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Introduction

Education in these days and age has been taken as a major determinant of children’s success in life. Many research studies have advocated for preparation of students while in their teens through comprehensive learning and education as the effort will translate to a competent workforce in the future. As such, many governments as well as parents have done their best to educate children, which can be highlighted by the numerous tuition classes tailored for children. Incidentally, sports have become quite famous especially with many personalities breaking sports records and achieving monumental rewards.

Consequently, owing to growth and developmental stages, many children have turned to passionate engagement in sports. The trend in fame of various sports, especially football, as well as developmental needs for play in children has led curriculums around the world to incorporate physical education classes. Therefore, many children engage in various sports and games including basketball, soccer and swimming as well as other small games such as scrabble. Many studies have been conducted on the relationship between physical activities and academic achievements to identify how engaging in physical exercises can affect a child’s educational achievements and success.

According to a study by Stevens et al. (2008), acute physical exercises led to improved concentration even though this could not be comprehensively investigated to indicate the extent it contributes to academic achievement. The study largely allows that educational achievement is affected by physical activities among other variables such as socioeconomic status. Generally, engaging in sports activities involves physical participating in a particular sport or game. This participation comes with benefits as well as disadvantages which can positively or negatively affect educational achievement of children engaged in the sports. 

Developmental stages and Success in Education and Sports

Studies in developmental psychology assert that various changes, especially psychological ones, occur in the course of a person’s life span, particularly for children. The studies include issues on cognitive and emotional development, motor skills as well as personality and language issues. The field’s emphasis on evaluation of how people interact and the associated behavior with consideration to personal and environmental influences will enable assessment of the influence and effects of physical activities on children’s educational achievement (Harris & Butterworth, 2002). Insight into various developmental stages that people undergo will also contribute to more understanding of sports activities and the associated effects on educational achievement.

Children’s engagement in sports is subject to various negative effects and outcomes, especially occurrences of injuries. Injuries include growth plate injuries, strains and sprains as well as repetitive motion and heat-related injuries and illnesses. The injuries are not restricted to small children and the body’s limbs but also to adults and the vital body parts such as the head and spine. Considering the various stages of development, injuries to the head and spine will significantly affect a person’s cognitive abilities which enable meaningful interaction with others. This implies that engaging in physical activities can lead to injuries that will affect people’s ability to learn and communicate with others which is a primary determinant in facilitating educational learning and instruction and, consequently, success.

Engaging in competitive physical exercise, as expected of children in the adolescent developmental stage is also followed by early burnout, a stress reaction resulting from overtraining and vigorous engagement in physical activity. Incidentally, concentration in class is quite vital in retention of information and instructions from teachers, which in turn enables students to succeed in their studies. Stress due to exercise burnout diminishes this concentration, especially when the student perceives the outcomes from engaging in sports being more important and better than those from education. Consequently, this gradually and inevitably leads to academic failure as children lose the motivation needed to achieve academic success. Various research studies are also in support of this conclusion where engaging in collegiate athletics negatively influences educational achievement. 

Analysis and Opinions

Occurrences of fatal injuries and stress in terms of burnout while engaging in exercise can be seen to negatively influence and affect positive outcomes in children’s educational achievement. This is especially seen in adolescents who like to play and engage in physical activities, especially due to their developmental stage where exercise and play are primary aspects of personal expression and therefore they are more prone to burnout and injuries. Study by Fox et al. (2010) highlights that difficulty of engaging in physical activities leads to greater academic achievement. The authors acknowledge that it is unclear whether higher positive academic outcomes are due to sports team participation or engaging in physical activity per se.

Winning sport s championships is considered lucrative endeavors as it attracts many potential students as well as funding from alumni and other governmental and non-governmental organizations. This is indicated by rankings in specific sports ranking of various schools which are sometimes correlated to academic rankings. The study by Cox & Roden (2010) on quality perception and the championship effect in sports and whether they influence academic rankings show that improvements in football ranking do not improve overall college and academic ranking. This highlights the minimal positive effect and influence of engaging in sports activities on improved levels of academic ranking.

Yunker (2009) on the study about the effects of intercollegiate athletic participation on student academic achievement and leadership performance in a selective institution acknowledges that sports activities have negative influences. For instance, the sports administrators and coaches stress and inculcate a win-at-all-costs attitude in the students. Unfortunately, this leads to a compromise in choosing whether educational outcomes are more important than those of sports championships. Consequently, this leads to diminished concentration and time allocated to academic work. Additionally, the sports workouts leave the students quite tired mentally and physically to the extent that they stop attending classes.

Considering that the sports programs are usually intensive, the students end up being unable to divide their time in order to achieve a balance between education and sports where educational goals are neglected on behalf of sports activities. Inevitably, this leads to cheating among other undesirable behaviors which ensure that students do not complete their studies in time in addition to comprehension of educational content taught in class. This translates to academic failure and less graduation rates for various schools. To amplify this point, Yunker (2009) asserts that academic cheating scandals have rocked many schools with claims that in one time a basketball player left school not knowing how to read.

Furthermore, the study by Shulruf (2010) on whether extra-curricular activities including sports participation in schools improve educational outcomes highlights the fact that although there seems to be a positive correlation between engaging in extra-curricular activities, the causal effects cannot be confirmed. Although the aforementioned studies indicate no correlation between sports activities and positive academic achievement, other research studies indicate a positive association between the variables. For instance, Shulruf (2010) shows that engaging in sports activities and team sports indicates a positive association to higher grade point averages (GPA) which are measures of academic success. 

Additionally, sports have a lot of psychological benefits that would enable students to achieve academic success. For example, exercise and physical training cause the release of endorphins or feel good hormones that leave one with a feeling of calmness, energy and optimism eliminating stress which may hinder academic success. Additionally, one will be able to maximally focus and concentrate on achievement of educational success. Besides, the study by Stevens et al. (2008) shows that engagement in physical activity by children was positively influential on their mathematics and reading achievement. In addition, Singh-Manoux et al. (2005) shows that there is a positive association between higher cognitive functioning as a result of engaging in physical activity and better educational achievements.

Conclusion

In summary, it is evident that engaging in sports or physical activity can lead to negative effects which in turn lead to a negative influence on educational achievement. Primarily, through injuries which are prone to occur in physical exercise situations involving adolescents as well as stress brought about by exercise burnout largely contribute to the negative effects on academic achievement. Of note is that various research studies cannot comprehensively affirm the extent to which physical activity contributes to positive academic attainment and success. However, other research studies show that the various benefits gained from engaging in exercise contribute much in academic success and achievement.

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