Just as they must practice spelling, math and any other skill, kids need to learn that being part of a sports team requires the three P's … practice, patience and persistence. Whether it’s showing up to practice when you’d rather be home with Legos, waiting your turn on the sidelines, or doing the same drill over and over again, the three P's of team sports translate into important life lessons.
Participation in sports requires middle school students to work as a team and be persistent in order to succeed. It also gives students access to positive role models, such as coaches and older players who can set positive examples. Middle school students tend to be sensitive to criticism, self-conscious, loyal to peers and more motivated by social factors than by academic concerns. As a result, they benefit from sports programs that foster team work and skill-building through "no-cut" policies rather than highly competitive programs similar to those found at high school and adult levels.
From Women's Sports Foundation
High school girls who play sports are more likely to get better grades in school and more likely to graduate than girls who do not play sports. Girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression. Girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports.
From Education Week March 23, 2011
Overall, parents hope their children learn personal and social values from participating in sports, such as learning to give a full effort, treating others with respect, being part of a team, and playing fair/not cheating. The parents surveyed "strongly believe" that sports should reinforce positive values for youths, such as honesty, fairness, teamwork, and self- discipline; winning and competitiveness were ranked as the least important values that sports should promote.
Reasons why students involved in activities do better academically:
The following is an excerpt from High School Today Sept 2008:
- Students are better "connected" to school when involved in activities. These students have pride in their school and their performance in the classroom as well as on the athletic field or stage.
- Students are put in other situations where they are with and taught by caring, supporting educators. These coaches and sponsors make good "connection" with the students. They monitor attendance, behavior and grades for each participant in their activity. They are mentors who help students with personal skills as well as academic issues.
- Activities teach a strong work ethic and many personal skills like responsibility to the team. Activities teach students to set goals and the process by which they can be obtained. These students make connections to the school. The fact that these students are around caring and hard-working coaches is vital to academic success.