The incredible benefits of unstructured sports

I was always outside playing sports with my neighborhood friends when I was a kid, but today it seems like the only place kids play together is on organized teams.

There’s a lot to be said about kids playing sports without it being on an organized team. Surprising, there’s a whole lot of learning and developing going on when there isn’t a coach around directing and instructing.

Kids are more likely to test their athletic boundaries in this type of environment. With only their own expectations to meet, they become more creative, comfortable, and confident, they discover and appreciate the joy of sports, they learn to play passionately and instinctively. Playing on their own is a natural way of learning and improving athletic ability. Think of it as their training camp for organized sports.

On the life-skill side, kids learn to work things out without being told what to do or how to do it. They learn to get along and to respect each other’s space without anybody telling them how to act. In essence, they’re learning how to cope with their surroundings as they pursue what they like to do. Non-structured sports is serious business for young kids and society itself.

Organized sports are great, but not if that’s the only time kids play sports together. Coaches make every move, umpires make every call – nothing for the young kids to work out at all.

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3 Comments on “The incredible benefits of unstructured sports”

  1. GT Says:

    Great post, Gary.

  2. ix3sports Says:

    From an athletic development standpoint, I think the value of unstructured game play is clear. In soccer, the most skilled and creative players come from environments where they spend more of their time playing “street” soccer than organized club soccer. This seems to hold true for basketball players in the U.S as well. Players who grew up primarily on the playgrounds have “instincts” for the game that are more highly developed than players whose experience is limited to adult-led, organized play. The trick is to apply the instincts developed through unstructured play in organized, codified sport.

    Nice post!

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