Participating in team sports helps to develop good character. It can help with mental and physical health and may also correlate with academic success.
First, sports can make you healthier. An active lifestyle can help someone maintain a healthy weight, sustain a better heart rate, and build muscle. Manhattan Medical Arts stated, “Getting indulged in physical activities like sports improves your heart function, reduces the risks of diabetes, controls blood sugar, and lowers tension and stress levels.” By being active, people can improve their speed, strength, and coordination.
Sports can also be a great way to make new friends, Skyland Trail stated, “Particularly in team sports, camaraderie between teammates can build strong, lasting friendships based on mutual support. Not only do sports teach the skill of being receptive to support from peers, but they also generate many opportunities for individuals to both learn and practice empathy.”
Sports are also shown to connect to better achievement in school. For example, Psychologytoday stated that attendance of athletes is often better. They stated, “Studies have found that students who participate in sports activities were twice as likely to attend school as opposed to those who did not.”
Grades of athletes often improve when they are playing sports, too. Study Finds stated, “playing recreational sports in college improved the grade point averages”, and Crystalandcomp said, “Compared to sedentary students, physically active students are 20 percent more likely to earn top marks in math, science and English.”
Another study found that high school student athletes are more likely to attend college and earn a degree as well. And even after college, students who played sports continued to be successful in their careers and lives. QZ stated, “People who participated in team sports were, on average, better educated and better employed than those who did not.”
The connections between sports and success are likely because sports also encourage positive character traits. These might include perseverance, discipline, and loyalty. Raising Children stated that athletics can help children learn about teamwork, cooperation, and other life skills. Rochester stated, “As a matter of fact, playing sports teaches life lessons like discipline, responsibility, self-confidence, accountability, and teamwork. … In short, playing sports helps your brain grow and makes it work better.”
Brian Stephens, MMS football coach, said thay being a student athlete was good for him. He said, “I was/am a generally shy introverted person and sports was initially a good way for me to get into a group of people and help make some friends. From those friendships, bonds were formed and opportunities to learn, grow and lead.”
Chirs Mittinger, assistant football coach, stated, “Playing sports gave me opportunities that I never would have imagined. The primary benefit of playing sports has been the people that I have been introduced to and the relationships that I have built. Accountability is also a clear benefit of playing sports.”
Darren Rapposelli, who coaches both high school varsity baseball and golf, stated, “Sports gave me the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to handle any sort of adversity. Life throws a lot at you and the strong ones persevere by maintaining a driven approach.”
Student Vinnie Fransetic stated, “it has taught me that the more you push yourself to achieve a goal the more goals you eventually achieve, getting better every time.”
The coaches feel that playing sports as a teen can have a lasting impact. Stephens noted, “sports (should) teach you that it isn’t always about you. Sports gave me a sense of purpose and belonging to something bigger than myself. I think team sports, and football in particular inherently pushes people to count on one another and to focus outside of ourselves.”
Mittinger said that sports helps students by “equipping them with communication and collaboration skills.”
Darren Raposelli stated, “Sports taught me how to be a team player. It also gave me the opportunity to realize that I like to lead. Every one of us plays a role and it is extremely important to find your niche in order to improve the overall success of the team.”
While the physical health benefits of athletics may be the most obvious, there are many other advantages to being involved in sports–ones that cannot be easily seen but can impact students mentally, academically, and socially. From developing friendships to building confidence, sports can improve people’s character and lead to other successes.