In all of the studies that I found, sports participation was generally
agreed to improve academic performance. In each of the studies, the
correlation made enables us to determine how and why this occurs. Let
me present to you several of the most interesting reports, taken from
studies done in the U.S. and around the world.
In a report to the President of the United States by the Secretary of
Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Education, a landmark
1996 Surgeon Generals report, Physical Activity and Health is
cited, indicating that evidence points to a correlation between
participation in sports and improvement in academic performance.
Although research has not been conducted to conclusively demonstrate
a direct link between physical activity and improved academic
performance, such a link might be expected. Studies have found
participation in physical activity increases adolescents self-esteem
and reduces anxiety and stress. Through its effects on mental health,
physical activity may help increase students capacity for learning.
One study found that spending more time in physical education did not
have harmful effects on the standardized academic achievement test
scores of elementary school students; in fact, there was some evidence
that participation in a 2-year health-related physical education
program had several significant favorable effects on academic
So to speak to your question of How? this government study indicates
that the increase in self-esteem and the reduction in stress and
anxiety brought about by sports participation has a positive effect on
the mental outlook of students, thereby increasing their capacity to
Promoting Better Health for Young People Through Physical Activity and
A Report to the President From the Secretary of Health and Human
Services and the Secretary of Education
Jomills Braddock, a professor of sociology in the College of Arts and
Sciences of The University of Miami in Coral Gables Florida, has made
a study of the impact of sports beyond the playing field. Professor
Braddock is cofounder and director of the Center for Research on Sport
in Society (CRSS), a broad-based arts-and-sciences initiative that
studies sport as it relates to culture and life course/human
Using scientific methods and data analyses, Braddock and his team of
researchers are studying how participation in school sports can
improve the academic performance and social development of elementary
to high-school aged students. Their research has turned up some
Were finding that when you compare athletes and nonathletes from
similar social classes and academic backgrounds, student-athletes, on
average, fare better on a broad range of academic, social, and
psychological outcomes, says Braddock. Theyre less likely to be
involved in delinquency or other school-related behavior problems.
Theyre less likely to abuse drugs, and theyre more likely to take
college prep classes and to apply and get accepted to college.
Professor Braddock and his team are now studying why this correlation
between sports participation and academic performance exists.
CRSS researchers also are examining how children can learn certain
educational concepts through the context of sports, such as teaching
percentages by having youngsters calculate the batting averages of
their favorite baseball players. TEAMS (Teaching Excellence,
Achievement, and Motivation through Sport), is the centers
after-school program for K-5 students. Created through a grant from
the South Florida Annenberg Challenge/United Way Partnership to
Improve School Achievement, the program has been implemented at four
Miami-Dade County public elementary schools where children are
So the How? in this case would be that athletes are less likely to
be delinquent, use drugs or have behavior problems. In addition, the
study now taking place points up an interesting teaching method,
linking the How? directly to sports-related scenarios as teaching
The University of Miami
Jomills Braddock studies the impact of sports beyond the field
In a report published on the Child & Family Canada website, a direct
correlation is made between sports and academic performance.
Regular physical activity enhances academic performance.
-- Improvements in discipline, academic performance and self-concept
are benefits associated with regular physical activity (Fishburne and
-- Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity favourably enhances skill
performance in classroom functions such as arithmetic, reading,
memorization and categorization (Keays, 1993).
-- Even when more time is devoted to physical education, academic
performance has been found not to suffer (Maynard, Coonan, Worsley,
Dwyer and Baghurst, 1987).
So to address the How?: sports improves discipline and self-concept
and enhances skill performance, resulting in better academic
Child & Family Canada
Canadian Children Face Activity and Fitness Crisis
by John Belfry
An August 26, USA Weekend in an article on school success, cited a
Brookings Institute study in which the affect of sports on learning
Do sports affect student learning?
In moderation, participation is healthy. For academically weak
students, sports can make school more attractive and reinforce the
importance of being a good student. Achievement falls off sharply,
however, for students who devote more than 20 hours weekly to
So this study would indicate that the How? consists of making school
more attractive, and in motivating the weak student to achieve by
tying the ability to participate in sports to academic performance.
USA Weekend Magazine
School Success Begins at Home
by Tom Loveless
I read through many other studies that reiterated the ideas of :
-- improved mental state
-- less stress and anxiety
-- increased energy levels
-- reduced feelings of depression
-- enhanced relaxation
-- enhanced social skills
-- improved attitude and behavior
-- improved health
Here is a sampling of some additional websites that deal with the
There have been many studies conducted in Australia and
internationally to determine whether there is a link between physical
fitness and academic performance. These studies have all concluded
that physical activity improves mood, self-concept and tolerance to
stress, and also improves academic performance.
New South Wales Department of Education & Training
Participation in sports provides numerous opportunities for healthy,
positive development-physically, socially, and morally for all
children. Regular sports activities are the preparatory gateways for
children in their vital growth years in creating a sense of self that
will guide them throughout their lives
. Research indicates that
participation in sports can promote healthy development
in sports helps children obtain crucial exercise that their growing
bodies need; sports enhance a childs academic life in school; and
most importantly sports assist in improving a childs self-esteem.
The Positive Effects of Involvement in Sports on Children
Participation in sports is associated with a long list of benefits
for kids. On the physical side, there's improved fitness, coordination
and weight control. But it's in areas of social and psychological
development that experts really tout the benefits of sports.
"Organized sports present a lot of life experiences in a short time,"
says Mike Mellon, Ph.D., a child psychologist at Mayo Clinic. "They
can be very meaningful learning experiences for kids." Over the course
of a season, he says, kids learn about taking turns, interacting with
others, performing under pressure, following directions, accepting
feedback, dealing with defeat all skills they'll eventually have to
master as adults. Plus, there are lessons of discipline, commitment,
fairness, respect and responsibility. Studies also show that
participation in sports improves kids' academic performance, body
image and self-esteem.
Mayo Clinic Health Information
Children and Sports
Sports, at its best, provides for competition and the achievement of
excellence, motivates and enhances the well being of the student and
provides enjoyment, social communication and social integration. I
could find nothing that indicated that sports was detrimental to
academic performance, other than the study that indicated that time
spent on sports to the exclusion of academic studies leads to
decreased academic performance.
I hope that this information has answered your question, alex989-ga.
Should you have require clarification of any of the above, please do
not hesitate to ask.
sports improve "academic performance"
sports effect OR affect "academic performance"
sports OR sport participation improve OR improves "academic
how OR why sports OR sport participation improve OR improves "academic