Swim, Sports and Play

Our sports programs keep kids active, teach friendly competition and introduce healthy practices for life. Explore our activities and learn why physical activity is so important for a child’s growth and well-being.

Swim, Sports and Play

Our Approach to Youth Sports

Our sports staff, coaches and volunteers encourage children to reach their full potential. Sports and recreation at the Y create a healthy outlet for children to gain new skills, learn to work as a team and connect with positive role models — all in an inclusive environment.

Recreation by the Numbers

  • 553,094 young athletes

    Over 500,000 children and teens participated in the Y's youth sports programs in 2020.

  • 412,273 new swimmers

    In 2020, hundreds of thousands children learned to swim at the Y.

Youth in field tying  shoe

Youth Development Roadmap

As children grow and develop, we believe that sports and playtime are an important part of their routine. See how physical activity fits into a child’s developmental roadmap.

Youth learning to swim with face under water -YMCA

Water Safety and Swimming

Our swim lessons and classes aren’t just great for exercise; they also build life skills and offer the opportunity for kids and families to bond in a safe environment.

Child swimming in pool - YMCA

National Competitive Swimming and Diving

In addition to recreational swimming, the Y hosts annual competitive swimming and diving events, which teach kids to value hard work, reach for excellence and enjoy spirited competition.

Staff member standing on mat demonstrating technique

YMCA National Gymnastics

Gymnastics is another one of the Y's popular national competitive sporting events. We host state, regional and national championships annually.

Real Stories: Empowering Children Through Sports

From boosting confidence to building life skills, see how five different sports programs at the Y are inspiring five different kids.

Watch more Y stories

  • Youth Baseball: It's Fun and Healthy for You!

    Morgan started playing t-ball at Gateway Region YMCA at age three, and this year she moved up to coed coach-pitch baseball. With her dad as one of the volunteer coaches and a great group of new friends on the team, she’s having a season to remember. This is her Y. Her camera. Her story.

    Morgan sings "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X at the beginning of the video.

  • Swim Lessons: It Could Save a Life.

    After her son, August, nearly drowned while on vacation, Casey signed him up for swimming lessons at YMCA of Central Maryland. Watch as this brave six-year-old jumps, floats and swims his way through the water after learning important water safety concepts! This is their Y. Their Camera. Their Story.

  • Dance: It Gives Me an Outlet to Express Myself.

    From joining the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties’ dance company, to teaching her younger brothers at home, to performing for large audiences, Hana lives and breathes dance. Learn how dance has boosted her confidence and given her an outlet for processing emotions. This is her Y. Her camera. Her story.

  • Judo: It Gives Me Confidence that I Can Use in Everyday Life.

    Rachel and Kyle’s dad originally enrolled them in judo at Santa Monica Family YMCA so they could learn how to defend themselves. They both took to the sport quickly, and now they’re helping Sensei Jim teach younger kids. See how they’ve gained confidence and leadership skills while having a whole lot of fun in the process. This is their Y. Their camera. Their story.

  • Soccer: Emphasizing Sportsmanship, Teamwork and a Positive Attitude.

    Peter and Mitchell love being on a soccer team at YMCA of Central Texas. Their dad loves having the opportunity to impact young kids as a volunteer coach while also spending more quality time with his sons. This is their Y. Their Camera. Their Story.

Find Your Y

Search below to find swim, sports and play programs at a Y near you.

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More Ways to Stay Active at the Y

From camping adventures to adult team sports, explore more ways that people of all ages can stay active and connect with others.

  • Camp

    Our camps allow kids to discover fun outdoor activities while practicing independence, leadership and companionship.

  • Sports and Recreation

    Try something new with one of our many recreational activities, like getting back on the basketball court with a team, or challenging yourself with wall climbing.

  • Healthy Kids Day®

    Each spring, Ys across the nation host a day devoted to learning and play, inspiring kids and parents to stay mentally and physically active year-round.