How Competitive Sports Increases Academic Performance


There are many student athletes on campus at McMurry University, most have dedicated long hard hours to practicing and getting better to perform at the best of their ability in that sport. Many of the athletes have competed for several years of their life and of course getting active and competing has been good for their health and staying in shape, but did you know that competing in a sport can increase a student’s academic performance? The importance of sports goes further than just physical health, playing sports teaches life skills such as, self-discipline, accountability, confidence, responsibility, and teamwork.

“Competing in a sport has taught me responsibility and respect. Being in a family that is competitive all the way around, has made the process easier. It has shown me that things don’t come easy, but you never give up no matter what is thrown at you.” says junior basketball player, Aubrey Guerra.

Studies have shown that exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps the body build more connections between nerves, leading to increased concentration, enhanced memory, stimulated creativity, and better-developed problem-solving skills. Basically, playing sports helps your brain grow and makes it work better.

College students are put under a lot of stress with class presentations, essays, group projects, and homework. Exercise helps to relieve some of that stress, to hit a reset button and allow student to focus. Speaking for myself, I know that after a good practice my mind is ready to go and focus on the many different tasks, I must complete for school.

Failure is a part of life and sometimes things get hard and we fail mid-term and finals, and students are at a real low that they may have never experienced before, but being in a sport has personally taught me that failing repeatedly in life is okay because you learn from it and it allows you to succeed and learn.

Competing in a college sport sometimes motivates student to do better in their classes to avoid not being able to play the game and compete. As I mentioned before, students dedicate lots of time and energy to becoming better at their sport and they don’t want to miss out on what they are passionate about, so they push themselves harder to succeed in their classes.

Guerra says, “If I am being honest if it wasn’t for basketball, I am not sure I would be in school. With that being said, yes, being in a competitive sport has increased my academic performance. It isn’t easy by any means, but I know if I don’t pass, I don’t get to play the game I passionately love. 100% my grades would suffer if it wasn’t for basketball. It’s not only the game but the support of my coaches, teammates, and family is also a huge key in my academic and athletic success.”

Athletes are driven by their passion, but Mariah Rodriguez, a freshman basketball player, also believes she is driven by her own motivation and morals she says, “If I had to give up my sport, I don’t think my academics would suffer because I try and push myself to excel in everything I do.