6 Benefits of Playing Sports in School - by Sarah Daren

From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
"Helping coaches coach better..."

Sarah Daren is a featured writer on the Today Show website and has been a consultant for organizations across a number of industries including athletics, health and wellness, technology and education. When she's not caring for her children or watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.

Sarah Daren
Sarah Daren

If you remember playing sports in school, then you probably have fond memories of your friends, the adrenaline of making a really great play, and being able to run and run without getting tired. Fact is, playing sports during youth has numerous mental, physical, and social benefits that can set kids up for a great future. If you're wondering if your kid needs another activity on their plate, here are some great reasons for them to get involved in school sports.

high school student section
High school student section

1. Benefits of Sports go Beyond Physical Gain

Obviously, getting involved in a sport is great exercise. Beyond getting kids moving and away from screens for a while, youth sports can lead to scholarships or even a career as a professional athlete one day. There's more than just physical gain from sports-they can help put kids on a path to academics and more.

Academics are very important. Thanks to the introduction of tech tools in the classroom, it's easier than ever to balance sports and studying. Plus, technology can open new doors for athletes and allow them to be discovered by coaches from top schools. Students who play sports even perform better academically!

2. Sports Lead to Mental and Emotional Well-Being

Physical activity helps to regulate mood and can promote relaxation. Since kids' lives are becoming more and more stressful each year, especially as they approach high school, it's important to have coping mechanisms. Playing sports releases endorphins and can help increase blood flow to the brain, promoting mental and emotional well-being. Staying active can help kids and teens sleep better and may even help ward off issues like depression and anxiety, helping to keep kids happy and focused.

player and coach

3. Build Social and Relationship Skills

Sometimes, making friends and learning appropriate social behaviors is difficult for kids. Having a common interest and the innate camaraderie of a team environment can make a huge difference. Being part of a team helps kids to learn social skills, make friends, and improve their communication and emotional intelligence. They will learn the value of the team, not just the individual. The inevitable wins and losses will help teach kids to celebrate with their teams when they win and to lean on each other and be gracious when they lose. Coaches are mentors and role models for their teams, and help kids create lasting, healthy relationships on and off the field.

4. Learn Responsibility and Time Management

When you're part of a team, you can't just quit when you don't feel like doing something without consequences. You can't skip team meetings or practices unless there's a really good reason. Playing sports takes time, effort, and patience. Kids will learn responsibility and time management, as they juggle their school responsibilities and the responsibilities for their team. Fundraisers and other team activities will further reinforce the importance of showing up, putting in effort, and understanding responsibilities to oneself and others. Through team sports, kids learn discipline, willpower, and how to use their time well.

5. Sports Can Lead to Passion and New Opportunities

Only a tiny fraction of kids will go on to the pros, but that doesn't mean that youth sports won't lead to a career, whether in sports management, team staff, or actually on a professional sports team. Many children and teens develop passion for their sport and may want to go on to play in college. Through college programs, some young adults end up playing professionally. Playing sports professionally is lucrative enough, but many businesses also pay professional athletes to promote products-soccer player Lionel Messi, for instance, reached an agreement with Adidas close to $1 billion. These athletes are an inspiration to hopeful young players and fuel the next generation of pros.

6. Develops Character and Strength

There are lots of life lessons that can be learned on the field or on the court. Learning and experiencing true competition, team dynamics, and being challenged from a young age helps kids develop character and strength. They'll work hard for what they accomplish-and that makes it all the more satisfying.

Articles by Sarah Daren