Your high school years are key in the physical, emotional and mental development of the human body. Participating in school sports is one way to ensure your exercise routine. That said, there are pros and cons for students who participate in school sports. While research has shown numerous benefits to being part of a sports team, students may also struggle with keeping their grades up.
Research shows there are a lot of positive effects on students who play school sports. According to studies conducted by the University of Kansas, students who participate in sports tend to earn good grades -- good enough to apply to college. Some benefits include increased concentration levels, higher self-esteem, and the ability to improvise when things do not go as planned. Star athletes have the chance to earn scholarships from colleges who want them to play them, which creates the opportunity for students to attend colleges they would not normally be able to afford.
Rhodeley Orisma, a junior on the football team at New Mission High School, said, “Playing football boosts my self-esteem and helps me stay focused in class.” Orisma knows that he needs to maintain good grades to continue playing and potentially earn a scholarship to a football college.
Darius Odon, a junior at New Mission who plays basketball, says being part of the basketball team makes him more social. “It helps me relate to students from other schools who also play basketball,” he said.
New Mission girls’ basketball coach Mitchell Hercule says students who participate in sports are more confident and outgoing. “You are the same person on the court or on the field as in the classroom.’’ He feels that sports do not overshadow academics. In fact, he believes sports motivate students to get better grades.
But a drawback to participating in high school sports can be difficulty balancing studying and playing time. Students may have insufficient time to study for tests and may have to miss class or assignments in order to catch up. Orisma said, “After practice, I have to make sure all my school work is done to keep up with class and get good grades. Sometimes it can be stressful because there is a criteria that a sport-engaged student cannot get below a C.” Exhaustion can also impact school performance, as students put sports above their academics.
Hercule also noted that sports can sometimes hurt a student’s self-esteem. “When they go for try outs and do not make it onto the team, they feel sad, thinking they cannot try again. It really affects them.’’