By Will McIntyre

Recreational and competitive sports can positively affect young kids.

Through my research, I have learned that sports can be beneficial for the mental and physical strength they develop. Sports not only gets kids into better shape, but it is also proven they help students achieve higher grades than their peers who do not participate in athletics. For parents with young children that may be deciding whether to get their kids involved in sports, the obvious answer is yes.

A numerous amount of research proves that sports not only get kids into better shape, they also have positive effects on the qualities needed for success, including memory, learning, time management and a strong work ethic. Kids who participate in sports start to develop these traits at a young age, and by the time they reach high school, they will have those life skills available to help them academically. I have found that sports have the greatest positive effect on a student’s life once they are in high school.

At the high school level, students face a lot of pressure to maintain good grades, especially at Hough, which is extremely competitive in academics.

Additionally, athletics can help prevent teens from the peer pressure of making bad decisions that could negatively affect their future.

High school is the first time in their lives where the quality of their work determines their future plans for college. It would be easy to assume that students should focus solely on academics rather than athletics because that is what is going to help them be successful in the long run.

My research indicates that participation in sports aids in what it takes to be a good student, which includes coming to school regularly and maintaining a high grade point average.

I surveyed my high school and the data I collected verified that the athletes were the better students. The students I surveyed were at the highest level of classes offered at Hough, which in turn, caused the data to be higher than the state average.

The GPA of the athletes had an average of 4.16 compared to a 3.77 of the non-athletes. Not only did the student-athletes have higher GPAs, they also missed less school and achieved all of these things while having less time to do their work.

I feel it is really beneficial for young parents to have their children try a sport and develop a passion, so they can continue to play as they reach high school. I know firsthand that high school can be challenging academically and socially and playing a sport can be very time-consuming. In spite of these demands, the positive effects that athletics can offer outweigh the struggles. The games children play for fun when they are young can be a major factor in their success in high school.


Will McIntyre is a senior at Hough High School. This story was the result of his senior exit project, which looked at the differences between students and student-athletes. McIntyre just wrapped up his last season for the Hough Huskies varsity football team.