Sports Impact on Youth Development

Many people are blinded by the curtain of media stories talking about concussions and safety issues in sports. How come articles about all the good sports give to society do not go viral. Because they are not seen by the naked eye but presumed through the individual at the end of the day and for that reason I feel as though I want to bring to light both sides of the story.


Positive Effects: The numerous positive effects stretch along multiple domains but the three broad topics are physical, physiological, and social development.


  1. Social Development: Giving the children the opportunity to work with a group allows them to grow skills working cooperative and develop great sportsmanship. The time also lets children who are egocentric to start thinking for the group rather than themselves and celebrate others accomplishments. Creating relationships with their coaches will also instill good mentor ship. Not to mention one of the greatest positives of them all the children become close with each other.

Long term commitments- Being a part of a team develops character in the youth. They learn how to time manage and give their time to others. Also it makes them accountable and give them a sense of accountability which will help later on in the workplace.

  1. Physiological Development: Simply Wins & Loses. Learning that losing is reality and persevering through it. This is a good example of getting out of the nurture umbrella that parents cover their children with. With coping with loses children learn to accept not getting their way and facing the hardships of life which will ultimately grow as they get older. As players begin fulfilling their goals they also gain a self-confidence or self worth and come to light as an individual.Mentally kids learn to control their complex mines and thoughts to pay attention  
  2. Physical Development: Physically, sports make youth players push themselves to be uncomfortable. Whether it be getting hit in football or doing sprints at the end of practice in soccer they learn to be okay with uncomfortability. This will be a good lesson to know later in life as things will not always go their way and they will have to adapt to fix it.

Negative Effects: Peers who do not even have children will still have a stance on the global phenomenon, that being ‘is sports becoming too dangerous for the youth/ is it beneficial anymore’.


  1. Injuries

Youth athletes are more likely to experience traumatic injuries as their bodies are growing making them more vulnerable not to mention they will already be accompanied by growing pains. The Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine says that’s young athletes are of high risk in areas that have not completed the growth process which highly included bone fractures. If their muscles cannot sustain the growth it’ll lead to tension in areas where they are growing and weak bones.



Children who are exposed to non-stop participation in sports are at risk of psychological trauma. Ultimately this could lead to isolation, becoming a burnout, and no longer wanting to participate in anything. Children need to have some personal time otherwise while they participate mood swings or outbreaks will be more frequent. Today’s society in youth sports culture attributes to children with low self-esteem too. The Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine’s also relays the message that the more coaches and parents call children names and show disappointment the worse impact it will have on them down the road. The decrease in having fun and the increase in competition result in negative social behavior. Poor coaching, that being coaches who are so egotistic and self-absorbed winning will ultimately teach the youth the wrong outlooks on life and affect their personal experience/feelings toward sports.




A cross-selection study co-authored by Hilary Friedman organized data relating to the sport injuries sustained in young children (5-12years) versus their older counterparts (13-17years). She analyzed the type of injury along with severity. From 2000-2009 she came up with the results that the young children sustained injuries that were often more traumatic in nature and at a higher extreme. Meanwhile their older counter parts were more likely to get injured in the chest, pelvis, or spine (more overuse injures).


Sports injuries to children differ by age by severity, places, and types. Older children sustain a greater proportion of overuse injuries classified as soft tissue in nature meanwhile the younger children have more extreme injuries. Although you must keep in mind both ages of children are in need for serious medical attention. Those are just the physical aspects of sports, keep in mind the psychological and emotional effect as well. Allowing your child or the youth to play sports is all personal preference and figuring out which side outweighs the other in your eyes. There is no right or wrong answer each side has factual evidence to back up a case.


4 thoughts on “Sports Impact on Youth Development

  1. Dominic DeCinque

    Growing up, I played all the sports you could think of at my local YMCA. Soccer, football, basketball, hockey, baseball. You name it and my mom probably signed me up for it. Obviously as I got older, sports started becoming more serious in my life. I started playing three sports and took them seriously as I got older. Personally, some of the best memories I have is from a championship game or a moment shared with my teachers. Memories like that are unforgettable, and almost never happen more than once. I know some kids that I played high school sports with actually struggled out of season with their grades, me in particular. While playing basketball, I received a higher GPA during that time then I did when out of season. This was the same for majority of my team. They were pushed so hard in season that when they had so much free time after it was over that they just waisted it away. This is a link that shows how physical activity affects academic performance.

  2. Daniel William Snyder

    I really loved this article because for years now because I believe that all children should be involved with sports. I’ve played soccer my entire life and it has done so many things for me. I met some of my best friends through sports and it has helped me establish many principle in my life. For example, sports taught me how to play fair, the idea of sportsmanship, how to lose, how to win, how to interact with other people, how to work as a team, hard work, dedication, and many other traits that i contribute to my success today. I really liked this article that pretty much agreed with my experiences:

  3. Sean Patrick Hickey

    I have played sports most of my life, I played golf throughout high school and I played baseball for a couple years in high school. I think it is very important for kids to play some kind of sport, it teaches leadership, teamwork, and helps kids become competitive. Unfortunately injuries are a part of sports, no one ever wants to see an athlete get hurt but it does happen. However the odds of suffering a severe injury such as a ligament tear are fairly low in most sports. And if parents are concerned about safety they can encourage their kids to play sports with less contact such as baseball or cross country. In my view the positives that sports can provide outweigh the risk of injury. , this is an article in the new york times about how high school athletes do better in life.

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