Sports are generally governed by a group of unwritten rules or traditions, that aim to ensure fair play, maintain consistent adjudication of the outcome, and enable consistent, periodic measurement of a winner’s or lover’s performance. In popular sports, such as American football, professional competition is regulated by the professional leagues, with regular updates from referees to maintain a certain level of play. In less popular sports, like ice hockey, local league rules can govern play. Most sports are influenced by culture and nationality: for example, in baseball players wear distinctive clothing, and some play ball pythons in popular tournaments. Some sports also have professional governing bodies, like the IHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) and WFDC (Women’s Division of Professional Chess) both of which regulate major tournaments internationally. Finally, there are governing boards, like the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and WNBA (Wired Basketball Association).
Sportsmanship has become an important part of many social and cultural traditions. Sports people generally believe that they ‘play the game’ with honour and fairness. Sports can be competitive and even aggressive, but ‘playing by the rules’ generally describes a game that is played with a degree of sportsmanship. Many youngsters participate in athletic competitions to show sportsmanship skills, and sportsmanship between competitors helps young people develop positive attitudes towards physical activity.
Participation in physical activities can help young people deal with academic and social challenges. The average high school student today is expected to hold a B average or better, with at least some extra courses completed. This has led to a growing demand for sports-related tertiary education.
Academics are becoming more interested in the physiological benefits of athletics. Scientists have found that regular participation in team sports can lead to improved neuromuscular systems, increased strength, reduced injury, enhanced brain function and increased agility and motor skill. Researchers are currently looking at the effect of playing various sports on the central nervous system and how it relates to performance. Some scientists are exploring the use of brain imaging to better understand how the human brain responds to various types of physical activities. These studies are encouraging for those who want to get into sports and may offer new clues about the connection between sport and the human body.
Young people, especially students, may be discouraged from participating in physical activities because they think that they won’t get help or benefit from it. This could not be further from the truth. Most kids get help from sport-related organizations and adults before making the transition to more strenuous activity. And when they do participate in more strenuous activities, most get help from qualified health professionals before proceeding.
Getting involved in a sport or physical activity is a great way to build a healthy lifestyle and gain self-confidence. Participation in sports and other physically active endeavors is a great way to increase cardiovascular fitness, reduce body fat, improve muscle tone, decrease risk of osteoporosis and reduce blood pressure. When young people begin to participate in sports or other physically active activities, they are more likely to get involved in other healthy activities as they grow older, too. These recommended guidelines should help young people see that sports and other physically active pursuits are fun and can have many benefits.