In todayís world, children are less active and are less motivated to play on their own and entertain themselves. Above all, most children today are sedentary unless pushed by their parents to partake in an extracurricular activity. Parents have to drive their children to their extracurricular activities and they have to encourage their children to continue participating in the activity. Children and teens can also participate in school sports teams that are accessible for all students. These activities are usually organized by teachers, coaches and volunteers.

Sports activities such as school basketball, soccer and floor hockey are available, just to name a few. It is always a great way for children to socialize with their peers, improve athletic skills and move. According to studies, sports participants learn to cooperate with their teammates, take instruction from coaches and develop the three Pís: patience, practice and persistence. In addition, physical activity provides real health benefits for children and teens (source: education.com).

Students have many opportunities to join sports teams in school. Joining a sport has countless benefits such as socializing with their friends, making new friends, having a better body image and improving self-esteem and confidence. Social media also plays a big role in how children socialize in todayís world. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter keep kids up to date on what is happening with their peers and what is going on in the Ďrealí world. Todayís youth seem to be constantly plugged to their devices. By playing sports after school and when they are on the field or in the school gym, they are spending less time on their devices and making more human connections with people. They are living in the moment instead of experiencing or living out their youth online.

Raffaele Venturino, soccer coach and owner of Passion Soccer Boutique, offers some sound advice to parents on how children and teens can benefit greatly from participating in school sports and how a coach can have a great influence on them. ďAs a coach, I strongly believe that I play an important role in the childrenís lives and there are several areas in which I, as a coach need to be a role model,Ē he says.

Venturino believes that coaches influence children positively. For example, as a coach he demonstrates good sportsmanship; this means showing respect and courtesy to opponents and officials. Coaches have to uphold their appearance with appropriate attire and always be professional. He is also dependable to his team, by showing up on time and showing the teammates respect. This tactic also carries over to the players as they are expected to perform and show up for practice on time.

A coach must also promote positive attitudes, because they do breed optimism. If the team is positive, even in a losing game, then there is a sense of hope for future efforts. A coach also demonstrates a healthy lifestyle. As a role model, a coach helps steer children away from smoking, drugs and alcohol. Finally, Venturino says sports provide students with a sense of identity, regardless of your body type or fitness level. ďWhen you pull on your schoolís shirt, you are part of a family: you belong,Ē he says.

Coaches and parents must encourage students to get moving for a lifetime of benefits!