Today I’d like to talk about the benefits of supplementing youth sports with martial arts training!
My Martial Arts instructor friends from all around often notice a trend revolving around youth sports. Children and Parents often jump the gun and switch from one sport to another, sometimes putting a hold or quitting martial arts training completely. It is easy to see why: “Transportation is hard”, “Scheduling is difficult”, “Workload is too much” are often what we hear.
I am not here to tell you that these challenges hold no weight. Instead, I’d like to talk about some of the benefits of supplementing these sports with martial arts training, and let you decide for yourself if the benefits are worth the added effort.
I grew up playing baseball and basketball. I still love both sports to this day. I can honestly say that martial arts and traditional sports are mutually beneficial. Each sport develops its athletes for a specific purpose, that could be getting the ball to the other side of the court, being the first person to the end of the pool, or the first to the finish line. For each of these goals, coaches drill and rep exercises and body movements that will fulfill these singular purposes. Martial arts will help to fill in the gaps when it comes to physical development, either building gross motor skills or finer muscular control and attention to detail. Through kata training and the correct physical exercises, martial arts focus on developing the entire body because we never know which techniques we will have to employ when it comes to self-defense. We also place an emphasis on attention to detail and micro-movements. It has been observed that our students begin to show this awareness in other sports as well!
Another great benefit is that kids are extremely creative! This means that they are more likely to implement movements and strategies they learn while in the dojo! This “thinking outside the box” mentality will give our students the edge when in competition because they have a larger toolbox from which to draw. With that advantage, they will find it easier to maneuver and push through tough situations.
Team sports can also be highly focused on group competition which is great! Because of this, they will become better teammates and acquire more grit and tenacity. Martial arts training also excels at this while also including valuable focus on personal character development and empathy. So while the intensity of competition will drive them to high levels of accomplishment, they will maintain a balanced and humble mindset that will continue to set them up for success!
Just as a quick side note: If you find yourself with a scheduling conflict between martial arts and a traditional sport, come talk to us. We may be able to come up with a creative solution that will work.