Sunday, January 26, 2014

Does Playing Sports at School Affect Grades?

Did you know that kids who play sports are less likely to struggle with obesity and often lead a more energetic lifestyle than kids who don’t?  But can playing sports at school have an impact on a student’s academic success?  Listed below are some ways in that sports can aid in a student’s in academic performance as well as some ways in which it can become a distraction.

Advantages of Playing Sports While Attending School

More and more research is pointing to sports as having a positive impact on a student’s physical, mental and social well-being, which can also affect his or her academic performance.  Here are some ways sports can affect a student’s ability to perform in the classroom:

Increases Motivation

At most schools, kids who play sports are required to keep their grades at a certain level.  If the student receives low marks, he or she can be held back from playing in the next scheduled sporting event.  For many kids, this  increases their motivation to earn high grades so that they will not be excluded from a game and sit on the sidelines.  The student may also strive to stay involved because he or she does not want to disappoint his or her teammates or coach,  which will be counting on all the team to compete.

Advances Cognition and Improves Focus

Because vigorous exercise has been shown to promote blood flow to the brain, participating in sports may help  improve a student’s mental alertness, learning ability and decision-making.  Research has also shown that a student who plays sports is more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, and even score higher on standardized tests than those who do not participate in routine physical activity.

Encourages Strong Self-Esteem and Feelings of Belonging

Playing sports not only encourages strong self-esteem but aids in developing social skills and reinforces the importance of working as a group.  It can also promote feelings of belonging by helping the student to feel part of a team and part of a community.  Students who have strong feelings of self-worth will often feel a deeper need to work harder (academically and otherwise) to keep from disappointing themselves and others.

Disadvantages of Playing Sports While Attending School

Although participating in sports may be a positive experience for most, doing so while earning a diploma or degree can have its disadvantage as well.  Listed below are a few possible drawbacks to consider:

Possible Burnout

The pressure to succeed academically while also trying to do well in a sports activity can lead to major burnout for some.  The student can become tired and distracted due to the demands of practices, games and homework which can lead to loss of focus in the his or her studies.

Risk of Injury

If a student is even moderately injured during a practice or game, he or she can be in danger of missing several days of school, causing him or her to fall behind.  The mental stress of the injury can also be harmful to the student’s academic success as well.

Time Commitment

Between practices and games, participating in a sports activity can take up a large amount time and prevent the student from completing homework or studying for tests.  If the student is held back from games due to low grades, his or her self-esteem can suffer due to peer pressure from teammates and the high expectations of the parents and the coach.

Playing sports can be a healthy and fun way to get exercise and interact with others.  However, it is important to remember that as with any activity, there can be some drawbacks.  If a student decides to play sports while attending school, he or she must strive to find a correct balance of both play and study so that a positive experience can be had both on the field/court and in the classroom.

Sarah writes for Allpro about profossinal sports.

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