As parents, we know about the health benefits for kids participating in sports, but there is also substantial research that shows playing sports has benefits for academic achievement as well.
In one recent study comparing academic achievements of non-student-athletes with student-athletes, the athletes scored higher in several areas. Female athletes, in particular, fared very well in comparison to their non-athlete counterparts.
The findings show that student-athletes generally have better study habits and make better choices for using their free time to achieve set goals. Overall, the student-athletes scored better for study habits and scheduling skills.
The active test group was more motivated to study and were more goal oriented to execute habits that maintain satisfactory grades and ensure they can participate in their sport of choice.
One study by the University of Kansas correlates a stronger work ethic for managing time and maintaining good grades. This does not mean the athletes were smarter than their counterparts, but they were generally more motivated and disciplined to use better time management which resulted in better academic performance.
Another study correlates physical exercise with better mental acuity. While some student-athletes experience challenges balancing practice time and study time, the responsibilities of their sport help them achieve a higher degree of organization.
These essential skills help them excel in tasks important for each area. These skills will have a life-long impact by forming a solid organizational foundation helpful to achieve successes later in college and then down the road when entering into a professional career.
Participation in youth sports helps develop some important traits that will help kids grow into healthy adults later in life, such as:
Following the rules of the game and managing time, all require a high level of honesty to be successful.
Very few team sports are successful without teamwork. Teamwork involves establishing good communication around a common goal to learn how to succeed and win together.
All sports have an etiquette for how to play the game. This involves learning the standards on how to play the game successfully.
Most sports have a rich heritage and history around the rules of the game.
Learning to respect the game, it’s rules and fair play help athletes evolve into better teammates and leaders in the future.
Following Rules & Boundaries
Life is full of rules and boundaries at every turn. The rules in competitive sports can help kids learn to respect those boundaries and help them to grow into more mature teenagers and evolve into well-adjusted adults later on in life.
Dealing With Stress
Another great side benefit of physical exercise is it’s a natural stress reducer. During exercise, the body releases the hormone norepinephrine which is the bodies chemical response to stress. This hormone helps regulate stress and the bodies response to it.
Another natural chemical reaction during exercise is the release of endorphins. Endorphins are natural painkillers that helps comfort the body during times of extra physical activity. The bodies release of endorphins along with extra oxygen helps clear the mind and prepare for meditation during post-exercise activities.
Some key benefits of participating in sports are:
Children build confidence when they see their hard work pay off.
Develop Teamwork & Leadership Skills
Sports teaches the importance of working together and building good relationships.
Exercise is a Natural Stress Reliever
The body releases stress-reducing chemicals during physical activity.
Develop Lifelong Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Athletes tend to enjoy the health and stress-reducing benefits and are more likely to adopt a routine regimen versus their non-athletic counterparts.
So the next time you wonder “Is my child benefiting from playing sports?” The answer is a resounding YES!