by Nikki Adams
In this column, we look at five important reasons why every girl should play basketball.
Sports provides children with a vital outlet to keep them active while having fun and learning valuable life skills. Studies have shown that physical activity has an immense impact on children’s physical health, development and psychological health. And sport itself helps develop a number of important skills, including social skills. So, it follows that basketball, just like any other sport, is a great activity to take up. Below we list the general benefits of sport and a few benefits of basketball specifically.
1. Physical Health
Playing sport has a number of physical benefits. It helps develop and strengthen muscles, bones and joints and it improves general fitness. It also has cardiovascular benefits and controls body fat. One of the greatest risks to children’s health these days is type 2 diabetes. Playing sport or being active in general can help children avoid the risk of developing the disease.
2. Mental Health
Mental health is a prevalent issue and a growing concern amongst today’s youth. Sport provides a whole raft of mental health benefits that are essential to maintaining a feeling of well-being. Physical activity can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It helps with awareness,, attentiveness and performance in general. Additionally, physical activity improves quality of sleep, which is also important to mental health.
3. Social Skills
Sport is particularly great with developing social skills when played in a team environment. Kids learn how to interact with each other in a positive setting while also learning how to work as a group. Teamwork is an important life lesion that will serve children in their adulthood. The ability to follow rules and work in unison towards a common goal.
Friendships formed by playing sports together are important in the development of children and can lead to lifelong bonds. Kids playing sport ultimately are having fun and there is no better tonic to life than enjoyment and doing things that give pleasure. As well, sport helps build self-esteem, confidence, independence and leadership skills, which are invaluable in life.
All sports are based on fundamental principles of fair play, sportsmanlike conduct and respect. These are values that are character building and are of enormous benefit to children as they grow up and become the best humans they can be.
4. College Scholarships
Basketball is a great sport for kids in their formative years, but it can also be an advantage later in life as a springboard to a college education. Playing high school basketball can lead to a scholarship at one of the 341 member colleges and universities that make up the NCAA Division I. These schools are the powerhouses of college sports, attracting the best athletes in the country to compete for some of the top championships in the women’s game. These attract national media attention and the NCAAB lines across sports betting platforms attract the punditocracy in droves.
Getting a scholarship to one of these schools is no mean feat, though there are a limited number of scholarships for men and women. However, getting one can provide life-altering opportunities after graduation. NCAA Division I colleges and universities represent some of the best academic institutions in the country, but there are smaller colleges and universities divided between the lower divisions as well. There are NCAA Division II colleges and universities that include 291 programs for women, and NCAA Division III colleges and universities that include 425 women’s basketball programs. As well, the lesser profile NAIA, which is comprised of smaller colleges and universities across the country that have a less well-known profile.
The Women’s NBA is on the rise and garnering more and more attention domestically and internationally. WNBA may not be at the same level of the NBA, but it’s heading in the right direction. The ultimate goal of the WNBA is to reach pay equity and independence from the NBA. Diana Taurasi and A’ja Wilson are names that might not be tripping off everyone’s tongue with the same frequency as some of the NBA’s biggest stars like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, but that’s the goal and mandate of Cathy Engelbert, the WNBA commissioner. Practically everyone in America and the world knows Megan Rapinoe, one of the best women soccer players on the planet. So, surely, it’s only a matter of time before women basketball players will reach a similar pinnacle of fame and international acclaim.
Engelbert has made some key improvements since taking the role of WNBA commissioner in 2019, from settling a collective bargaining agreement to raise player compensation to WBNA’s push into the world of sports betting. ESPN has committed to the WNBA, with viewership reportedly rising over the last couple of years.