What are your children doing when the school bell sounds? When it comes to playing on a sports team, the benefits can be huge.

Keeps Grades Up and Kids Out of Trouble
In a 2015 research brief, Active Living Research found that physical activity can have immediate and long-term benefits on a child’s academic performance. The researchers also mention a study in which students enrolled in an exercise program were more likely to increase their performance on standardized tests than those who were not.

Also, as a member of a school sports team, students are motivated to keep their behavior in check and complete their schoolwork on time. “Kids know that if they don’t complete their work or get into trouble, then they can’t play on the team,” explains Reno Vaccaro, a Laval coach.

Promotes Confidence, Positive Self-Esteem, and a Sense of Belonging
By scoring, assisting on a goal, winning a game, or simply getting a pat on the back, a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence can improve dramatically. Even the feeling of being part of a team can give a child a sense of belonging and in turn, boost his or her confidence. “Some kids who were more timid before starting on our team are now very proud and confident. When they are in a tournament or win a medal over the weekend, they can wear their team jerseys on Monday. Since they get to be different from the rest of the students who are in uniform, it makes them feel proud,” says Vaccaro.

Builds Relationships and Positive Role Models
Teammates get to know each other as they work toward a common goal: winning. These interactions can turn into friendships that might not have developed outside of the locker room. In addition, they are also building relationships with students of different grades. So, younger children get to know those who are older and can look up to them as positive role models.

Provides Regular Exercise While Teaching Patience
Children practice a tremendous number of hours to prepare for their games. This not only provides them with more exercise than those students only getting physical activity during gym class, but it also teaches them that practice makes perfect. Children must practice regularly with determination and patience if they wish to improve their skills and learn how to work effectively with their teammates.

Teaches Control and Self-Discipline
Some might argue that playing sports, especially contact sports, might lead to a child becoming more aggressive or prone to start fights; however playing on such teams can actually teach children how to control their frustration. “Children learn that their penalties are negatively affecting their team, so they learn discipline, respect, and how to control their emotions,” states Vaccaro. Controlling their tempers can thus lead to fewer outbursts on and off the game.

Not only do team sports keep your child busy and active, but they can provide so many more benefits. They are clearly a great way to spend time outside of the classroom.