Boarding and Day · Co-ed College Prep · Grades 6–12 & Postgraduate · Hebron, Maine

Surprising Ways that Participation in Sports can Help Academic Performance

Surprising Ways that Participation in Sports can Help Academic Performance
Caddy Brooks

Whether you’re a seasoned high school athlete or trying a sport for the first time, we require all of our students to take part in at least two out of the three athletic seasons here. We have this as policy because athletics teach our students valuable lessons that will help them succeed in the classroom and life after school. Curious to hear why? Read on!

  1. Athletics help teach our students how to productively win and lose. Undoubtedly during your time here, you will both be on the winning and losing side of a mountain bike race, hockey game or a track meet, for example. Learning how to handle the highs of an ice hockey win, or the low of a loss on the soccer field will pay dividends in the classroom. After a win, do you rest on your accomplishments or go back to work to prepare for the next game? After an A on a test score do you take the following week off or dive into the next chapter? Similarly, after a loss it's important to roll around in those feelings, but not for too long. Have a short memory, and get back to work to get ready for the next game! Do the same in the classroom- take time to understand what led to a poor test grade, but don't dwell on it too long. Moreover, as you graduate from Hebron and college, learning how to handle “wins” and “losses” will become a valuable life skill; a skill that, when learned early on in life, will serve you well. 

  2. Learning how to be a valuable and productive member of a team undoubtedly leads to success in the classroom. Whether you're playing in a deciding tennis match that ultimately determines if your team wins, or you’re cheering on a softball teammate that's at-bat, each member has an integral part to play in the overall success of a team. Just as in athletics, in the classroom, you too will be leaned on for the success of a group project, for example. Learning how to do your part on the tennis court or softball diamond, whatever that task might be, translates directly to group projects in the classroom. You never know, you might be the one presenting your group's project in the classroom and need a little encouragement from your peers!

  3. If you want to find success on the football field, basketball court, or ski slopes, you must put in the time, energy, and repetitions- there are no “shortcuts” on the path to achieving your goals. Athletics teach us a culture of meritocracy- if a student-athlete wants to put themselves in a position to win, they must work diligently at their craft. In the academic realm, the same principles apply. Our students are pushed to learn new material and problem solve, and in order to succeed in the classrooms, they must apply themselves. 

  4. Time management is one of the secret ingredients to academic success, and athletics play a big part in that! Here's a little anecdotal example...After my first year in college, I looked at my report card and found I earned better grades when I was in season. I realized that while I had less free time in the spring during lacrosse, it actually benefited my academic output because my time was already organized for me- I had class during the day, practice or a game in the afternoon, and by default, my only time to do school work was at night. Realizing the importance of time management and the direct impact it had on my academics, the following fall I took time to organize the schedule of my day. Our students at Hebron are required to take part in after-school activities all three seasons, in part, to help productively manage their time. 

  5. An active lifestyle is healthier than a sedentary one, and athletics at Hebron help promote healthy habits early in a young person’s life. We require our students to take part in an athletic program two out of the three seasons, which helps instill the value of MOVEMENT- getting out of our heads and into our physical bodies. More specifically, we find that regular physical activity improves our students’ mental health, which yields to improved success in the classroom! 

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