The Role of Friendships in Youth Sports

Participating in youth sports has many benefits, from increasing agility, strength, and fine motor skills, to building self-confidence. One of the best things that can come out of playing sports, though, is the relationships kids build with their peers. Sports build relationships, giving kids the opportunity to spend time with their friends, bond over their experiences, work hard together, and compete in a healthy way against each other. By participating in sports, children are able to strengthen existing friendships and create new ones. 

Why is making friends through sports such a unique experience though? Players on a team spend hours practicing or playing, and their teammates are the only ones who share that experience with them. They work and play hard together, get sweaty and dirty, compete for positions and playing time, and bond over what the coach is teaching them. Sometimes, making friends through sports leads to lifelong relationships with teammates from childhood, high school, and college. There’s something amazing about the feeling of being accepted by your peers, and this acceptance can greatly improve a child’s self-esteem. What’s more, it helps them enjoy the sport and truly have fun with their friends. 

Not every child is confident in social situations. That’s why it’s important for the coaches, parents, and other adults involved in team sports to help encourage team building, sportsmanship, and inclusion. By guiding the kids through team building activities, they can help them to build stronger connections with each other. This is especially important for children making friends on a new team, because the encouragement of the adults in charge can help kids for strong bonds. Coaches, in particular, can have a huge impact on the young athletes in their charge. By fostering a positive environment, they can help nurture friendships, improve the sporting experience for their players, and increase the kids’ self-esteem. 

Just as kids benefit from building friendships with their teammates, the impact of friendly relationships in sports can be beneficial to the team’s performance. Happy kids who enjoy playing the game, and have fun doing it, will perform better than kids who aren’t having a good time. That’s why it’s important to everyone involved in sports that the players build strong, positive relationships with each other. In addition to team-building activities- some of which may have nothing to do with the sport they’re playing at all- coaches can take other steps to help build these friendships. Coaches who understand the influence of friendships in sports will set rules that foster positivity, teaching kids to leave their disagreements outside the field and treat each other with kindness and respect. They also cheer on every member of the team, modeling good behavior for their players and encouraging everyone to cheer for each other. By helping kids to build friendships with their teammates, coaches can turn a good experience on a team into a great one. 

In addition to being good for the kids, building teams on a foundation of strong friendships is rewarding for coaches as well. The coach of a successful team gets the satisfaction of watching their players come together, work hard, and reap the rewards of that hard work. They get to see these young people grow into confident, strong players who play together well and know how to make adjustments to their game play when necessary. As the years go by, coaches have the privilege of watching their young athletes grow into adults, perhaps going on to play in college or professionally. By fostering a team culture of friendly cooperation, coaches often get to see the kids they mentored turn into adults they respect and admire.

At i9 Sports®, we believe in the importance of building community through kids’ sports. We work towards the goal of community by celebrating every player and promoting a healthy league culture where parents, coaches, and players all share the same positive attitude. Good sportsmanship is our priority, and we recognize and celebrate not only winning, but also effort and showing up for each other as teammates. We’re also mindful of family time, scheduling our practices and games on the same day so that our players can have a balanced life. 

If you’re looking for a fun experience for your kids in which they can develop athletic skills, build self-confidence, learn good sportsmanship, and forge lifelong friendships, i9 Sports® has the program for you. The best part is, we offer $10 off your next registration for every friend you refer who also signs up to play! Just refer-a-friend here and get ready for an amazing season ahead!!