Athletics have been a mainstay of the high school scene for many years. Recently, the field has actually grown, including an even greater variety of competitive options for male and female students alike. While a lot of students become part of high school athletics for the sheer love of the game, there are notable rewards from these extracurricular activities as well.
Below are 7 ways high school sports rewards students – some of which students and parents may not even know:
1) Community Representation:
While club sports have become a popular pastime for both students and college recruiters, there is still a lot to be said for playing for your high school team. According to Unigo, students who get involved in high school sports learn the benefit of representing their community on the field or court. These athletes understand the fun of team rivalries and revel in the praise of a job well done for their school. This feeling of community and the honor of representing the home team may run over into college athletics if the student advances in his sport also.
The fitness level of athletes in high school sports programs cannot be misjudged. According to a report from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), a 2006 study on female athletes found that when female students are given more opportunities to participate in athletics in high school, their weight and body mass improve. A 2001 survey found that students agreed they would not spend as much time in sedentary activities like watching television and playing video games if they had other options after school.
Studies also state that student-athletes are less likely to participate in unhealthy or risky behavior when they are playing sports in high school. The same report by the NFHS cited a 2002 study by the Department of Education that found students who spent no time in extracurricular activities in high school were 49 percent more likely to use drugs and 37 percent more apt to become teen parents. Just four hours in an extracurricular activity like sports each week instantly improved those numbers.
3) Teamwork and Cooperation:
An article at We Play Moms explains that because everyone is working toward a common goal in team sports, students learn firsthand how their performance impacts the rest of the team. Student-athletes must find their place, whether it is to be a leader of the team or to play a supporting role.
4) Social Relationships:
Students who involve in sports often build close friendships with others on the team. These relationships are crucial for mental, emotional, and physical health throughout the high school years. Students share their love for a passion together and the time they spend together at practice and games helps in building tight bonds that often last long after high school is over.
5) Leadership Skills:
As students grow through the ranks of the high school team, they learn valuable leadership skills. Senior athletes are expected to encourage younger team members and hold them accountable. They lead by example and often provide advice and guidance both on and off the field.
6) Time Management:
Practice and games absorb a lot of a student’s time, leaving much less for school work and other activities. Athletes must understand time management skills if they are to get everything done. One student-athlete told Growing Up in Santa Cruz, “It definitely aids in time management-wise. It gets to me when I have to do my schoolwork, and when I have to practice.
7) Success Mindset:
We Play Moms explains the mindset for success that is inculcated in student-athletes, which are:
- Time management skills
- Creativity in finding ways to get better.
- Strong focus and concentration development
- Internal skills for managing pressure
- Knowing when to take risks
- Taking responsibility for individual performance
These skills go far ayond the sports field or even beyond high school. Student-athletes reap the rewards of their training for the rest of their lives.