Do School Sports Help With Academic Success?


With school sports and a heavy academic workload, a lot of students struggle to find the balance between their sport commitments and schoolwork. Amid all the stress, many start to wonder if sports are really worth their time and dedication. Thus, we were inspired to conduct some research into the correction between physical activity and academic performance. 

To start off, we choose one teacher from each main education department of our school to interview: math, science, history/ social sciences, language arts, and english. We also interviewed one of the ACES teachers to get a general view on how students are performing. 

We started our interviews with Mrs. Diamond in the science wing and we found many of her responses really interesting. She stated that sports are good for relaxing and taking a break, but she also made sure to note that she hears from kids a lot that when they have any away games, they get home a lot later and they don’t have as much time for homework. I found this interesting because as a student, I sometimes feel that my peers have a feeling that our teachers don’t realize these things, yet based on this one interview, it seems that they can. When we interviewed Ms. Mazur, who teaches history and is the coach for varsity basketball, she articulated similar views to Mrs. Diamond. They both agreed that sports increase productivity because they help relax the mind and they let students do something they really like, while also being surrounded by their friends and other peers. Another important thing Ms. Mazur noted is that, over the course of time, less students are participating in sports since they may feel pressured by other things. Maybe if schools try to alleviate pressure from homework and other assignments, they will be able to better realize there is also room for having fun and taking a break. 

Mrs Lloves, a Spanish teacher, and Mr. Chang, a math teacher, who both work in the Upper School also had similar opinions. Mr. Chang immediately expressed his opinion on sports. He strongly believes that sports improve students’ mental health because, when you’re playing sports, you aren’t constantly worried. You’re focused on the game, he says, and you are also able to have a good time while doing so. He stated that sports help with time management as well because students are able to note their practice times and game lengths, which they can then work into their schedule and calculate how much time they have for homework. 

The responses we got from the teachers during interviews actually came at our surprise. We expected teachers to express how school sports would hurt students’ grades, as they take up alot of time in students’ daily schedules. But interestingly enough, the majority of our teachers, like Mrs. Lloves, Ms. Mazur, and others, all expressed the same belief that sports actually increase productivity, help with time management, and even see a general improvement of students’ grades during sport seasons. These responses gave us inspiration to conduct further research into the correlation between physical activity and academic performance 

Just as Ms. Mazur said that “students are more disciplined when they participate in sports because sports have a tight schedule and they learn to manage their time a lot better,” data-based research also shows this same idea. It is reported that participation in high school sports teaches students the importance of properly managing their time. With tests, quizzes, projects, and assignments, students learn to balance their time and to work their way around sport practices and games consistently. On top of these time management skills, the benefits of sports extend even beyond high school. The course load during college is undoubtedly significantly heavier, and student athletes tend to be a lot better prepared for balancing and managing their time to get work done.

Another key point made by many of the teachers is about the physical as well as the mental benefits of exercise. This argument is also backed up by data-based research. For example, according to Harvard Business Review, results of incorporating regular exercise into your routine include improved concentration, sharper memory, faster learning, and prolonged mental stamina. With all the positive impacts that come with regular physical exercise, it is without a doubt that student athletes’ efficiency and productivity in school-work is high. 

In short, sports are able to help distract students from the unhealthy stresses of assignments and assessments. They let students enjoy something they love doing while also being able to participate surrounded by their friends and other peers. Furthermore, participation in sports helps students better manage their time because of the tight schedule of school sports. We hope that sports are more encouraged in the community, as they can benefit everyone in a positive and unique way.