Princeton University Library Catalog

How Athletics Shape America’s Youth: Teachers’ Perceptions of Youth Sports

McBride, Elizabeth [Browse]
Senior thesis
Markman-Pithers, Lisa [Browse]
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs [Browse]
Class year:
115 pages
Summary note:
Competitive sports play an integral role in the way many children’s lives are shaped. It is estimated that over 40 million children play in competitive sports every year. This paper explores the benefits and dangers of athletics by examining a sample of 85 New Jersey teachers’ perceptions of youth sports. In an online survey, teachers gave their opinions on the impact that competitive sports have on children’s academic achievement, physical health, and mental health. This study analyzed how well informed teachers are of the legislation pertaining to youth sports and the procedures that their own schools follow in order to protect student-athletes. The findings of this study reveal that teachers’ perceptions are on average in line with how youth sports are portrayed in popular culture. However, the observations that teachers reported about their own students varied slightly with their expectations. In order to prevent the dangers of youth sports and enhance the benefits, there must be a greater awareness of the potential risks and pressures involved. With more involvement from teachers, parents, and coaches there may be a greater focus on promoting the players well being.