Participating in team sports isn’t just beneficial to a child’s physical health. In addition to strengthening the heart, the lungs, and the muscles, playing a team sport such as soccer can also have a positive effect on a young person’s developing mind. This can be especially true for children who are the victims of bullying, whether in the schoolroom, on the playground, or at home. Playing soccer can help to counteract the negative effects of bullying and build a stronger, more resilient personality. Here are just a few of the ways that joining a soccer team can help your child to overcome the bullies in their lives.
Better Social Skills and Support
Group sports are a great way to introduce kids to others within their age group, especially those who are shy or have difficulty meeting new people. Joining a soccer team can give kids the support group they need to cope with the effects of bullying and avoid being ostracized. According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids involved in team sports are less likely to get bullied. They also experience less stress from being bullied and are more likely to stand up for themselves in a confrontational situation.
A Greater Sense of Confidence
Part of the reason why children who play sports are more likely to stand up for themselves is their sense of confidence. According to researchers at the University of Gothenburg, team sports increase confidence in children and protect against signs of anxiety and depression. Boys who participated at least once per week showed a lower incidence of poor mental health. While the results weren’t quite as strong for girls, regular exercise by playing team sports seems to be beneficial to developing minds.
With a greater sense of confidence comes higher self-esteem. Children who play sports tend to feel better about themselves. Regular exercise can help to reduce the likelihood of body image issues and give children a supportive social network that will reinforce their feeling of self-worth. The release of endorphins during exercise also gives kids a mood boost and helps to keep them feeling happy and healthy.
Bullying can have both a long-term effect on a growing child, both mentally and physically. Joining a team sport such as soccer can go a long way towards helping kids cope with being the victim of a bully. Playing soccer can help kids learn to be friendly and confident well into adulthood.