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Should Students Play Sports in Middle School?

Should Students Play Sports in Middle School?

September 12, 2022

Is there anything more idyllic than sitting by the diamond or the field, watching kids play their hardest and cheering as they compete with their friends? As kids get older and reach their middle school years, they may either lose interest in sports or become much more competitive. 

For those who begin to develop more of a desire to compete hard and win whatever sport they play, some parents may be thrilled, while others may worry that their kids are taking athletics too seriously. The question may arise, is it worth it for them to play sports during middle school? 

In this article, we are helping parents answer the question of whether their preteens should play sports. 

Athletics Can Have a Positive Effect on Many Middle Schoolers

Sports are a large aspect of our society and have an impact on almost everyone's life. There are numerous advantages to getting your child active in sports, but some parents may also have legitimate worries about it, such as time obligations and injury risks. Although you know your child best, in general, the advantages of participating in sports outweigh the disadvantages.

1. Sports Help Kids Learn Teamwork

The older your kids get, the more they will need to realize they are going to have to work together. They’ll need to learn how to work with a team, especially as they move into their careers. Athletics are a great way to begin thinking more about teamwork. The team rises, falls, celebrates, and grieves together. 

  • Your child will practice improving for their own good and for the team. 
  • Your child will see how selfishness on the field hurts others and themselves. 
  • Your child will get the joy of celebrating together with a team and seeing the joy on their teammates' faces. 
  • Your child will be accountable for their actions by their team. 

2. Sports Help Build Character

Although there are victors and losers in each game, and competition is an inherent element of the game, kids learn sportsmanship and how to persevere in difficult situations. As they learn how to appropriately handle setbacks like a missed shot or a bad call by a referee, children mature. Becoming a good sport in both sports and everyday interactions is crucial to being a good citizen.

For Christian students, they realize that poor sportsmanship reflects poorly on themselves and God. They are learning in real time how vital it is to honor Christ on the field, just as it is in real life. 

When they struggle, they’ll get to learn how refreshing it is to know that Jesus gives us grace for our failures, our coaches and teammates demonstrate his grace to us, and they can always apologize and receive grace from those they may have wronged on the field. 

3. Sports Provide Exercise

It is often difficult to find time to get outdoors and exercise, even if you can convince your kids to put their phones down and go outside. Playing sports may provide the incentive they need to get moving without breaking their schedule. 

4. Sports Help Students Learn Time Management

Participating in a sports team requires a time commitment. If your middle schooler is not where they're supposed to be at the time they're supposed to be there, it hurts their development and their team. They will feel the pressure of not wanting to let their team down and want to master time management. 

5. Sports Can Help Students Find an Extracurricular Passion

Even for middle schoolers, playing sports can help students find a passion that doubles as an extracurricular activity that will be useful for a college application. Athletics can be a great hobby that helps them avoid trouble and stay on the right path. 

Are There Negatives for Middle Schoolers Playing Sports?

Of course, there are some potential concerns for middle schoolers playing sports, such as:

  • Immaturity: Some middle schoolers may not be ready for the pressure that they could experience playing team sports. 
  • Time: Your middle schooler may already have extracurricular activities that stretch their schedules too much. 
  • Academics: Your middle schooler may be inclined to focus too much on sports and not enough on academics. Sports may distract them from what’s important. 
  • Church: Athletics should not replace church participation. 
  • Injuries: Your child could get injured playing sports. 
  • Desire: Your child may not be competitive or may not enjoy playing sports. You could damage your relationship with them by putting too much pressure on your middle schooler to play sports. 

Should Your Middle Schooler Play Sports?

Ultimately, this question is best answered by parents and students. There are potential benefits that could help them thrive, but there are concerns to consider as well. One of the best ways to put sports in their proper context within your family’s commitments is by sending them to a school that prioritizes God and the gospel. 

Sports are well down the list of priorities behind God, church, family, education, etc. At Emmanuel Lutheran School, We are committed to helping children develop their full potential as God's creation. 

We apply this to all of our sports programs and emphasize the importance of our relationships with God above all else. That means our teams and coaches help instill Christian character on and off the field. 

Every classroom and teacher works hard to instill the importance of the gospel for every student. Contact us to find out more about how your child can be part of our school!