Balancing Act?

May 10, 2011
Does the participation of extracurricular activities in high school help keep teens out of trouble? Playing a sport requires a great amount of time and the time not spent with practice or games is spent studying, eating, or sleeping. Research on high school students shows that delinquency rates among athletes often are lower than rates for other students from similar backgrounds. The feeling of belonging to a team encourages teens to stay in school and keep their grades high. The more time spent doing positive, enjoyable activities, the less time teen athletes have to be involved in activities that are likely to be negative or cause trouble.

With very little time available to high school athletes, keeping priorities straight is a major part of staying out of trouble. The average athlete most likely has two major priorities, school and the sport in which they take part in. Student athletes tend to work harder to maintain eligibility by keeping a certain grade point average and not failing any classes. Being involved in school sports is a privilege. Teen athletes have to earn the right to play by performing well in the classroom.

For teens, having self esteem can prevent them from making unacceptable decisions. Research published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine on a study of early teens shows that increased high-level physical activity is an important part of helping the development of self esteem. Teen athletes tend to have better self esteem than their peers and typically make healthier choices to keep their bodies in better condition. The thought of knowing that, as an athlete representing their community, someone is always watching creates more of a reason to make responsible choices.

Teen student athletes have a huge amount to accomplish with balancing school work and a sport. I know this from personal experience by participating in golf in the fall and softball in the spring. Having free time after balancing everything is a difficult task.

Positive and enjoyable activities, such as athletics, can help keep teens out of trouble. Having supportive adult figures like coaches, parents, and fans are crucial to the success of any teen, especially a teen athlete. Student athletes should be able to feel good about themselves through all of the support they receive, which in return should lead to these athletes being less likely to engage in destructive behavior to attain a thrill.

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