Dual Discipline Benefits Athletes; Pairing Extracurricular Activities

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Dual disciplines benefit not only the individual student, but the academic environment as a whole. We examine a study that proves the correlation in our featured subject, presented by Edward Elmhurst Health.

Student athlete… a term used so ubiquitously in today’s society it almost feels over-saturated… like Tiger King star Carol Baskins. Sure, she captivated the nation in March when quarantine hit, saving us all from our own thoughts and boredom but… did we really need her on Dancing with the Stars? I can assure you – I, for one, refused to tango with her fandango.

This week we’re looking at, not only student-athletes, but all high school students engaging in extracurricular activities.

Research on Extracurricular Activities

Now, stick with me here because I promise this isn’t boring… so here we go… academics from Sacred Heart, DePaul and Columbia University published a fascinating paper in 2016 detailing the effects school sponsored activities have on students.

Stay with me, stay with me… enjoy the puppy, look, a puppy! You’ve got 2 more seconds to look at the puppy… okay?

Their sample size was 15 thousand students across 11 states and included a diverse data set that took gender, age and race into account.

The findings aren’t exactly shocking, but they are VERY telling. Similar to the way Thanksgiving dinners unfold across the country. Are you surprised your uncle just said that? No… but did it tell you something? You betcha.

Benefits Add Up

To simplify the study, wading through some of the technical jargon, it surmised that participation in sports, clubs or the arts benefits not only the individual but also the entire academic environment.

And… students who participated in almost every combination of those three exemplified increased school connectedness, stronger feelings of adult support in addition to peer support.

That is to say, while participating in sports is great – and 44% of high school students in America are in fact student athletes – taking part in the performing arts or participating in the variety of clubs offered by schools rounds out a constructive prep experience.

The paper even dives into the social benefits of mixing sports with clubs or the arts by saying:

Social Component

“Extracurricular activities link students to other school peers, and the more time students spend in an activity, the more likely they are to develop connections and draw friends from the activity”

So there you have it – concrete affirmation that swimming laps and planning student government events or… swinging a softball bat and rocking out on drums… or even playing football and dancing the tango… will produce the optimal high school experience.

And best of all, you’ll likely score higher than Carol Baskins.

For more content, visit our Naperville Sports Weekly page!