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Benefits of youth sports

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    The positive effects of youth sports
    Athletics can have a very major impact on a child’s life. Students who participate in youth athletics learn many life skills that can positively affect their lives. Athletics benefit children in physical, psychological, and social development. Studies show that youth who participate in organized sports during middle and high school do better academically and are offered greater job prospects than children who do not partake in sports activities (Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph. D 2). Organized sports also benefit children by getting them active, decreasing health risks for them in their future. Students involved in athletics can develop positive friendships that can last beyond the years of going to school. Organized sports can lead to psychological development such as improved self-esteem or confidence. Youth sports can also develop many important life skills and key values early in the lives of the young athletes.

    As students get older, grade requirements to stay eligible in their sport drive many of them to become more successful academically. Studies show that students who participate in organized sports do better academically and are offered greater job prospects than children who do not partake in sports activities (Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph. D 2). The CDC states, “…physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance. These include enhanced concentration and attention as well as improved classroom behavior.” ( 1). The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends 60 minutes a day of exercise for children and adolescents. Schools should provide 150 minutes per week of instructional physical education for elementary school children, and 225 minutes per week for middle and high school students throughout the school year. Students who push themselves academically and in athletics have better opportunities to receive scholarships based on their performance. College coaches look for students who are equally talented in their sport and in the
    classroom. Students who receive athletic scholarships for college are still required to meet grade requirements to be eligible to play.

    Athletics can not only be a major part of how successful a student is academically but it can also benefit student’s health. Benefits of sports and physical activity for children include reduced risk of obesity, increased cardiovascular fitness, improved coordination and balance, better sleep and improved social skills. Physical education and sports also build health activity habits that encourage life-long participation in physical activity. Organized sports have been shown to assist in breaking the vicious cycle of inactivity and unhealthy lifestyle by improving caloric expenditure, increasing time spent away from entertainment media, and minimizing unnecessary snacking (Donna L Merkel 153). Studies show that sports can be a very effective treatment for depression. Sports and physical activity can make a substantial contribution to the well-being of people in developing countries. Studies show that positive health benefits for physically active young girls include a reduced risk for developing breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, and obesity in the future. Rates of teenage pregnancy, unprotected sexual intercourse, smoking, drug use, and suicide decrease with increasing physical activity and participation in sports. (Donna L Merkel 153)

    As athletics benefit student’s health, it also is common for building friendships between athletes that can last years beyond the days of playing together. Often kids become friends on the playing field and stay friends through college and into the business world. Players understand that they are a part of a team and to be a successful team they have to have an understanding for each other. Trust is built through teammates, and as players get to know one another, they will play off of each other’s strengths. Sports can build bonds between players by giving them something to talk about after the game whether it was a bad play, an impacting move, or a common interest. In addition to building friendships, the social support and acceptance that being a part of a team can provide contribute to the success of sport in reducing the risk of suicide. Jomills Braddock II, director of the University of Miami’s Center for Research on Sport in Society stated “Sports require teamwork in the pursuit of mutual goals to achieve success. With sports, young people learn to recognize and value the unique and important contributions of their diverse teammates.”(Ana Rhodes 1)

    With good coaches and good programs athletics can have a very positive impact on students psychologically. Teenagers who participate in team sports are happier, have increased self-esteem, and are less anxious. Being a part of a team can develop increased self-esteem when a player makes an impacting play in the game. Students have opportunities to step up and become a leader on and off the field that will help boost not only their confidence but also the intensity of their teammates. Athletics can also increase an adolescent’s focus and strategy. With greater time commitment, children develop better mastery skills and superior knowledge of tactics and strategy. By learning to focus on the right things, athletes can keep or redeem confidence in their game and avoid choking. The most effective mental focus is what many mental game specialists call a process focus. By focusing on the process of doing your sport, you leave less room for doubts and distractions to creep into your mind (Barb Kia 1).

    Psychological gains such as boosted confidence, focus, or self-esteem are very beneficial to young athletes but so are the many life skills that they can learn. Being in organized sports can teach kids many key values such as hard work, goal setting, practice and patience. Creating and setting goals is an essential part of being an athlete. It gives students direction and represents a place in the future where one wants to be. Children who dedicate themselves to their sport will make commitment to practice in order to achieve the goals that they have set for themselves to reach.

    Students who set goals in athletics to better them and dedicate themselves to their sports receive positive impact on their lives. Sports teach students and adolescents many life skills and key values that they can benefit from. Organized sports can benefit students psychologically by improving confidence, focus, and self-esteem. Friendships built on the playing field can create bonds between people that will last beyond playing together. Athletics also reduce health risks in children by getting them active, developing lasting physical activity traits that benefit them for their entire life. Studies also show that competing in organized sports leads to young athletes developing their minds and increasing their academic scores. Organized sports also benefit the social, physical and psychological development in young athletes.

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