Baseball is one of the most popular sports and provides great entertainment for players all around the world. In addition to the entertainment, there are many physical and mental benefits of baseball games. Similar to other sports, baseball can transform strangers into best friends.
When it comes to youth baseball players, joining a baseball team will introduce them to kids from all different backgrounds. Being teammates will create a bond that will last throughout their baseball journey and possibly forever.
Benefits of Playing Baseball
Baseball provides many health benefits for players. Undoubtedly, it improves physical condition which contributes substantially to good health. In addition to the physical benefits, baseball also provides mental benefits. The mental benefits are not always as apparent as the physical benefits but being part of a team, maintaining friendships, and competing help avoid some of the negative everyday distractions which then results in positive mental health.
The mental benefits of playing baseball can occur pretty quickly. Players can immediately feel an improvement in mood when they step onto the baseball field for a game with their teammates. Even in the unfortunate cases where the outcome is a loss, this helps build mental toughness in the safe confines of a baseball game.
Improves the mind
There’s no question that baseball athletes get mental happiness from playing baseball. You can see it in youth players, high school players, and even major league players. Once they get on the field, each baseball player can change their mental focus to enjoying the game and forget about any issues off the field. Additionally, the physical activity involved in playing baseball results in the body releasing endorphins. Endorphins have been scientifically shown to diminish pain and increase feelings of happiness and pleasure.
Team sports such as baseball require maintaining strong friendships with teammates and this socialization also results in improved mental health. Of course, winning some games together will amplify this happiness but having fun is always part of baseball regardless of the outcome.
Reduces depression and stress
Some depression can occur from loneliness and being a part of a baseball team means you’ll have friends around regularly. The team will be together frequently at practices, games, and celebrations. Additionally, baseball requires great focus and concentration on every play. This mental focus will allow players to clear their minds of other stresses.
One other great benefit to baseball is that you don’t even need to be involved in a game to relieve stress. Grabbing your favorite baseball bat and visiting the batting cage is a great way to improve your skills and also clear your mind at the same time. Additionally, you and a friend can throw on your baseball gloves and play some catch which is also an awesome way to spend time together and relieve some stress.
Ensures sound sleep
When you look for the top ways to improve your health, good sleep is always one of the most important factors. However, many people suffer from not being able to get good sleep. The physical activity that baseball requires ensures players will be fatigued which improves their chances of falling asleep and staying asleep.
Consistently engaging in physical activity will have a compound effect that leads to better and better sleep, giving players emotional benefits.
Makes you confident
Playing sports requires building many different skillsets. In baseball, you’ll be learning how to hit, catch a fly ball, catch a ground ball, and so many other strategic plays. As players build on each of these skills, it greatly boosts their confidence. This confidence not only contributes to being better players on the field but also makes them more confident off the field.
Practice makes perfect and baseball requires tuning your concentration often. A batter needs to hit a small baseball coming at incredible speeds; one of the most difficult things to do in sports. This requires intense concentration in timing the pitch perfectly and getting contact with the ball.
A pitcher needs to concentrate on all the mechanics of throwing a good pitch while also being attentive to runners on base. Additionally, the pitcher also needs to be aware of where to go if the ball is hit. Similarly, fielders need to concentrate on fielding the ball when it’s hit to them or knowing where to run to on the field if the ball is not hit to them.
No matter which position you play, there will be many times when you’ll have to lead your team. This is especially true for a pitcher since a pitcher will be part of every play on defense. A strong performance by a pitcher can boost the confidence of every fielder.
Additionally, every player at every position will at some point be part of a critical play that can lead their team to victory. As players grow their confidence, they’ll also be able to boost the morale of their teammates just through encouragement and praise. These new leadership skills will also translate well in situations outside of baseball.
Increases academic skill
When you think of sports, you’re likely not thinking about academics. However, when playing baseball, there are many strategies and statistics involved that will improve your academic skills. When you’re computing batting averages, earned run average, etc…, you’re sharpening your math skills and at the time you have an important measurement to use for tracking your progress.
Studying all these statistics will also contribute to different strategies. Fielders may shift to different areas on the field based on a batter’s statistics. For example, if you see that the current batter is more of a power hitter that hits deep fly balls, the outfielders can shift further back. This is all based on the numbers and probabilities of certain events occurring. These types of brain exercises will improve your team’s chances of succeeding on the field as well as solving complex problems off the field.
Social benefits of baseball
We’ve already discussed that baseball is a team sport and being part of a team is an excellent opportunity for socialization. If players start in youth leagues and continue playing as they get older, they’ll likely form many new friendships that will allow them to grow and learn new things.
