The Case For High School Sports

Some think that high school school sports take away from the point of school, which is to learn, and there shouldn’t be sports within a learning community. What some people don’t see is that high school sports aren’t just fun to play, they improve mental health, they can create more financial opportunities in the future, they teach important life lessons and they teach one how to accept losing. Some people don’t see these positive things that are crucial to have in a student’s life because they are not experiencing it first hand like the students do.

In school, especially high school, mental health is hard to regulate. Students have many more responsibilities, and academics are harder than they were previously. There is homework almost every day and tests every other week, which causes students to experience stress about grades. Playing a sport that requires them to exercise a lot can promote self confidence, relaxation and sleep management. Sleep is very important for the mental health of a high school student because they tend to do worse in school from lack of sleep. Research has shown that teenagers need 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night to preform normally. Playing sports is a great way to reduce stress and help sleep. Sports practices and games distract students in a productive and positive way, creating a space where students can let go of everything and all the stress caused by school. (9)

Students who participate in activity programs such as school sports tend to have higher grade point averages, better attendance records, fewer discipline problems, lower dropout rates, and have better financial futures then students who do not participate. A study of almost 140,000 Kansas students revealed that “athletes earned higher grades, graduated at a higher rate, dropped out of school less frequently, and scored higher on state assessments than did the non-athletes.” Also according to National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) data “involvement in either sports or clubs is associated with the 5 percent increase in Bachelor’s degree attainment expectations.” Other research by the NELS shows that “…high school participation in extracurricular school activities are more strongly related to positive school outcomes than out-of-school extracurricular activities.” (2)Having perfect grades and a good GPA are not the only thing hiring mangers are looking for in a person to work at their business. They are also looking for well rounded people who know how to communicate with customers and understand the area of business.

Figure 1. Relationship of GPA ranges to participation in high school sports (1)

Studies have shown that, “hiring managers expect former student-athletes (compared with people who participated in other popular extracurricular’s) to have more self-confidence, self-respect and leadership; actual measures of behavior in a sample of people who had graduated from high school more than five decades earlier showed those expectations proved accurate.”(5) These qualities that people gain from participating in high school sports will help them pursue their dreams whether that is to be a famous soccer player or to be a very successful lawyer. “A survey of Alberta’s top corporate CEOs and members of the Legislative Assembly revealed that 78.3 percent had participated in inter school sports.”(2) Almost 80 percent said that being involved in those sports greatly complemented their academic pursuits and career development. A higher paying job doesn't have to be a professional career in that exact sport played in high school, it can be anything because high school sports teaches students much more than just the sport.

High school sports don’t just end when the four years of high school come to an end. The people you called teammates would still be your teammates, your coach will always be your coach, the friendships you’ve made won’t just end instantly, your love for that sport won’t just end, and most importantly you take everything you’ve learned and all your experiences through life with you. There are so many important life lessons that a person can only get from belonging to a sports team whether that’s a soccer team, basketball team or a football team. They learn to have responsibility, respect, self confidence, communication and teamwork. While participating in high school sports each student is expected to commit to the team as much as they would commit to anything else, each player is expected to be at as many practices and games as they can. Going to practice with the team every day after school creates a sense of dedication and responsibility. Coaches are a big part of teaching their players about life lessons like responsibility that cannot be taught in the classroom. “A study of life skills developed through football by award-winning high school coaches found that these coaches saw that the process of participation and striving to win taught life skills such as discipline, work ethic, and emotional control.” Having teamwork and good communication skills is very important in life. Being able to work with all different people and communicate successfully is a big part of being an adult.

women soccer players at practice (7)

High school sports are also good for families who are not able to pay the extremely high prices of club sports. High school sports give students the opportunity to either try something new or continue the activity they love for a team. If there were no high school sports then the community of people who play sports would be limited to only those who could afford it. That is not how it should be; it shouldn’t matter if a student has the the money to play, the only thing that should matter is the student’s love for and commitment to that sport.

High school sports provide opportunities that students won’t find anywhere else. It has been shown that participating in extracurricular activities can elevate one’s emotional state. The experiences of playing on a team that athletes gain can benefit them in their future professions by improving their communication and tolerance of others. In addition, being part of a team can teach a player how to be a better person because he/she learns how to support one another. They learn to work through problems with people who might have different personalities. Studies have shown that sports and activities promote mental and physical health such as self-concept, self-image, physical activity and weight management. It’s very important that people respect others but the way they treat themselves is also very important. If someone doesn't believe that they can accomplish something whether that’s related to sports or school, they most likely will not be able to. Going through life always doubting yourself is not a way to live happily. In high school sports your team isn't just a team that you play with three times a week, but they are also your family that can help you with anything. Not only will the memories from playing a high school sport stay with you but being part of a team will influence the rest of your life.

Team (4)

It is very rare to see a high school team go through every season without losing at least one match or one game. Losing is a big part of sports, and a big part of life. High school sports teaches students how to accept that the game has been lost, and that they need to put the loss behind them and go forward. This corresponds to life difficulties and how to put them aside and go on with their lives. In life nothing is perfect and people have to learn how to deal with not getting exactly that had initially planned.

In conclusion, some believe we shouldn't have sports within a learning community. What is overlooked by some is that high school sports can improve mental health, create more financial opportunities in the future, and teach important life lessons such as how to accept losing. Not all people see these positive things that are essential in your life because they are not experiencing it.


Works Cited

  1. “Athletics Committee Report, 4/01.” Athletics Committee Report, 4/01. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

2. “The Case For High School Activities.” NFHS. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

3. “Female Student Working Hard to Be Good at School.” 123RF Stock Photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

4. Griffiths, Sarah. “Really? The Best Way to Be Happy and Productive at Work Is to SHARE Your Bonus with Colleagues — or Give It to Charity.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 19 Sept. 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

5. “High School Athletes Gain Lifetime Benifits.” New York Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

6. “How Sports Can Help High Schools.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

7. Jfrancis@oregonian.com, Jamie Francis |. “Pilots Men and Women’s Soccer Practice November 26, 2009.” OregonLive.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

8. “Stress Management.” Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress — Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

9. “Teens, Sleep and School.” Teens, Sleep and School. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

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