Benefits of Playing Competitive Sports

Ever since I was a child I have always played sports. I’ve played lacrosse, field hockey, softball, and basketball. In high school I was on the field hockey team and softball team. My days revolved around sports practices and games. I loved being on a team. I really enjoyed having a group of girls that will always cheer me on. Being so involved in sports really had me think about how important it is for someone to be a a part of a competitive sports team. After extensively researching this topic, I found that sports benefit the human body in so many ways. From psychological to social to physical, sports have a beneficial affect on all of them. So, you must be wondering, how does being on a competitive sports team help the human body in all these different ways? Well, let me tell you.

Psychological Benefits

Participating in sports has a very large affect on one mental and emotion health. Jasper Smits, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University, and Michael Otto, psychology professor at Boston University, researched many experiment that study the affect of exercise on mental health. Smits and Otto found thabraint, “exercise can help reduce depression and anxiety, and can be especially beneficial to people who lack access to traditional treatments, such as drugs or counseling.” In another study, Smits found that, “After just 25 minutes, your mood improves, you are less stressed, you have more energy.”

Also, in a study done by Canadian scientists, they found that, “sixth grade students boys and girls who were more physically active had considerably higher levels of self-esteem.” They also found that “adolescents who participated in sports clubs had greater well-being, including being better socially adjusted, feeling less anxious, and generally being happier about their lives.”

Physical Benefits

Participating in sports also has a big affect on ones physical health. Wkids-playing-soccerhile participating in sports you engaging in exercise which, “controls weight by burning calories, improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system, placing a lower strain on the heart, and increases an athlete’s energy level while improving the quality of sleep.”

Also, it helps you “reduce  the risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, reduces the level of body fat, improves the cholesterol makeup of the athlete’s bloodstream and makes the bones and muscles stronger.” By practicing and participating in sports, one will become better with their skills in the specific sport.

Benefits of Team Sports

Being part of a sports team has a big impact on your mental health. Being part of this group that is so welcoming, allows you to meet so many new people that have common inteteamworkrests. Team sports teach athletes how to be a team player. Sportsmanship is a very good quality to have. Being on a team will teach you sportsmanship and will teach you that it is okay to lose. On a sports team a child can learn how to work hard at something they really want. They can learn that practice and hard work will make them better and get them closer to achieving their goal.

Effect on School Grades/ Test Scores

Being active in sports has a big effect on how you do in school. Exercise is proven too improve concentration in the classroom.  A man named Howell Wechsler, director of the School Health for the Centers for Disease Control,proved this accurate. He “reviewed 50 studies that examined the effect of school-based physical activity on academic performance and discovered that half of the studies showed positive assoback-to-school-537x402ciations and virtually none of the research demonstrated any negative impact.”

Another experiment found that a  “20 minute session of walking boosted children’s performance on tests of reading, spelling, and arithmetic”  (Hillman et al 2009a).

Similarly, “a recent randomized study of more than 220 school children found that kids assigned to engage in 60 minutes of daily, after-school aerobic activities performed better on tests of focus and cognitive flexibility” (Hillman et al 2014).

My Opinion

I definitely agree with the findings in these experiments. From personal experience I can say that after coming home from practice, I was always able to concentrate better and do my homework. Also, looking back at my report cards from high school, it clearly shows that during Spring and Fall I received better grades than in the winter. I played field hockey in the spring and softball in the fall. I did not play a sport in the winter. This backs up the findings that being involved in sports will be beneficial for your academic career.

Null-Hypotheis: Playing a competitive sport doesn’t benefits ones health 

Alternative Hypothesis: Playing a competitive sport benefits ones heath. 


2 thoughts on “Benefits of Playing Competitive Sports

  1. Cassidy Paige Heiserman

    I have played sports for my entire life, and I absolutely LOVE them! For me, they have always been a great way to relive myself of stress and make friends. However, I believe that there are numerous other things you could participate in that would have the same positive effects, if not more, of playing sports. I know that my high school marching band constantly practiced, and they all seemed to be extremely close friends. The practices lasted for hours, and I could tell how physically exhausting they were. Another activity that a lot of people enjoy is theater. I think that theater requires a lot of strenuous dancing, which is an excellent workout. Those in theater often rehearse a ton, therefore resulting in strong friendships and bonds between them. I also think that being busy does help improve grades, because it forces students to be more focused. I know that whenever I didn’t have a sports practice, I would always think “oh I have all day I will do my work later.” When you are busy, I think that you have to focus and put forth all of your effort in the time you have to do so. While there are great benefits in sports, these same benefits can also be achieved through other activities.

  2. Angelique L Santiago

    I played on a club soccer team for 10 years which meant two practices a week, and either a game or a tournament on the weekends all year round. I agree with the finding in this experiment as well. Being involved in a competitive sports helps students manage their time better, and forces them to get their homework done when they are not at practice or a game. Also, I agree with the fact that being on a sports time is great exercise and promotes healthy habits. They automatically keep you in shape, not to mention that you have to drink lots of water when you play sports so you are constantly hydrating yourself which is also a plus. However, you reviewing your fall, winter, and spring report cards and tying it back to the fact that your grades are higher in the fall and in the spring is purely observational. All in all, that means that means that your involvement in competitive sports wasn’t necessarily the reason for your high grades in the fall and spring. There are wide variety of confounding variables that could have influenced this outcome. However, as a fellow student-athlete I would love to know that sports are directly linked to high grades! 🙂 If you are interested you can read more about the topic here.

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