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The Benefits Of Youth Participation In Sports

1603 words - 6 pages

Since the creation of man, sports have had a tremendous role in the way people live their lives. From the time we are born, until our elderly age, most of us are involved in some way with sports. Whether it is a scrimmage game of soccer at recess in elementary school, playing on the varsity athletic team or simply watching the Olympics or sporting events on television, sports have an influential role in our everyday lives. The outstanding popularity of the sports industry has profoundly affected youth sports organizations that an estimated twenty-six million children ages six through eighteen participate in at least one school or community based athletic program (Smith & Smoll, 1997). Well structured sport programs can provide youths with opportunities to participate in activities that have immediate and long term benefits, both psychologically, physically, and socially (Willox, 1994).A large psychological benefit of sport participation is that sports can boost the self esteem of the people participating. The self-esteem of children is boosted when parents, coaches, and other teammates give the child positive feedback and show a sense of pride in what the child has accomplished (Bilich, 2006). Numerous studies have shown that girls who participate in physical activity such as sports are more likely to have more positive feelings of self-worth/self-esteem and a more positive body image than girls who are not very physically active in sports (USA Football, 2006). This feedback is also important because it encourages young competitors to view success as achieving their own realistic goals, rather than depending on winning as the main reason for success. This psychological benefit of self esteem in many cases goes along with academic performance. A study conducted by Hardiness Research of Wyoming found that by a 2:1 ratio for boys and a 3:1 ratio for girls, those who participate in sports perform better in school, do not drop out and have a better chance to get through college (USA Football, 2006).Young athletes can learn to handle misfortune, whether its picking themselves up after losing a big game or not getting as many minutes in as they wanted and can learn to find ways to deal with losing and go on, because there's another game in a couple days, next week or even next year. These youths can learn to figure out what to do to get what they want for themselves and they learn to realize that if they put in extra time on fitness or work on specific weaknesses in their game they can obtain personal goals. Kids who interpret their involvement on a task as successful persist and their motivation to be involved remains high (Anshel, 2003). This type of attitude behavior can be used on the field and off the field such as a classroom setting. High quality sports programs in public housing locations can significantly reduce the number of behavioral and emotional disorders in children and teens that live out there in low poverty social class...

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