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What Sport Should Your Child Play?

First Posted: May 28, 2015, 8:51 p.m. CST
Last Updated: June 25, 2015, 5:19 p.m. CST


Soon–to–be soccer moms or baseball dads, listen up. If you're wondering which sport you should raise your child playing, basketball is the answer. Baseball isn't enough cardio, and football and hockey are way too dangerous. Below are 5 reasons your child should play basketball. It is a hobby that your child can carry with him or her throughout the rest of their lives, and it is something they will truly thank you for later in life.

  1. LifeLong Exercise

    I grew up playing basketball. I thought I might become an NBA star. I'm 5'8. Silly me. How was I supposed to know? But even though I grew up to be a layperson, basketball stuck with me. It is something I can still do for fun and for exercise, and at the local gym or the blacktop at the park, I can be a basketball star... for the rest of my life. In very few other sports can you just walk on for a pick-up game. Try playing adult football. You have to find a full-on league, and even that is damn near impossible. And sports like baseball and volleyball hardly provide enough cardiovascular exercise to stimulate health benefits. The recommendation is that individuals get their heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day. An outfielder runs only when the baseball or softball is hit, and in her general direction no less.

  2. Confidence

    Basketball is a sport where you have to pick and choose your shots. Choose a battle big enough to matter and small enough to win. If you watch the NBA, you'll know that basketball is a team sport. There are ball hogs, there are Michael Jordans, and there are teams that pass the ball. There are bench players that step up and make contributions at crucial times. There are point guards that have to become scorers when the star big man is getting shut down. When there is an open lane, you have to take it. When life presents an opportunity to you, you have to take it. Everyone needs to develop a sense of self-confidence to be able to contribute individually. If you're open, you need to take the shot. That's true even if you've missed the last five shots. You are the only one who knows how much shooting practice you've had. It's your responsibility, so responsibility is what you need to take. Nothing is a bigger confidence builder than knowing what you need to do, and doing it, even if you don't want to for fear of failure.

  3. Judgment, Decision-making, and Intelligence

    In American football, the quarterback is the brain surgeon and the star. All everyone else does is push, shove, tackle, and hit. The quarterback is considered the leader, head, and manager of the team. In basketball, on the other hand, everyone is a quarterback. Everyone needs to be aware of the whereabouts of all the other teammates, and even the big man needs to pass the ball by kicking it out for a three pointer. Just like Peyton Manning, every player on the basketball court needs to be able to dissect the defense with pass fakes, pump fakes, and psych outs. Every player needs to be cerebral enough to strategically decide whether to pass, shoot, or drive.

  4. Teamwork, Communication, and Money

    Yes, money. No, I'm not talking about the NBA, or even college athletic scholarships, although those are always a possibility for a select few talented individuals. I'm talking about the J–O–B. Employers love team players. What better teamwork experience could someone have than playing on a basketball team? It is a sport where communication is key to team success; you have to call screens, flag when you are coming to set a screen versus coming to receive a pass, and communicate whether you are switching on the defense or staying man-to-man. The biggest reason an employee gets fired is not for inadequate task performance, but for not playing well with others, and poor expectations management due to lack of communication. Your boss will not know that you are swamped with work if you don't tell him. Your teammates may not know to make a cut when the defense sets a trap and you're double-covered... if you don't yell at them. No team, on the court or at the corporate office, succeeds without teamwork and communication.

  5. Relatively low risk

    In hockey, players fly around as fast as a car, with sharp knives on their feet. If you don't think this is dangerous, then ask yourself why they allow fighting in the rink. It's because, like a pressure cooker, letting off steam slowly is much safer than letting the thing explode. And, just like football, hitting is allowed. The hits are probably even harder and faster than in football, where players sustain brain injuries that creep up on them later in life. In football, some players, such as linemen, clash helmets every single play. That's their job and their sole purpose on the field. U.S. News: Former NFL players who played tackle football before age 12 appear ‘significantly’ more likely to suffer memory loss and mental health issues than those who begin playing later, according to a new study published in the run up to the Super Bowl.

    But even non-head injuries plague the field. This is why wide receivers and running backs often have their careers cut short very quickly, and the lifespan of football players’ careers in general is relatively short, except for the quarterback. So even if the injury is not one that will last a lifetime, it will certainly put a damper on your exercise routine.

  6. Basketball, on the other hand, is a low contact sport. Fouls are called if a player is bumped while dribbling the ball, or if their arm is touched while shooting the ball. Sure, the game is physical enough where a size advantage helps and where players get continuous exercise, and yes, injuries do to occur. But very rarely, if ever, do we see brain injuries that last a lifetime.



This article was written by Brehnen Wong.

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