What Is the Connection between Self-Esteem and Sports?

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  • Written By: Lauren Romano
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2019
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Self-esteem and sports go hand-in-hand, and the younger that people are when they start playing, the more beneficial it is. Exercise improves the structure of the body, which can help promote a better body image. During exercise, the body also releases endorphins that make a person feel positive and happy. The praise and recognition that comes with playing sports can help improve self-esteem. Playing sports also encourages players to socialize and work well together, which brings about a confidence boost through relationships.

The younger people are when they start playing sports, the better the results can be. Exercise helps keep muscles and bones strong and improves the overall health, structure and condition of the body. This helps keep weight down and the body in better shape, which can encourage a stronger sense of confidence and a better body image. Both can have a positive effect on everything from their grades to their work ethic.

Part of the connection between self-esteem and sports is thanks to the endorphins released during exercise. The effects on the body are said to be similar to those of morphine. Those who exercise feel happy because of it, which gives them a more positive disposition about their life in general.


Praise and recognition is typically tied to sports whether it's through individual efforts or as part of a team. It comes in the form of verbal praise, in writing or from receiving a trophy or medal, and each provides a boost in the recipient's self-esteem. Even a few words of praise can make people immediately feel more confident and want to push themselves to do even better while they're playing sports as well as in other areas of their life.

Socializing and learning how to work well with others is a big part of the connection between self-esteem and sports. These skills are useful for developing positive relationships well into adulthood and in turn, developing a higher level of self-respect in the process. They're also typically less likely to get involved in negative relationships.

There are numerous ways to get involved in sports, including joining a work or school team or playing together with a friend. Enough connections are known between self-esteem and sports that testing out the benefits is worth it for anyone who could use an increase in confidence. Many already notice an improvement after playing only once or twice.


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Post 3

I wish more people knew about the importance of playing sports as it relates to self esteem. You would be surprised how many times I have heard a parent say that his or her child is not allowed to play sports unless the child maintains an A average in school. If parents only knew that playing sports most likely would not hurt the kid's grades, and would probably improve them then everyone would be happier, and healthier.

And even if the kid's grades drop a bit, the world will not end. Give me a C to B student who enjoys playing sports and getting involved with teammates over an A student who doesn't have time for anything but studying every time. Down the road, self esteem will serve your child better than that A in Calculus.

Post 2

The great trick to sports is that kids are learning all these life skills and building confidence and they think they are just having fun. And I think the same can be said for adults. It's a wonder how much better a couple of sets of tennis, a run around the track or a game of basketball in the backyard can make you feel.

It probably sounds a bit sad that a 40 year old father can gain confidence from beating his daughter in a game of basketball in the driveway, but it is so. In addition to the endorphins being released, simply being able to survive the game and relive a bit of your youth can go a long way in building confidence. This is yet another reason to never stop playing sports.

Post 1

As a kid growing up, playing sports and being part of a team gave me a feeling of belonging more than anything else. When you think about being a kid, isn't that what you wanted most? Having a group to belong to made me more confident. Often times, the kids who didn't belong to some group were picked on and made fun of. I often wonder what kind of a difference playing a sport and being part of a team would have made for them.

I don't like to see parents forcing their kids to play sports and I don't like to see parents pushing kids to be the perfect athlete when it is obvious the kid has no

interest in sports. I think some parents are just trying to relive their younger days, and most of them were probably terrible athletes anyway.

On the other hand, I applaud parents who encourage their kids to play sports as a means of building confidence and social skills. The confidence and self esteem a kid gets from sports can carry him through a lifetime, or at least get him through those rough school-age years without being the butt of every joke.

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