English 111, T6A
25 Oct 2005
The Benefits of Youth Sports
American culture encourages participation in both the team and individual sports, in favor of the physical, mental, and social benefits they provide the contestants. Sports today constitute a major portion of a child’s development. Participants enjoy physical, mental, and social benefits, yet youth sports continue to endure plenty of criticism. Skeptics allege competition causes damage to the self-images of countless children who lose a match, miss a basket, or strike out. Still, the numerous positive benefits of these types of activities far outweigh any of the perceived negative aspects. Sports teach about life, and youth today need this sort of teaching. In his article, “Phys Ed, or Self-Esteem?” John Leo points out, “Through sports, children learn how to handle defeat as well as victory – no sulking, gloating, or rubbing it in,” (24). Learning these lessons early gives young people a head start in their transition to adulthood, where they must compete for jobs, learn to meet deadlines, and cooperate on a team to finish important jobs. Many athletic activities nurture and grow the exact behaviors that make people successful in life. The benefits of physical activity, including organized sports, cannot be stressed enough. According to a professional study which examined the physiological characteristics of young male hockey players, their aerobic capacities increased with age, opposed to very sedentary individuals, whose maximal oxygen uptake actually decreased into adolescence (Brown 159). Sports evidently play a key role in a society’s fitness. Young athletes enjoy countless health benefits from sports and competition in their lives. Drug use and pregnancy rates for student athletes are significantly lower than the rest of the student population. Youth who participate in sports and other physical activity receive better grades as well
Cited: Brown, Eugene W., eds. Competitive Sports for Children and Youth. Champaign: Human Kinetics Books, 1988. Dudley, William, ed. Sports in America: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1994.