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Kids aren't the only ones who benefit from youth sports--their parents do, too

September 1, 2009 |  1:10 pm

Organized youth sports can be great for kids, since it teaches them sportsmanship, discipline, and the importance of staying in shape.

Kp7bz8nc But they're not the only ones who benefit--parents do too, according to a new study that discovered team sports offer a number of advantages for moms and dads.

Researchers from the department of health and kinesiology at Purdue University in Indiana conducted focus groups with 26 parents of children age 6 to 15 who were involved in youth sports to see the effects of their participation.

Parents changed in numerous ways, it turns out. One of the most notable was that their kids' involvement in sports prompted them to become active, too. One woman said, "My littlest wants to play tennis, so [I] go out and play tennis now and I never would have done that." While parents often had to schlep their kids to and from practices and games and sit and wait while they played, it wasn't all for naught: Some parents found it helped them adopt time management strategies.

Engaging in their children's team play also gave parents an increased awareness and knowledge of sports, and they became more interested in it. Some parents also took stock of their behavior in the bleachers. Said one mother, "[My son] did tell me one time, 'Mom, I could hear you, you were loud.' You know, that made me reevaluate a little how I was looking to the others around me. I don't want to be that mom, you know, so, I tried to pipe it down a little bit."

Ah, if only more parents were so self-aware.

The study appears in the August issue of the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: Larry French / Getty Images