Why Play Sports in High School?


Alexis Santoro, Writer

There are 7.8 million students in America who participate in sports at the high school level, according to a survey from the National Federation of State High School Associations. There are over 20 sports offered by most schools throughout the year for both boys and girls, traditionally at the freshman, junior varsity and varsity levels.  Participating in sports in high school enriches a student’s life by teaching time management, social skills and mental tenacity.

Time management is a crucial part of high school. For many students, it is a challenge to balance school, friends, family and extracurricular activities. It is easy for students to lose sight of the appropriate balance due to the demanding nature of each. When playing for a school sports team at any level being proficient in time management is the only way to be successful both academically and athletically. Students must be able to strategically plan out their weeks and work around their sports schedule in order to complete all of their homework and keep their grades up. For instance, if a student knows they have practice every day after school and they have an essay due on Friday of that week they need to allot the proper amount of time to complete the essay in increments, so they don’t have to cram it in an hour before the submission time.

Time management skills are not only important at the high school level, but also in college and the workplace. In college specifically, teachers are not going to constantly remind their students about upcoming assignments. In the workplace, there is no excuse for not getting work in on time and the repercussions for not completing work in a timely fashion are much worse than they are in school. Therefore, by learning time management skills in high school a student will be much more prepared for college and life in general.

Being a member on a sports team helps to improve a student’s social skills. Effective communication is a crucial part of all sports, so athletes learn from the beginning of their career how to socialize with their teammates regardless of how long you have known them. At both the junior varsity and varsity levels grade levels are mixed, meaning the social hierarchy established in school must be overlooked. Everyone no matter what grade, must work as one. Students spend a lot of time with their teammates and form unique bonds with them. The bond you form with a classmate is going to be primarily based on academics whereas a bond formed with a teammate is going to be based on the common interest of sports.

Having well-developed social skills will prove to be a great asset in college as well as on the workplace. College is a melting pot of students, all from different backgrounds, states or even countries. Traditionally, a majority of the students live on campus and most likely do not know who their roommate will be. In order to function well in the same room, social skills prove to be very important. Social environments similar to this, prepare students for the workplace and other situations in life.  In most fields, work is done in “teams” meaning that a group of employees must collaborate to solve a problem or finish a task. Additionally, at any job, everyone must communicate civilly regardless of their personal feelings towards each other. For instance, if two employees working on the same project get into a disagreement and let it affect their productivity, they will most likely be disciplined.

Over the course of a season, athletes are exposed to the sweet taste of victory and the sour taste of defeat. Whether it be a positive or negative experience athletes must carry themselves gracefully. Mental tenacity, an important aspect of every sport. There are many moments during a season that may make an athletes want to give up, mental strength in these situations is an important part in the development of an athlete. Those tough moments that test your mind, your skills and your body are moments that build up the mental strength.  Being able to stay calm and composed in high pressure situations is an attribute that many athletes acquire at the high school level.

When playing a sport, an athlete makes themselves vulnerable to critiques and criticism. They must be mentally strong enough to take the criticism constructively and use it to improve their game. Many athletes struggle with having to accept the fact that they are not perfect and there is always something they can do to improve. When playing a sport at the competitive high school level many athletes expand their mental capacity which leads to improved stability in high pressure situations.

Mental tenacity is not only important in sports but also in life. In college for instance, the workload is going to be more difficult and rigorous than any other most students have been exposed to. It takes a certain amount of mental capacity to persevere and complete all of their work no matter how tired they are. In the workplace mental strength is extremely important, if a boss does not like the quality of work an employee is completing or someone does not get the promotion they thought they were a shoe in for, a person cannot just give up they have to continue to produce high quality work.

High School sports help to enrich a student-athlete’s life in more ways than one. Participating in athletics helps improve time-management, social skills and mental tenacity of students which is not only important in high school, My alarm goes off at six and I rush to get ready for school, almost forgetting to pack up everything I needed for softball. After classes, I change quickly and report straight to the field for practice until 5:45. As a freshman I had yet to experience a day in the life of a student athlete.