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Teens and Sports

While teens take part in any number of activities as they grow up, sports often take center stage in a teen’s life. Many teens play sports to bond with friends. Others do so because they enjoy the exercise. Sports can also turn into college scholarships or careers for some teens. In addition, sports help teens get more physical activity, helping to keep their bodies healthy. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports that students who participated in organized sports had a 42 percent higher physical activity level than their otherwise active peers who did not participate in organized sports. However, there can be downsides to sports as well; they take up a significant amount of time and may make some kids feel left out or rejected. It is best to consider both the positives and negatives before you decide if playing sports is right for you.

Positives of Teen Sports

Some teens play a sport because they simply enjoy shooting hoops or throwing a football, but playing sports as a teen can have certain advantages beyond enjoyment. A few of them are:

  • Exercise
  • Socialization
  • Team work
  • Goal setting

Exercise

The actual exercise sports require is the most obvious benefit. Playing sports can help teens lose excessive weight and stay fit. Exercise can also have other positive effects, such as helping you to feel more energized throughout the rest of your day. More energy can lead to improved school performance and overall attitude.

Socialization

Many teens join sports teams for the opportunity to socialize. Team sports create opportunities to build friendships that can last your entire life. Sports expose teens to different types of people and can lead to friendships with people whom otherwise you may not have otherwise met.

Team Work

Learning to work together to achieve a common goal is something everyone must learn. For teens, playing sports is an excellent way to do that. In addition to learning to cooperate with others, feeling that you are part of the team can help boost self-esteem and create a sense of belonging. Working in a team environment can also help create leadership skills.

Goal Setting

Another life skill teens learn from sports is goal setting. Working to win games or get a starting position provides practice for later in life. Even if goals are not met, learning how to deal with the disappointment of losing will help teens deal with adversity in real-life situations.

Negatives of Teen Sports

Despite all the positives sports provide teens, they are not for everyone. Some people are not as athletic as others, and not every teenager has time for sports. It is important that you consider what you are getting into when you decide to play a sport.

Too Busy for Sports

The most important consideration when deciding to play sports is whether you have enough time to fit them into your schedule. Some teens may have a heavier academic workload than others. Others may have family commitments that take up a lot of their time. Whatever the case, it is important to know that you have enough time to fulfill your other commitments before you begin playing a sport. Falling behind in school or creating issues within your family could cause problems that are not outweighed by the benefits of participating in the sport.

Exclusion

Some teens get hurt by being excluded from a sports team. Some people just are not as athletic as others, which can lead to exclusion or bullying. It is also possible to join a team and discover that you do not get along with your teammates. Some teens lose friends because their schedules are too full due to practices and games. Friends sometimes do not understand the time commitment of playing sports. It is important to consider what you are giving up to play sports, as well as what you gain, and then make the ultimate decision that is best for your situation.

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