The Reason Girls Should Play Sports
(This post is updated from an article written by Alex Flanagan for Ilovetowatchyouplay.com in 2018)
The reason girls should play sports. Did you know as little as four hours of exercise a week may reduce a teenage girl’s risk of breast cancer by up to 60%. Female athletes are 92% LESS likely to get involved with drugs than female students who don’t play sports, and study after study shows that female athletes do better than their counterparts in GPA and graduation rates.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg as to the reason girls should play sports. Puberty, cliques, social media, the pressure to be perfect; raising girls isn’t work for the weak of heart. Ask any mother of girls; the middle school and high school years are some of the toughest! As our little angels begin to navigate prickly social situations, body image, and boyfriends, it’s just about that time they don’t want to have anything to do with us. So we watch from the sidelines, doing the best we can to help, but typically almost anything we try to do causes more friction and tension than any good we intended. But a 2018 study revealed sports can be their superpower.
“Female Athletes Fare Better In Nearly Every Aspect Of Adolescence Compared To Non-Sport-Playing Peers”
It doesn’t get any more straightforward, if you want to raise happy, healthy, successful girls, make sure she plays sports, especially in high school. That’s one of the findings in a report by the nonprofit group ROX or Ruling Our Experiences. The organization surveyed over 10,000 girls in the U.S. in 5th through 12th grades as part of the girls and sports impact report and found girls who play sports are more confident, have higher opinions of themselves and their bodies, and have stronger relationships with other girls compared to those who don’t play sports.
How To Keep Your Daughter Playing Sports Longer
The report details how the benefits of sports are much greater than those associated with exercise and better health. When girls’ social situations become intense and difficult to navigate, that’s when the benefits of sports are the biggest. The ROX report says high school girls who play sports have lower levels of sadness and depression; they have higher opinions of their abilities and competencies. Female athletes trust and get along with other girls and have healthier ways of handling stressful situations than those who don’t play a sport.
More Great Reasons Girls Should Play Sports
“Girls who spend the most time using social media are 5 times more likely to report that they are sad or depressed nearly every day”
Maybe the biggest impact for girls who play sports is around social media. We all know too much time on Instagram, and Snapchat isn’t good for girls, but according to ROX: Girls who spend the most time using social media are 5 times more likely to report that they are sad or depressed nearly every day. One-third of all girls report being bullied or that they have had an argument at school due to something that happened on social media. Sports keep kids off their phones and on the fields.
So if you want to raise daughters with leadership potential, who believe in themselves and speak up for themselves, playing sports will help with that too; 94% of women in the C-suite played sports, and there is a direct correlation to salary levels and athletes who played high school sports. The Rox Report also found high school girls who play sports are significantly more likely to have supportive friends, and they have more positive and expansive views on girls’ roles and opportunities related to careers and leadership.
So if you have been questioning whether or not all the sacrifices you make, the money, the driving, and the time for your daughter’s sports are worth it, this study should help ease those concerns.
For more information about girls and sports, check out these articles:
What the parents of female athletes need to know
What you need to know before piercing your athlete’s ears
Choosing the right kids’ sports bra
The effect terrible sports dads are having on everyone’s daughters