THE BENEFITS OF PLAYING A SPORT

By: Chloe Colligan

The term jock is surrounded by countless stereotypes of rich white teenagers playing sports to impress girls, or gain popularity at their school. People assume that jocks do not excel in academics, and are normally very shallow. On the contrary, athletes are usually very successful people both in school and later on in life.

According to the NCAA, about 8 million high school students participate in at least one sport. From a narrow point of view, sports are seen as mere hobbies to get into good physical shape, or let out aggression. However, studies have shown that playing a sport has many more benefits. First off, Athletes learn early on how to be a team player. They learn that the only way to win is for everyone on the field or on the bench to contribute. In a sense, everyone on the team becomes a leader in their own way, whether their role is increasing motivation by cheering, being the lead scorer, or simply handing out water, it all matters. Learning how to be a team player is crucial for success later in life, especially in the business world. Athletes also learn how to perform under immense pressure. From the moment the field lights hit, and the crowd starts cheering, they have to be on. They are expected to catch the pass, or score the goal and if they don’t meet these expectations, they will not be played. Not only does this increase determination, but it teaches you to tune out the pressure and operate the same way you would in a practice. Thus, later in life when deadlines are placed or speeches are to be made, it does not phase them. Lastly, athletes learn time management, having less time to complete homework then the average student because of games or practices, you have to learn to be productive in the time you do have, and develop skills in scheduling when to do things.

Accountability is probably the most crucial skill developed by athletes. Coaches and fans expect you to show up even if your exhausted, sick, or have other appointments. The concept of practice makes perfect is implanted in an athlete’s brain, so they become reliable. Whether they are forced to work on the same skill for hours, or run 7 miles, they follow through, because in sports giving up is not an option. Later on in careers, this is a majorly beneficial skill because former athletes are accustomed to giving 150%, and always showing up no matter what. Ultimately they wind up gaining the “practice time”, while people who did not get exposure to athletics fall behind in jobs because they are tired or have a sore throat.

It is not only proven that Athletes are more successful in school then other students, but also that they are more successful later on. According to a survey done by Ernst & Young, 90% of high level executives who are women, played a sport in high school or college. Reasons for this may be that sports teach women to break gender norms, a skill needed nowadays to succeed in a career. At the same time, many male CEO’s in today’s world also participated in sports, this includes Mark Zuckerberg (CEO and founder of Facebook), Walter Robb (CEO or Whole Foods), and Brian Moynihan (Bank of America CEO).