Brooklyn Hager

Sports can be rewarding in the lives of students. Athletes develop friendships and build teamwork, and sports offer a sense of accomplishment, and encourage students to exercise.

Statistically, students who participate in sports do better academically than their counterparts who do not. A study at the University of Kansas found students in sports are 10% more likely to graduate from high school.

In addition, sports encourage healthy decision-making and lifestyle choices in students. Smoking and drinking do not appeal as much to athletes, as their focus is on succeeding in their sport. Sports also offer physical activity, which is vital for teenagers. These consistent lifestyle choices could impact athletes positively in the future.

Sports also develop life skills in students. Teamwork, problem-solving, discipline and hard work are not necessarily learned in the classroom. Through sports, students learn these valuable skills to help them through life.

Though sports seem to only offer benefits, there can be some negative effects. Practices can get intense, schedules demanding and time for other activities scarce. After a long day at school and practice, it can be difficult for students to make time for homework, chores and spending time with family and friends.

Sports are competitive. Athletes must constantly work hard to keep up with their program. Pressure, stress and anxiety are more present in today’s students and often revolve around sports.

Athletes may struggle with self-confidence, get stuck on past errors or face distractions from the outside, like a family issue or school event. Similarly, sports can distract students from schoolwork, as they are worried about an upcoming game or have a long practice.

An individual’s performance can be affected by these factors. According to Neuro Wellness Spa, there are many ways an athlete can cope with the demands that come with sports. Engage in positive self-talk, learn breathing techniques, visualize success or start a pre-game routine to find your “game day mindset.”

Sports are great for teenagers, but can come with challenges. Mostly, these challenges are good and build skills teens will carry through life. To cope with the negative challenges, there are ways to reduce pressure and stress to keep the positive impact of sports.

Brooklyn Hager, 16, is a sophomore at Rugby High School, where she is involved in volleyball, basketball and softball. She enjoys sports, writing and photography. Brooklyn is the daughter of Dustin and Angela Hager, members of North Central Electric Cooperative.