The Importance of Sports

Sports activities and interests provide many positive opportunities for children. However, they can also cause some problems. Many parents believe that participation in sports will enhance children's school accomplishments, while others believe that sports get in the way of their children's achievement. Whether they help or distract from achievement depends on the extent of children's involvement and the type of experiences they have.

Good sportsmanship pro­vides guidelines that can be generalized to classroom and lifelong achievement. Partici­pation in challenging sports contests teaches children to love classroom challenge. It also teaches children to function in a competitive society.

The world of sports mirrors how one can play the game of school and life. Good athletes stay in the game and play their best even when they are losing. They know they will win some and lose some. They discipline themselves. They practice with grueling regularity the necessary skills for their sport. Education, life accomplishments, creative contributions in the arts, sciences, business, and government involve similar perseverance and self-discipline.

Our society is competitive, and we should teach our children to function in competition and how to both win and lose as good sports. Children must learn that winning and losing are both temporary, and that they can't give up or quit. Learning to become a team player is also important for children who may prefer to be the center of attention.

If kids who come to my clinic are involved in sports, I often ask them to interpret their underachievement using the rules they would use in the sport in which they participate as guidelines. They can always come up with some good advice for themselves based on their understanding of good sportsmanship. Encouraging follow-through and self- discipline for their achievement may, however, be more difficult than their acknowledging what they should do.