Sports participation, in general, is one of the best ways to socialize since you’ll be exposed to many new people. Not only will you be creating friendships with your teammates, but you’ll also be meeting players from the opposing teams.
Improves hand-eye coordination
Hand-eye coordination is a very important cognitive skill used in most daily activities. In baseball, every play requires good hand-eye coordination so as players practice and improve their baseball skills, they’re also improving their hand-eye coordination.
One example of this would be a fielder catching the ball. In order to catch the ball, a fielder has to visualize where the ball is headed and then line up the glove accordingly. Similarly, to make contact with the ball, a batter would have to visualize where a pitch is headed and then swing the bat accordingly.
Gives kids a better future
Research shows that kids who play baseball live longer healthier lives. This makes sense since baseball has a positive impact on mental and physical health. Baseball games can last a few hours and this provides a significant amount of cardio exercise, muscle building, and mental focus.
Additionally, as we’ve discussed above, baseball increases academic skills so players can be better prepared to pursue college degrees that can significantly improve their future.
One of the keys to success is to respect your coach, your teammates, and the umpires. There will be some tense moments where this may be difficult but these will provide opportunities for youth players to learn. Young players will inevitably make mistakes and their teammates might not initially show respect for them. Over time, they’ll learn that making mistakes is part of the game and with this, they’ll start to show respect for each other.
Additionally, baseball has many rules that players must respect or risk negatively impacting their team. Learning to respect these rules will prepare them for respecting rules outside of baseball. These other rules can have more serious negative consequences if not respected.
Being an athlete is one of the best ways to achieve and maintain physical fitness. You get to enjoy playing a sport and at the same time, you get significant health benefits from the physical activity it involves. In baseball, there are many ways players get physical benefits and when combined with all of the mental benefits, players will achieve success both on and off the ballfield.
Keeps your body fit
One of the great benefits of playing a sport is that you can increase body fitness while enjoying it. Baseball requires many different physical activities that help build muscle and burn fat. From building arm strength throwing a ball to sprinting around the bases and across the field, each play contributes to strengthening a different part of your body.
These actions compound with each practice and each game as having a fit body encourages players to work harder and harder.
Makes your arms stronger
Playing baseball requires many different arm movements. When throwing the ball, you’ll be strengthening many different muscles in your arm, chest, and shoulder. When batting, you’ll also be using many muscles in your arms during your swing. Even when fielding, you’ll be moving your arms in many directions which will increase physical strength in your arms.
In addition to strengthening each muscle, players will also gain flexibility. Having more flexibility provides additional strength and also lessens the chance of injury.
Makes your legs stronger
Playing a few hours of baseball will strengthen many different leg muscles. From sprinting around the bases to running around the field and even squatting down to field a ball, players will be frequently exercising muscles such as their glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles.
The majority of baseball games are played outdoors and therefore players will be exposed to plenty of sunlight. In the United States, a significant portion of the population is vitamin D deficient and sunlight is one of the best ways to increase vitamin D levels. Sufficient vitamin D is essential for the human body as it is useful in absorbing and metabolizing calcium and phosphorus.
Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular exercise is extremely important for cardiovascular disease control and prevention. Baseball requires many short bursts of running throughout a full game and games can last a few hours. This type of cardio exercise strengthens the heart muscle and also improves lung capacity.
When thinking about physical fitness, calorie intake and burning calories likely come to mind. During a baseball game, someone who weighs 160 pounds can burn about 364 calories per hour (estimate according to the calorie calculator over at healthstatus). As we’ve mentioned, baseball requires many different body movements in addition to running. This not only burns calories during play but also boosts your metabolism which helps burn extra calories throughout the day.
Improves joint flexibility
Having joint flexibility is crucial to building strength and also avoiding injury. All baseball plays such as throwing a ball and swinging the bat contribute to improved muscle and joint flexibility.
Endurance is extremely important for many everyday tasks. If someone has great endurance, they’ll have a significant advantage when engaging in any type of physical competition. Baseball requires many practice sessions and in some cases multiple games per week. These games will also last a few hours (potentially many hours if games go to extra innings). Having all these sessions of physical activity will greatly increase endurance.
Being involved in a youth sport is an excellent way to improve many aspects of a child’s life. As we’ve shown above, playing baseball provides many mental and physical benefits. With each new skill picked up on the field, youth players are also learning a valuable lesson that can be used off the field. With all these benefits and the fact that baseball is a sport that kids love, it makes sense for parents to encourage their child’s participation in baseball as early as possible.