At the Y, we see the value of youth sports firsthand. While kids are learning new skills like dribbling, shooting, passing, and defending with every practice and game, they are also learning character-building traits. 

Our players, who can enroll in youth sports classes as early as three years old, are learning how to be leaders, how to work together, how to manage their time and how to make sure everyone on the team is included. These are not just soccer, flag football or basketball skills—these are life-long traits that lead to active community members.

YMCA of Middle TN building lifelong skills in youth

Remington (Remi) is one of these players who has found a love of sports through the YMCA. Her mom, Emily, works for the Y and has seen the impact that youth sports has made on Remi’s personality. “We’ve done basketball and soccer both indoor and outdoor, and she just loves it,” Emily says. “She loves getting to see the coaches, having new experiences and meeting new friends.”

Overcoming Nerves

When Remi first started at three years old, she was nervous. She hadn’t played sports before, and she wanted to cling to her mom. “But, as we progressed, she was the one saying, ‘Is it time to go yet? Can I go see my friends? Can we go play? I really want to shoot the ball. I want to score.’ That’s what she’s all about now, making sure that she gets it in the goal.”

Building Confidence

YMCA of Middle TN Youth Basketball

Emily has seen Remi’s personality grow exponentially through the past few years, and she says a lot of that can be attributed to her participation in youth sports. “It has helped her develop confidence. It’s been two years now that we’ve been playing, and it’s hard to tell that it’s the same child. Her skills have improved so much.” 

Remi loves showing off her jerseys and medals from her past seasons—a mark of the memories she’s attached to playing. Confidence aside, Emily says that Remi’s actual sports abilities have improved remarkably. “The first time she tried to shoot a basketball, it was entertaining,” Emily laughs. “But her confidence grew, her skills grew, and now she can make it in the hoop without any problems. It’s just great to watch.”

The Importance of Positive Coaches

On Remi’s teams, the coaches have worked on helping each player grow in their skills and confidence rather than pitting the children against one another. This focus on teamwork over competition is important to Emily and her husband. 

YMCA of Middle TN

“This is the first time I have seen my child really develop the mindset of a team,” she says. “With the help of the coaches, the players weren’t only caring about themselves; they actually cheered on their classmates and wanted each other to do well.” 

Lifelong Skills

Remi has made plenty of new friends and is growing in her social and emotional maturity, as well. This includes learning how to interact with adult authority figures. In fact, sometimes she is more receptive to her coaches’ advice, Emily says with a laugh. “As a parent, I can teach her these skills, but she doesn’t listen as well as she does to the coaches. That has worked out well. She really respects them.”

There’s a place in youth sports for all kids—first-timers included. Join us for the upcoming season and help your child stay active and develop new skills in classes or leagues at