Does Participation in Sports Keep Teens Out of Trouble?

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Participation in sports can help keep teens out of trouble, though it’s not guaranteed. Teens who participate in sports tend to have less time to get into trouble. In better physical shape than their sedentary peers, they tend to pay more attention to nutrition than kids who don’t play sports. Teen athletes also tend to do better academically and may get a boost in self-esteem compared to their peers who do not participate in sports.


Significance

Teens who participate in sports through their schools are governed by state rules and regulations, as well as school rules they must follow to be eligible. This typically consists of a minimum grade point average, not failing any classes and being held to a higher standard for citizenship within their school and community. Students tend to work harder to maintain eligibility when playing sports, which results in accountability and pride.

Function

Sports serve more than just a physical purpose, such as teaching teamwork. Even individual sports, such as wrestling, foster a team environment in which teens can challenge themselves, support each other and cheer each other on. Sports also provide additional role models and positive adult influences in the teens’ lives through coaches and the athletic administration staff. The more adults a teen has to turn to, the more likely he is to go to someone when he faces challenges.

Benefits

Sports require a lot of a teen’s time, as most teams practice or have competitions several days per week during the season. When she isn’t practicing or competing, she is most likely studying to stay eligible, eating or sleeping. When teens are busy doing positive things, they don’t have as much time to get into trouble. Teen athletes, particularly females, tend to have better self-esteem than their peers and typically make healthier choices to keep their bodies in better conditions, which includes abstaining from unhealthy foods, sex, drugs and alcohol.

Identification

Being a part of a team gives the teen a positive identity and feeling of acceptance by teammates and other peers. Teen athletes are held to higher standards, as they are easily identifiable by the rest of the student body, especially when representing their teams. Adolescents tend to explore their individuality while being confident within the confines of belonging to a team.

Considerations

Some teens will still get into trouble even while participating in sports. It could be the teen’s choice of peers, lack of parental involvement or a number of other factprs. Some teens who excel in sports and become popular may feel they are above the rules or their peers. These teens are in danger of self-destructing or causing damage to those around them. Supportive parents or other adults are crucial to the success of any teen, especially a teen athlete.

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