Let Them Play! : Benefits of Sports
Western Governors University
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Let Them Play!
Childhood sports have been proven to provide multiple developmental benefits to all children involved in such programs. The best way for kids to reap all the benefits of sports participation is to submerse them into a program which offers a positive environment with encouraging coaches who instruct with constructive criticism and work to “minimize negative experiences” (Seefeldt & Ewing, 1996, p.3). Research has shown that children who participate in frequent physical activity, such as sports, experience improved academics, have better mental ...view middle of the document...
Dr. Daniels took many statements from various authors for this dissertation and they all stated the same fact, childhood sports involvement is highly beneficial to the participant’s academic success. Exercise can improve a child's grades, study habits, testing abilities, GPA scores, their attitude towards school, cooperation with teachers and faculty, as well as the ability to concentrate on the subject at hand both in and out of the classroom (as cited by Daniels, 1999,p.6). An article by (The American Council on Exercise [ACE], 2011) notes that out of the three hundred (300) junior high students evaluated, those who were more physically active had better grades than those who weren’t as active. It has also been proven that more time in the classroom does not equal higher grades. In fact children who spend a healthy amount of time being physically active each day, and therefore less time studying, actually had higher grades than their bookworm counterparts (ACE, 2011).
The Science of How it Works
Dr. John Ratey clarifies the science behind how exercise results in academic improvements by stating, “exercise prompts the release of proteins into the bloodstream that increase the production of brain chemicals that improve the connections between existing neurons and helps trigger the formation of new ones” ( as cited by ACE, 2011). Participation in organized athletic programs has been proven to help kids increase academic performance and encourages continuous effort in all aspects of their lives. The Medical College of Georgia (2011) conducted a study to gauge cognition using two tests called, the Cognitive Assessment System and the Johnson Tests of Achievement iii, which test an individual’s math and reading skills. In the study numerous kids were given magnetic resonance imaging (M.R.I.’s) to show the diverse levels of brain activity. The findings confirmed that the more active children had amplifies “brain activity in the prefrontal cortex,” this region of the brain is responsible for “complex thinking, decision making, and correct social behavior.” However this increased prefrontal cortex “brain activity” did not occur in the more sedentary kids as it did in their active peers (as cited by The Medical College of Georgia, 2011, p.1).
Student – athletes are able to solve academic problems easier because they are provided with the necessary techniques to reflect on their choices and choose a better course of action in order to improve the following outcome (as cited by Daniels, 1999, p.6). Although there is no doubt that a positive correlation exists between sports participation and improved academics for all student-athletes, studies confirm that minority athletes tend to show greater grade point average (GPA) progress than those who are not considered minorities. Furthermore studies have verified that students involved in individual sports, such as gymnastics, also received higher GPA’s (as cited by Daniels, 1999, p.6). ...