With the 2020 MTC Namibia Youth Games around the corner, today’s article will focus on the role that youth sports play in a young person’s life.
Youth sports are framed as the typical organised sport programmes that are offered in many schools, clubs, and communities in nations around the world, such programmes are classified as simply sport and are designed to achieve various objectives such as talent development, physical activity participation, and personal growth.
On the other hand, studies have shown how youth sport participants tend to have higher self-esteem, a healthier self-image, and greater educational achievement when compared to non-participants.
Furthermore, youth sport participants have been shown to report less suicidal behaviours, fewer mental health issues, and less dietary problems than non-participants. On the other hand, non-youth sport participants have been shown to demonstrate lower levels of moral reasoning and to experience discrimination, racism, favouritism, performance anxiety, and cheating through their involvement in youth sport, impelling many to drop out of sport completely.
The promoters of competition advocate that having youth compete against one another in sport is vitally important because competition is said to nurture experiences of an intensity level necessary to stimulate behaviour modifications, which can be performance based or development based depending on the objectives espoused.
If sport is undertaken recreationally with little competitiveness, then youth are not exposed as much to values such as commitment, work ethic, discipline, and perseverance, which are vital to perform and succeed in life.
In conclusion, the development outcomes of youth sport participation is not just about medals and trophies, the other important aspect is the life lessons learned by participants on their youth sports journey.
*Stefan Ngolo is a sports enthusiast and sports education scholar. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.