YMCA sports - life lessons

What to know about starting youth sports with the YMCA in Tampa Bay

At the Tampa Y, we believe every child deserves the support, guidance and encouragement to be who they are and discover who they want to become, and often, this discovery comes from sports.

Sports are instrumental in a child’s development. Practicing on a track, field, gym or court teaches more than athletic skills. As any athlete will share, learning to play within the boundaries of a game teaches invaluable life lessons that can be applied to just about any aspect of life.

Eamonn O’Sullivan, Sports and Teens Program director at New Tampa Family YMCA shares: “The YMCA can be a great introduction to various sports for young athletes, even if they have never played before. At the Y, we focus on things so much more important than the scoreboard. While we recognize that the object of most sports is to score more points than your opponent, our volunteer coaches are focused on helping to build a foundation of lifelong health and activity that will hopefully last a lifetime.”

“While participating in youth sports at the YMCA, children are exposed to positive role models in a structured environment of weekly practices and games. This is when you will find our staff and volunteers helping to promote our core values.”

These values include caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. “Implementing our core values into our programs provides children opportunities to grow and develop their skills, handle adversity, learn the importance of following the rules and so much more,” Eamonn says.

“We all know this for sure: Youth sports teaches invaluable traits and skills needed throughout life such as improved communication, teamwork, cooperation, commitment, goal-setting and patience.”

Eamonn recently coached Mike Hollenbeck, 6, in winter and spring basketball at North Tampa YMCA. Throughout his two seasons, Mike learned how to be a teammate as well as gain more knowledge about the game, says Ali Hollenbeck, Mike’s mother.

“One thing I noticed from the winter season to spring was that while in the winter he was really just trying to understand the basics of basketball and the rhythm of the game, I felt like in the spring season he really honed in on one specific skill, in his case, defense,” Ali says. “Mike grew so much as a player and teammate this past year.”

In 2021, the Tampa Y provided 15,542 young athletes with the ability to learn resilience, leadership skills, accountability, respect and patience through our youth sports programs. The Tampa Y’s youth sports include:

  • Basketball
  • Cheerleading
  • Dance
  • Flag Football
  • Golf With First Tee Tampa Bay
  • Gymnastics
  • Martial Arts
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball

The Tampa Y believes that a well-rounded child today creates a contributing and engaged adult tomorrow! Contact a Y center near you and sign your child up for one of our many fall youth sports today!

*Presented by the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA | Originally published in August 2022 of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine