When a child plays basketball, it can be fairly easy to see the skill progression that shows just how much they are learning from their time spent practicing. But there are many benefits to playing basketball that actually have nothing to do with the game itself! From physical benefits to mental ones, there are so many reasons to play basketball.

Benefits of playing basketball beyond skill development

Basketball improves heart health

The physical conditioning that comes with training to play a high-cardio sport like basketball has a lasting effects on a players’ heart. The style of aerobic activity that occurs while playing basketball helps to strengthen the heart and a healthy heart in younger kids helps to prevent against stroke and heart disease later in life.

Social skills

Basketball is a team sport so as kids play and get to know their teammates, their social skills naturally improve. Learning how to interact with each other both on and off the court will help kids learn how to create and cultivate friendships, giving them confidence to continue forming new friendships as they grow.

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Emotional development

Learning how to deal with the emotions that come along with success, failure, excitement and disappointment throughout the game helps kids to figure out how to manage their emotions and grow from them. Developing and managing emotions is an important skill that all kids should learn from a young age.

Basketball also helps to improve a players’ self esteem and confidence, as well as provides an outlet for pent up stress and aggression.

Increased physical health

The exercise that happens naturally on the basketball court leads to overall improved physical fitness. Aerobic activity leads players to burn calories and maintain a strong level of fitness while strength training improves bone health.

Jumping, landing, running, squatting and the quick movements that come with playing and practicing all put a lot of stress on the body which forces it to learn how to be more agile and flexible. This also helps to maximize bone density. In the long run these stressors help to prevent sprains and fractures as well as decreases the risks of osteoporosis.

Quick thinking skills

On the court players have to react to different plays and be able to think quickly in order to respond and keep the game moving. These quick-thinking skills are useful off the court as well.

Hand-eye coordination

Naturally, basketball involves a players’ hands, eyes and feet all working together to do everything their brain is telling them to do.  From dribbling to passing, running the court to reading a play, the hand eye coordination comes into play in all aspects of the game. This skill plays a role in everyday life, as well, so mastering it on the court has lasting effects even once the game is over.

Working with others

Basketball is a team sport and nothing that happens within the game is because of only one person. Each player has to learn how to communicate with their teammates in order to work together with them, and they also have to be open to receiving advice from the coach. Learning effective teamwork and how to respond to authority translates into skills for positive working relationships as they grow.

Youth basketball provides a lifetime of positive effects

The game of basketball is something that most kids start playing because they think it will be fun, but it’s easy to see that there are many lasting effects that the game can have on an individual. While someone can start playing at any age, it’s a good idea to start young so that skills are ingrained early. The physical, mental and emotional benefits that come with playing basketball will stay with the player for the rest of his life!