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3 October 2016
The Importance of Youth Sports
Sports are a pastime enjoyed by many generations, especially today’s children. Some children play sports to be active, and others might play just to avoid boredom. Whatever the reason may be, there are still many benefits that can come from their participation. There is no denying that youth sports play a key role in the positive development of children.
Perhaps the most obvious benefits are the physical ones. Childhood obesity is becoming an increasingly common problem. Sam Edmunds has stated “approximately one in three children is overweight or obese, according to the American Heart Association.” One of the best ways to fight or prevent this is to engage in some form of physical activity. Sam Edmunds has also said that children who are overweight are more likely to be overweight as adults, which increases their risk for problems such as diabetes, heart attack, poor cholesterol and high blood pressure. “Exercise is one of the least expensive ways to stay healthy, with one study finding that exercise can prevent chronic diseases as effectively as medication” ("Facts: Sports Activity and Children"). Being active and moving around can help increase bone density and help prevent osteoporosis later in life as well. Playing a sport offers the child a way to get active while having fun at the same time.
The befits of youth sports go far beyond just the physical ones; there are psychological benefits as well. Many children suffer from problems with their self-esteem. Being active in a sport is a great way to combat these feelings of low self-worth, becasue being on a team that supports each other will improve the child’s mental state. “Being part of a team with similar goals will increase the child’s value of their self” (“Top Benefits of Youth Sports”). Lauren Taylor tells that students who have increased fitness and sports activities have been linked improved academics and attention spans. The positive effects of sports are seen in many more places than just on the playing field; they help students in classroom as well. There are many useful skills that are acquired through the playing of sports.
Another benefit of sports is the team building aspects. Playing sports as part of a team is one of the best ways to expand on one’s social skills. Children are around their team and coaches enough to build bonds with them. “Sport provides youth with opportunities to engage in positive relationships with adults and to safely navigate between right and wrong, thus helping build character” (Hanna). Hanna expresses that through playing sports, athletes learn valuable life skills. These include: emotional control, the value of teamwork, and the ability to show initiative. These skills are easily transferable into real world applications like academics, home life, and eventually their work environment.
In some cases, sports can have a strong correlation to more positive choices made by children. According to Kathi Hanna, young athletes who engage in sports are less likely to smoke, use illegal drugs, or, in girls, have teen pregnancies. Studies have shown that physically active students reflect reduced absenteeism in school than non-physically active students. The CDC reports that “participation in extracurricular physical activities such as interscholastic sports has been associated with higher grade point averages (GPAs), lower drop-out rates, and fewer disciplinary problems among students” (“Health and Academic Achievement”). This shows that those individuals who participate. Sports impact the child greatly when it comes to making good choices or choosing a life of delinquency.
It is impossible to discuss the positive effects that sports have on children without mentioning the educational opportunities that a select few of student athletes are presented with. The key to any child’s future is a college degree. There are athletic scholarships given out by most colleges. “Student-athletes have earned an average of $16,700 in scholarships and aid each year, as reported by NCSA athletes” (“Athletic Scholarship Statistics”). This provides some children with an opportunity to further their education, when they could otherwise not afford it.
The positive influence that sports can have on children is nearly immeasurable. The rewards can range anywhere from physical to mental, and far beyond. Partaking in a sport does a great deal for the development of the child. Although one might only play sports for a short time during their childhood, they will take the skills and benefits they acquire with them through the rest of their lives.
"Athletic Scholarship Statistics." Ncsa Sports, National Collegiate Scouting Association, www.ncsasports.org/how-do-you-get-recruited/athletic-recruiting-scholarships/athletic-scholarship-statistics. Accessed 5 Oct. 2016.
Edmunds, Sam She. "What Are the Health Benefits of Playing Youth Sports?" Livestrong, Demand Media, 30 Oct. 2015, www.livestrong.com/article/349788-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-playing-youth-sports/. Accessed 31 Aug. 2016.
"Facts: Sports Activity and Children." Aspen Project Play, Aspen Institute, www.aspenprojectplay.org/the-facts. Accessed 29 Aug. 2016.
Hanna, Kathi E. "Sport Provides Physical, Emotional, Psychological, and Social Benefits." Truesport, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, truesport.org/wp-content/uploads/TSReport.pdf. Accessed 4 Oct. 2016.
"Health and Academic Achievement." CDC, Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/health_and_academics/pdf/health-academic-achievement.pdf. Accessed 4 Oct. 2016.
Taylor, Lauren. "The First Tee's Top 3 Benefits of PE and Playing Sports." The First Tee, First Tee, 25 Aug. 2015, thefirsttee.org/2015/08/25/tees-top-3-benefits-pe-playing-sports/?gclid=CPDzke-WkM8CFdgGgQodBagEQQ. Accessed 14 Sept. 2016.
"Top 10 Health Benefits of Youth Sports." Health Fitness Revolution, 3 June 2015, www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/top-10-health-benefits-youth-sports/. Accessed 14 Sept. 2016.
Grier 3ans. The positive effects of sports are seen in many more places than just on the playing field; they help students in classroom as well. There are many useful skills that are acquired through the playing of sports.
It is impossible to discuss the positive effects that sports have on children without mentioning the educational opportunities that a select few of student athletes are presented with. The key to any child’s future is a college degree. There are athletic scholarships given out by most colleges. “Student-athletes have earned an average of $16,700 in scholarships