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I love playing sports.  When I was in high school, it was the one thing I always looked forward to.  It was a time where I could spend with my teammates and focus on something other than my schoolwork. Many feel it takes away from academics and that there will not enough time to do both.  Here are some reasons why participating in sports is beneficial for students.

  1. Exercise It seems pretty obvious, but we often fail to consider how much time students sit compared to being active.  For about 7 hours, students sit in their classrooms.  Then afterschool, many go home and sit down to do homework.  After that they lounge on the couch in front of the TV or sit at a computer the rest of the night.  You get the picture.  Playing sports is a great way for students to get the exercise they need.

  2. Reduce Stress It may not be easy to see, but students stress about so many things.  From school, to friendships, to appearances, students stress over everything.   While they play sports, it provides a time where they don’t have to worry about other things.  Students can walk away from practice with a much more positive view of their circumstances.

  3. Character Building - Social Skills This is one of my most favorite things about sports.  During my first year of coaching, our girls volleyball team lost 5 out of 10 games during the regular season.  All 5 losses went to the final set and each set was determined by a difference of 4 points or less.  In all 5 losses, the girl that gave up the last point burst into tears.  That’s not my favorite part of the story, but what follows is.  As soon as the girl began crying, her teammates would rush to her side and pass out hugs.  Words of encouragement would spill out of their mouths as they tried to comfort her. During matches, our students shout out encouragements to each after between plays and pass out tons of high fives.  Sports provide a unique opportunity to build each other up in ways that cannot be done in the classroom. 

  4. Perseverance One of the most common reasons students don’t participate in sports is because they believe they are not good at the sport.  Maybe it’s true.  Maybe they’ve never played that sport before.  They are afraid of making mistakes.  My encouragement to those who don’t play?  It’s simply this: try it out.  EVERYONE is going to make mistakes in sports.  Mistakes are going to come.  It doesn’t matter how good of an athlete you are.  We all make mistakes.  It is how we respond to those mistakes that separate the good athletes from the poor ones. 

  5. Teamwork In sports, super athletic students need other students.  They can’t do it on their own.  Students quickly learn to work together, communicate with each other, and play together in order to accomplish their goals.  As a coach, one of the statements that I use quite often is, “Win together.  Lose together.”  Every success and every failure is done as a unit – as a team.  Every single person on the team is an active member during a game, whether they are playing or sitting on the bench.  In a loss, it’s easy to point the finger and give blame.  Maybe it’s the player who missed the last shot.  Maybe it’s the player who gave up the last point on an error.  “We would’ve won if so-and-so hadn’t messed up.”  How easy is it for us to say that?  While participating in sports and learning to work as a team, students begin to understand that wins as well as losses do not lie solely on one player, but on the entire team.

  6. Academics Students who participate in sports tend to do better in school.  There is a higher level of concentration and confidence that students gain from participating in sports.  A sense of discipline is developed during sport practices that can be transferred and carried over into their schoolwork.

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