Extreme Sports – How Much?
For America’s 30 million student athletes, exercise can be an excellent way for high school students to build relationships, stay in shape, and learn valuable skills about teamwork. But high school sports are not always fun and games. With scholarship hopes, parental pressure and an ultra-competitive atmosphere, some student athletes may begin to crumble under the pressure.
How much to do when throwing the ball in the basket, hitting a home run or sprinting?
In many ways, high school sports have developed into high-stakes games that place student athletes under tremendous pressure. It may have started in minor leagues with dads and coaches too eager to inspire kids’ major league dreams, but it doesn’t always end there. Student athletes don’t want to disappoint their parents, their teammates, their school, or with a well-known sport, their city.
These pressures come at a time when the self-confidence and self-image of most high school students is being questioned. Children and youth want to fulfill the potential their parents see in them. They also want to ease the burden of tuition fees. Getting an athletic scholarship will fulfill both goals.
According to The Sports Scholarship Handbook, only 1 in 50 high school athletes receive an athletic scholarship. Consider the pressures to be at one with those from school work, other activities and social life; that’s a lot for teens to deal with. The drive to win, to be the best, can inspire greatness in both children and adults, but a winner-takes-all mentality can also set unrealistic expectations. This mindset can undermine the enjoyment of sports. Instead of creating this stressful pastime, shouldn’t we use high school sports to nurture well rounded young adults?
To succeed in today’s high school sports, students are required to commit to one sport and play on club teams throughout the year.
When athletes play one sport day after day throughout the year, they are putting themselves in danger of damaging joints, tearing muscles, or causing stress fractures from constant repetitive motion. Despite this danger, coaches continue to warn students that they are risking their roster spot and college hopes by playing multiple sports.
A recent study demonstrated a worrying increase in these repetitive stress injuries. The study tracked the number of “Tommy John” surgeries, procedures performed on pitchers to repair damaged elbow ligaments, and was completed by the American Institute of Sports Medicine, Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, Alabama Andrews, in Birmingham.
“Before 1997, Tommy John’s surgery was performed on only 12 of 97 patients (12%) who were 18 years of age or younger,” says co-author and research director E. Lyle Cain, MD.
“In 2005 alone, 62 of the 188 surgeries performed were performed on high school athletes, a third of the surgical group,” said Cain. “The reality is this operation was successful and that’s good. But the trend of disturbing young people who need surgery is troubling.”
Ironically, playing multiple sports can help athletes get into better physical shape, develop multiple muscle groups, and keep them from getting tired in their chosen sport.
Detavius Mason agrees in his article for The Guilford Orthopedic and Sports Medical Center entitled “Age of Specialization: One Sport Vs Multiple Sports.”
“Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, Tom Brady, Lebron James, Alex Rodriguez,” wrote Mason. “When these names are brought up, several things come to mind: excellence, transcendent talent, wins, but the thought that they specialize in one sport shouldn’t. Kobe & Federer play football, ball players -Rod play basketball, football, then football.”
He concludes with advice to parents and coaches: “So allow your child to participate in some sports…Participating in some sports also allows them to see if a stressed ikilehrubarathinekara sport also allows them to see if a stretched ikilehrubarathinekara gains more friends & social interaction, and there’s less pressure to be perfect.”
In an extreme example, some sports can jeopardize an athlete’s general health. Whether students are trying to gain weight for wrestling, stay slim for dancing or get big for soccer, exercise can trigger some harmful eating and exercise habits.
High school sports can also create an “in the crowd” mentality that excludes those who don’t make it.
Let’s face it, not all kids are athletic superstars. Does that mean they don’t like the game and want to be part of the team? Does that mean they should miss out on the social and physical benefits of organized exercise? Although some children remain involved as managers or fans, well-organized recreational options are few and far between.
This exception also goes beyond the general skill level. With club sports being an unofficial requirement for creating many high school teams, underprivileged students are at a disadvantage as they cannot afford the membership fees and travel expenses that club teams require. When trials come, coaches are more likely to like club players they’ve seen playing for years than unfamiliar players who just train on the playground.
John Cochran, a parent from Newton, Mass., argued that all students should have the opportunity to play high school sports regardless of skill level.
“Research has shown that students who participate in high school athletics have higher average grades, fewer disciplinary problems and greater self-esteem, according to Cochran’s editorial.
“By cutting off everyone except the best players, only a small percentage of students will benefit from those [government-allocated] resources.” menu slides. “If the prevailing philosophies are to be drawn to their logical conclusion, public high schools should provide lower educational opportunities to students who are not at the top of their class.”
My goal is not to ban high school sports, but to return sports to their original purpose: fun. If we can change the general view of this sport – allowing children to play multiple sports, refocusing on recreation instead of violent competition, and creating a fair playing field – danube means bennarsis playing.
Annie Condron is Chief Editor at TeachHUB.com. It is a new online resource center designed by teachers, for teachers and tailored to meet the daily needs of teachers both inside and outside the classroom.