Teenage is a stage of vigorous growth and development that an individual experiences between the age of 13 and 19 (it also doubles up with adolescence). It is a stage of concern as a teen may experience an awkward growth instead. In this age bracket, teens are exposed to overwhelming internal and external struggles or troubles that can completely ruin their entire lives. They endure hormonal changes, social and parental forces, school and work pressures, and they are expected to cope up all the negative energy. However, that is not easy without an intervention. Although debated, participation in sports has been cited as one of the remedies for teens to keep them out of temptation to indulge in dangerous behaviors during their adolescence. It may be argued that teens engaging in sports are exposed to coaches who bully and demoralize adolescents; however, sports participation keeps the teens engaged and involved in physical fitness exercise which promotes self-esteem and well-being thus keeping them out of trouble.
Some people oppose teen participation in sporting activities arguing that it pre-exposes them to bullying and demoralization that hinders their positive growth. It is true that some coaches approach the teens in an unfriendly way and harass them when they fail to perform as expected in a sporting event. Coaches are human beings and sometimes feel disappointed by teens' poor performance despite all the efforts they had invested in grooming them for the event. However, this argument can be contested. Such bully and harassing coaches do exist, but out there are millions of good ones who have nurtured young talents who are now doing extremely well in the world of sports such as football, tennis, and basketball among other sporting activities. Thus, even though there may be bully coaches, that cannot be a sufficient reason to deny teens to participate in sports because by doing so a parent may be discouraging an adolescent from developing his or her lucrative talent.
In fact, as opposed to demoralizing, sports participation promotes high self-esteem among teenagers which helps them avoid negative outcomes of low self-esteem such as anxiety and depression. Adolescence is a period of rapid physical, cognitive and social growth as well as changes in self-esteem. Higher levels of self-esteem are predictors of positive outcomes such as social relationships, academic achievement, well-being, positive perception by peers and improved coping skills whereas lower self-esteem leads to anxiety, depression, and development of other mental illnesses (Biro 507). Participation in sports is on a vital way of enhancing the development of higher levels of self-esteem among teens. According to Fraser-Thomas et al., teens who actively participate in sporting activities experience high physical and general self-esteem which shielded them against common anxiety and depression issues at college level (25). Physical self-esteem is greatly affected during adolescence because the teens are experiencing rapid physical and hormonal changes.
Although one may argue that sporting involves competition where one team wins and the other one loses leading to a little embarrassment to the loser, the truth is that sporting result in intense physical activity which helps the mind stay positive and excited eliciting long-lasting happiness and higher self-esteem (Collins et al. 256). This is observed more often when one encounters all the children screaming in happiness as they go back to their classes after a short break they have been engaged in a given sporting activity. Even those who have lost in the sporting event are as happy as their counterparts. In fact, instead of feeling defeated, the teens learn about a healthy competition where they get to understand that there are winners and losers both of which are acceptable outcomes. Therefore, sporting activities comes handy for teens who can mitigate negative self-esteem and avoid resulting in negative outcomes later in life.
Similarly, sports participation by teens keeps the engaged such that they do not have time to indulge in dangerous activities. As earlier noted, adolescence is a rapid growth stage accompanied by a lot of energy which can drive the young youth to engage in various detrimental activities during their free time. According to Fraser-Thomas et al., most teens indulge in "alcohol use, drug abuse, sexual behaviors, cyber activities such as watching pornography, and delinquency" (19). In reality, teenagers have a lot of free time where they are bored because they do not have something to keep them busy. As a result, they tempted to cause some little trouble such as vandalizing the neighbor's property or trying out smoking or even engaging in sexual activity with peers. However, participating in sports keeps these teens engaged with no time for indulging in troublesome behaviors like drug use or sexual conduct. Most of their free time is spent in volleyball or basketball courts, and all the energy is consumed in the sporting activity. Thus, sports participation helps the teens avoid boredom which would lead to a temptation of causing troubles.
Moreover, teen participation in sports encourages physical fitness and well-being thus helping adolescents avoid health troubles such as obesity. Over the last 30 years, the prevalence of obesity among teenagers has quadrupled in the US. Between 2011 and 2012, 20.5% of the youth in the age bracket of 12 to 19 years were obese, a condition which puts these individuals at risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, bone, and joint problems, cancer, heart attack, and many other overweight-related physical and psychological ailments (Ogden et al. 806). The increased obesity prevalence is due to the current lifestyle where teens spend much of their free time watching movies, playing games and sleeping despite ingesting fatty food with high-calorie content. Participation in sports is a "physical exercise that helps burn excess calories and stay physically fit thus promoting well-being" (Allison et al. 456). Obesity results from the accumulation of excess calories in the body, but involvement in a sporting activity helps in breaking down these calories leading to staying physically fit and healthy. Physically fit and healthy teenagers reduce the chances of developing physical and psychological ailments such as high blood pressure and joint issues (Allison et al. 466). Thus, sports participation among teens greatly reduces the chances of getting in troubles associated with obesity.
Sports participation by teens is helpful in keeping them off from many life problems related to adolescence such as anxiety, depression, obesity, sexual misconduct, drug use, and low-self esteem. Sporting activities have a positive correlation with high self-esteem development among teenagers. Similarly, the involvement of teenagers in sporting activities helps them avoid boredom and temptations to indulge in troublesome behaviors such as drug use, sexual conduct, and delinquency. Also, participating in sports is a way of getting teens to engage in physical exercises that help them keep physically fit and avoid obesity which is a risk factor for several physical and psychological ailments in later life. Thus, parents should allow adolescents to participate in sporting activities to reap the benefits resulting from participation in physical exercise.
Allison, Kenneth R., et al. "Male adolescents' reasons for participating in physical activity, barriers to participation, and suggestions for increasing participation." Adolescence 40.157 (2005).
Biro, Frank M., et al. "Self-esteem in adolescent females." Journal of Adolescent Health 39.4 (2006): 501-507.
Collins, Nandini Mathur, et al. "Effects of Early Sport Participation on Self-esteem and Happiness." Sport Journal (2018).
Fraser-Thomas, Jessica L., Jean Cote, and Janice Deakin. "Youth sport programs: An avenue to foster positive youth development." Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy 10.1 (2005): 19-40.
Ogden, Cynthia L., et al. "Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012." Jama 311.8 (2014): 806-814.
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