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Why do people think playing sports improves children's self esteem?

I just registered my daughter for gymnastics and on the flyer all the benefits of gymnastics were listed including...increasing self-esteem. I notice that all sports promote this now, and I've heard parents say they've put their kids in sports for this reason as well. I don't get it. Won't it only improve self-esteem if the kid is good? If they suck, it seems as if it would decrease their self esteem, and if they're average it shouldn't make any difference at all. How does simply playing a sport improve self-esteem?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 3:37 PM on Aug. 7, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (7)
  • no it makes them part of a team it helps them make friends and do activities and be social in life. when you play sports in high school even if you suck you still get a letterman jacket your still a "jock" your still part of the cool kids and not the nerds. I played soft ball and i sucked but being part of the winning team was fun and going on the trips and stuff.

    Answer by ggiovanni at 3:42 PM on Aug. 7, 2009

  • I believe it does promote self esteem. It makes you challenge yourself and work hard to accomplish something. How could that not help to build self esteem? Even if they are not the best at whatever the sport is....shouldn't that be challenging them to do better and get better in order to help build on that self esteem? I think so.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:43 PM on Aug. 7, 2009

  • I can see how it could help you set goals and strive to do better. Don't get me wrong, I certainly see the benefits in playing sports. But to me, self-esteem seems to be more about how you feel you measure up with others in a certain area. If your good at sports your self-esteem in sports will be good. If your not good in sports your self-esteem in sports will be poor. And even if you do have good self-esteem in sports it won't necessarily transfer to other areas in your life, which seems to be the implicit message that sports organizations promote.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:49 PM on Aug. 7, 2009

  • To me self-esteem is how you feel about yourself as a person, not how your performance in a certain area of your life is, but the whole package. It's about liking the person you are and accepting who you are in every area of your life. But as far as what you are saying goes, if a kid is a good athelete, an important part of a team, that will transfer to other areas of their life. If they have confidence that they can do a backflip or hit a homerun or throw the winning touchdown, that confidence will follow them. "hey if I can do that, maybe I can do well on this test/call the boy I like/whatever they want to try". And especially with team sports making new friends is built in, there is a sense of camraderie, everyone has the same goal and they encourage each other, building each other up.

    Answer by canadianmom1974 at 4:27 PM on Aug. 7, 2009

  • op--it sounds as if you don't have very high self-esteem yourself...seems like you enrolled your daughter because everyone elses daughters are doing it, but don't really subscribe to the "sound mind and sound body" principles.

    If it were not for my particiaption in sports in the 70's I would have been a classic "screwed up kid" considering I came from a "broken home" my mother put me in foster care for the first 4 years of my life, and blamed me for no man sticking around! Yeah! I got lucky having GREAT coaches, mentors, and the GREAT team mates who had NORMAL loving parents, so I learned how ot deal with life's sucky parts, and better myself. Oh and I was AWESOME at swimming--made it to top 10 in New England in 4 events between the ages of 10 and 16. Once I could work, I saved every penny to be able to send MYSELF to swim camps.

    My self-esteem GREW because I found my niche!

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:53 PM on Aug. 7, 2009

  • Why does my question indicate that I have low self-esteem or that I enrolled my daughter in gymnastics because "everyone else is doing it"? As I stated above I think there's lots of benefits to playing sports, but I do not believe that it automatically improves your self-esteem. At least not in a way that readily transfers to other areas in life. It just seems like a catch phrase that's used by sporting organizations to get parents to sign their kids up for sports. I just find it curious that so many people seem to really buy into it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:31 PM on Aug. 7, 2009

  • It doesn't mean a child has to be good at a sport but that the child tries their best, improves and has fun. Being in an organized sport helps kids learn teamwork, being good sports (ie good winners and good losers), playing sports helps kids make friends, learn how to follow rules, listen to directions and follow those directions. What a child learns in a sport DOES transfer to all areas of life, especially later as an adult. When you are working, you need to follow rules, directions, work as part of a team, right? Well, you may have learned that is a sport. Watch a baseball game and see how a child that isn't all the good acts when they get their first hit, their first catch, their first homerun, the look of joy on their face tells it all. They are ready for the next time. When people cheer for the underdog, it helps the childs self esteem, it helps their abilities, it helps them get that first play, hit, basket, goal,etc.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 10:51 PM on Aug. 7, 2009

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