Being In Sport for Troubled Youths

Apr 11, 11 Being In Sport for Troubled Youths

Participating in any sport is not a magic formula for turning a troubled youths life around. Just because a teenage boy or girl who has been in trouble with the law puts on some boxing gloves or plays organised football does not mean he will not get in trouble again. However, when a young person starts to get fully involved with his sport, takes time to practice and learns about the benefit of teamwork, he has a much better chance of straightening out than the teen with idle time on his hands.

The Benefits

For many older children and teens, playing organised sports is more than just fun after-school activity or weekend event. Participation in organised sports has been linked to benefits both on and off the pitch. These advantages can be particularly helpful to kids and teens who are at-risk for behaviour problems or are struggling with challenges at home or in school. Parents, teachers and guardians might want to consider organised sports as part of a plan to help a troubled youth.

Better Grades, Better Future

Organised sports help kids who are struggling in school or facing problems at home feel more normal and connected to their peers, and this is a key factor in whether or not a teen attends school, according to the report “Learning to Play and Playing to Learn: Organised Sports and Educational Outcomes.” The report was prepared for Team Up for Youth, an organisation dedicated to strengthening youth through sports.

Sports participation is also linked to higher grades. Physical activity also seems to up the odds of better life chances by providing overall academic and intellectual benefits, according to the report. I personally I have always felt better after a work out in the gym or a run in the park; there is a lot to be said for sweating the brain at least 2-3 times per week if not every day.

Improved Peer Network

Like it or not, friends influence a teen’s behaviour. Organised sports gives troubled youths a chance to meet other teens who may have a positive influence or at least share a few things in common, according to the “Playing to Learn and Learning to Play” report. Girls seem to especially benefit from the increased or improved peer network. Young women report that playing sports helps break gender stereotypes, which expands their views of their future.

Adult Support

Many at-risk youths are lacking a positive adult role model, but organised sports can provide one through a caring and committed coach or adult volunteer, according to a report from the University of Florida. Having an adult outside of the family who is interested in the teen’s life and dedicated to making a difference to the young man or woman helps reduce a troubled youth’s chances of depression and increases his or her self-esteem, according to the report.

Improved Body Image

Teens tempted to engage in risky behaviours based on a poor self-image can benefit from organized sports, according to, an online guide for parents navigating the adolescent years. The website quotes a presentation from the Department of Education in the US that states that sports participation can counter negative or dangerous images promoted by the media. Participation in organised sports can bolster self-esteem, which can reduce the chances a troubled youth will engage in risky behaviour, according to that website.

Reduced Crime

Although the causes of youth crime are complex, there is strong evidence that indicates that sports programs can reduce the likelihood of a teen committing a crime by improving his leadership, teamwork and self-governance skills, according to a report titled “Youth Sport vs. Youth Crime,” by David Carmichael. According to the report, midnight basketball leagues reduced juvenile crime in Kansas City, Missouri in the areas surrounding games, and an organized running program in Alexandria, Virginia, reduced crimes committed by teen girls who participated.


Take what you like from this post but as coaches we are much more then just showing up to put on some drills and entertain the kids, we have a committed to nurturing Girls and boys and not only teach them how to play this beautiful game but we also have a responsibility to teach what is right and what is wrong. Team work & Sportsmanship are a big part of this game but so is teaching kids how to be in life, how to communicate with adults, from shaking hands to eye contact and even teaching kids to learn from a lose or being disappointed for being taken off; these are all things that can be related to real life. Weather you think so or not most coaches inspire kids, kids look up to their coaches, and we have a responsibility to show them the way.

Research: Eryn Travis

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Facebook comments: