Why Are High School Sports Important? 10 Benefits for Teens

Parents should rest assured that all the games, practices, and tournaments associated with high school sports are well worth the effort. What makes high school sports so important? The reasons for this are numerous. 

In addition to its obvious physical benefits, sports can play a significant role in a student’s high school experience and help prepare them for future success. 

Explore ten benefits of playing sports in high school and support your teens as they decide if participation in school sports is right for them.

Build a Foundation of Fitness for Life

There is no doubt that sports provide physical fitness benefits. Athletes in high school benefit from sports, and playing sports in secondary school can set kids up for a lifetime of physical fitness. 

Researchers found that youth athletes in high school were most likely to get involved in physical activity as a senior study published by BioMedical Central. You should consider high school sports as an investment in the health of your child for the rest of their life.

Improve Health Outcomes

There are many health-related benefits to participating in high school sports, but fitness is one of them. Sports participation during adolescence can benefit health outcomes throughout life, particularly if physical activity levels remain high into adulthood, according to research published in the International Journal of Cardiovascular Research. 

Aside from improving overall well-being, participation in sports can also reduce the risk of developing certain health conditions. There is evidence that participation in sports reduces the risk of developing conditions like Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity, as well as the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Achieve Better Academic Outcomes

Academic performance can be improved by participating in sports. To be eligible to participate on a school team, students must have a minimum GPA. Some kids find this fact motivating to study hard. Additionally, regular exercise can improve memory and focus. 

According to a study published in the Journal of School Health, physical activity and participation in sports, improved girls’ academic performance, and being a part of a sports team improved boys’ performance as well. Academics and sports were positively correlated. A similar correlation was also found by researchers at the University of Sydney. 

According to their study, sports activities held during school hours had the greatest impact on academic performance.

Experience Increased Mental Acuity

Sports participation keeps kids physically fit through practice, competition, and conditioning. They can improve their mental acuity by participating in this activity regularly. It has been shown that regular exercise can help prevent cognitive decline, according to Harvard Medical School. 

In spite of the fact that most high schoolers aren’t too concerned about Alzheimer’s, Scientific American points out that the chemicals released during exercise help improve short-term memory and focus. 

Long-term memory can also be improved by exercise, according to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. As a result of these positive brain-boosting benefits, your kids are more likely to ace the test.

Stave Off Depression

Exercise generally relieves depression symptoms, according to health experts and researchers. When people exercise, endorphins are released and they are able to focus on something other than their problems. 

School sports, however (as opposed to other forms of exercise), seem to help stave off depression from adolescence into adulthood, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. High school athletes reported lower depression symptoms, perceived less stress, and even felt mentally healthier than those who did not play sports.

Build Leadership Skills

Working together in a group is one way to build leadership skills that will help students succeed not only academically, but in extracurricular activities and in college and/or the workplace. 

Students who participate in school sports develop both formal and informal leadership skills, according to an article in Frontiers in Psychology Journal. Furthermore, teachers recognize that organized sports can benefit students in many ways, including developing leadership skills.

Develop Teamwork Skills

Participation in team sports not only develops teens’ leadership skills but also their teamwork skills. By participating in team sports, students develop key skills such as teamwork, collaboration, and prioritizing the needs of the team. 

The Ohio State University points out that teamwork skills gained by student-athletes will transfer to other aspects of their lives, such as the workplace, where teamwork is needed.

Strengthen Social Skills

There is a strong correlation between teamwork and social skills. If you have to work with a team of people as well as listen to someone give you directions and execute those directions, your social IQ is going to increase. The researchers found the same thing when they studied students who participated in sports and other after-school clubs. 

Teens who participate in sports develop and improve key social skills such as communication, goal-setting, decision-making, and time management, according to Edutopia. Participating in sports can also boost teens’ self-esteem and foster a sense of loyalty and community.

Establish Strong Social Relationships

Teenagers who participate in high school sports can develop strong interpersonal relationships with peers, classmates, and teachers. According to i9 Sports, teens who participate in sports often develop friendships that last a lifetime. 

Not only do students who participate in sports get to know and bond with other students who participate in sports, but the interpersonal skills they develop through interacting with and developing such friendships also help prepare them to build strong social relationships with classmates, peers, and others outside of sports.

Increased College Attendance Likelihood

Approximately two percent of high school athletes receive scholarships to play college sports, but being on a high school team does increase the chances of going to college. In particular, this is true for girls and students from economically disadvantaged districts. 

According to a study published in MIT Press Journal, girls in Title IX (economically disadvantaged) districts were slightly more likely to go to college if they had played sports in high school. It might be due to the influence of positive role models, such as coaches. 

College acceptance rates are higher for students who participate in high school sports, according to the National Association of State High School Associations.

The Importance of High School Sports

Is it a good idea to join a sport in high school? The question is one that students ponder throughout their high school years. Each individual has a different answer. There are many benefits to playing sports in high school, even though they are not the end-all and be-all of reaping benefits in high school. 

Consider pursuing a more solitary sport like cross country running, or get involved in some other sports activity at your local recreation center if highly competitive high school teams aren’t your thing. Make sure you don’t stay at home all day. Play! Get out there and enjoy yourself!

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