in children's baseball books, there are many other experiences on that will ultimately shape their childhood and prepare them for what lies ahead.
Valuable Lessons Taught By Baseball
Introducing children to this fun sport often happens from the time they are tiny toddlers, usually through kids' baseball gifts and toys bestowed upon little ones for birthdays and other celebrations. By the time children are ready to join a team, they have probably already enjoyed a hot dog at a professional game or watched the World Series on television. Yet none of these experiences prepare them for the life-changing lessons they will learn by participating in the game themselves.
- Baseball teaches kids how to handle disappointment and failure. While this may not be the primary reason parents sign their children up to play on a team for the first time, they will quickly learn that failure is as much a part of the game as success. Striking out at the plate is inevitable. Kids need to learn how to swallow their disappointment, hold their heads high, and try again next time. The same is true for balls they drop and other errors made in the field. Easy balls roll under legs, simple pop-ups fall at feet instead of into gloves, and balls are often overthrown. When this happens, kids often get mad at themselves and feel discouraged. This emotional reaction is normal and healthy as long as they learn to control outbursts and learn from the experience.
- Children learn how to perform under pressure. Lots of kids feel nervous when they are standing at the plate facing a pitcher. Sometimes the outcome of an entire game depends on whether the batter gets a hit or strikes out. Even when the stakes are not as high, it is still common for children to feel anxious when it's their turn to take a swing. Knowing that everyone in the stands and in the dugouts are watching is nerve-wracking. The fear of striking out in front of everyone is very real. At the same time, the prospect of hitting a home run fuels the emotional rollercoaster. This kind of pressure is part of almost every sport. For example, kids' soccer books capture the stress a goalie feels every time the ball approaches the goal line. Experiencing this type of pressure at a young age has lifelong benefits. Kids may feel stress taking exams, interviewing for jobs, speaking publicly, and in a whole lot of additional scenarios. Learning how to handle this uncomfortable feeling on the baseball field will help them cope in other situations.
- Kids figure out how to be team players. Every single player on a baseball team contributes to the outcome of the game. One person is never single-handedly responsible for a win or a loss, even in situations when a single player's home run or a strike-out ends the game. While that final play may be the last straw, the outcome of the game is really based on the collective effort of all the teammates. Once players understand this concept, they are on the path to becoming great team players. They provide words of encouragement to those who mess up and cheer loudly when others have an amazing play in the field. Also, they understand that their own successes and mistakes are just part of the larger picture. Playing on a baseball team teaches them the importance of teamwork, a lesson that will carry over into school, work, and other areas of their lives. For more reading about being part of a team, check out the best children's books about basketball, too.
- Life is unpredictable and so is baseball. The only thing that is guaranteed in life is that nothing stays the same forever. Friends come and go, families get together and split apart, good health can be fleeting, jobs force families to move to new places, old dogs die and new puppies make families whole again. The bottom line is that kids need to learn resilience during times of uncertainty and change. In a single game of baseball, players face an incredible amount of surprises and unpredictable events. Batters face any number of surprise pitches. Fielders have to be ready at any moment for a ball to come their way. Underdogs win games and the better teams lose plenty. Believe it or not, all of these experiences on the baseball field prepare children to handle all the curve balls life throws at them.