Sports help kids develop important trait linked to adult success

Here’s another good reason for kids to participate in organized sports: They can develop the “grit” that helps them overcome challenges as adults, a new study suggests.

Grit is defined as the combination of passion and perseverance that helps people achieve their long-term goals. This new research found that adults who played sports as a kid scored higher on a measurement of grit than adults who didn’t play at all or said they quit.

The results suggest that the lessons children learn in sports can have a positive impact on their lives long after they grow up, said Emily Nothnagle, lead author of the study and recent graduate of The Ohio State University.

“Kids who participate in sports learn what it is like to struggle as they learn new skills, overcome challenges and bounce back from failure to try again,” Nothnagle said.

“The grit they develop playing sports can help them the rest of their lives.”

But all is not lost for adults who didn’t play as children — the study also found that adults who said they participated in sports during the past year showed more grit than those who didn’t, said study co-author Chris Knoester, associate professor of sociology at Ohio State.

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