Participation in sports by all adolescent ages is associated with a range of documented physical, emotional, social, educational, and other benefits that can last far into adulthood.This is a fact proven by The Aspen Institute. The only problem is the question how much is too much? There are kids who participate in multiple sports day in and day out, all 365 days of their year are filled with physical activity in one way or another. Is there a limit to what our bodies are designed to handle? Is there a point where we need to take a break? Do the positives of playing a sport and working out every day outweigh the negatives?
One of the major benefits to playing a sport year round is maintaining one’s health. Not only does physical activity benefits health by helping to build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints; but it also helps control weight and reduces fat. “One study found that exercise can prevent chronic diseases as effectively as medication as well as reduced risk of 13 different types of cancer, including breast, colon, liver and myeloid leukemia” (National Institutes of Health, 2016).
Organized sports activity and teams have also been proven to help children develop and improve cognitive skills. Physical activity, in general, is associated with improved academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores. As well as creating positive effects on personal development among young people, such as self-esteem, goal-setting, and leadership.
Another major benefit is when it comes to colleges, there is always the possibility of getting a scholarship. As well as the fact that “High school athletes are more likely than non-athletes to attend college and get degrees; team captains, MVPs achieve in school at even higher rates” (US Dept. of Education, 2005).
With everything, there are positives and negatives, something that could be considered as a negative of playing a sport all year round is the risk of injury, There are studies that have shown that “playing a sport with no breaks can lead to overuse injury” ( The Aspen Institute). The fact that our bodies do have limits, and that sometimes people push themselves to their limit too early can become a problem.
There is also the factor of time. There are only 24 hours in a day, typically teens are recommended “8 to 10 hours [of sleep], 7 to 9 hours for young adults and adults, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep for older adults” (National Sleep Foundation). With sports, school, and possible jobs, our sleeping time is most likely to be cut short, creating health problems, making some people “burn out” at a young age.
From personal experience, there are nights that I don’t get home from practice until 9:20 pm, and I know for a fact that I am not the only one that is experiencing this. Where I stand on the matter, however, is that I love having a sport to play all year. The fact that I can be apart of a team, make new friends, never be bored, and have a consistent way to stay active are all factors that help me fall in love with participating in a sport. For me playing volleyball is all year, in the fall there is school season, while during the winter and spring season there is club volleyball with MVA, and then summer season is filled with conditioning: Hope camps, GVSU, and many other small scrimmages. There is rarely a break and I love it, I am never bored, I look forward to seeing my team every day, and I love how we continue to learn different ways to work together. Over the years I have been able to build bonds, with every team, that will last a lifetime. Volleyball is also a great stress reliever to any day, it brightens my day and my teammates are always there for me. Through playing volleyball all year it is a struggle sometimes with no breaks, but in the end, the benefits for me outweigh the negatives. For some this may differ, everyone is different; but for me, I am grateful to have a sport all year round.