Adolescence and Sports Gender, Race and Moral Socialization


Adolescenceand Sports Gender, Race and Moral Socialization

Inthe United States, students are encouraged to participate in sportsfrom an early age. This is usually due to the fact that engaging inphysical activities is important for the mental and physicaldevelopment of a child. According to research by Scheerderet al (2006), students who take an active part in school-based sportsare more likely to excel academically and develop critical lifeskills as compared to those who do not participate in sports. Inaddition, participating in sports is essential for boostingself-esteem and for promoting integration in the society.Participationof adolescent in sports has direct relations to their developmentwhich may include acquiring a new set of habits, beliefs, andknowledge of the society. According to Tracyand Erkut (2002), socializationis the process of obtaining a new set of habits and beliefs which canbe triggered by involvement in sports. Research also shows thatadolescents who participate in sports fare better in academics andother areas such as interpersonal relationship and general wellbeing.Socialization through sports includes acquiring new beliefs,character, and values.

Thisessay examines adolescence and sports and some of the factors thatmay influence adolescents to participate in sports such as race andgender. In addition, the paper all examines moral socialization thatcomes about as adolescents participate in sports.

Adolescencesports and Gender

Sportshelp adolescents to develop socially as they work together andinteract with the team members to achieve the victory for the team.Participation in sports raises the self-esteem of the team members asthe feeling of being accepted by the team members. According to Tracyand Erkut (2002), the participation of girls in sports has continuedto increase because of the priority it has been given in the society.Girls are the most affected with obesity and overweight, a fact thathas made many adolescent girls take part in the sports in order tokeep their weight in check. In addition, the increase in the numberof girls participating in sports has been contributed by the changingattitude towards sports and women. Furthermore, learning institutionshave promoted sports among adolescents due to the benefits it has tothe academic performance and future development.

Traditionally,sports were identified with masculinity thus making it predominantlya male activity. Girls from an early age were not allowed toparticipate in professional sports because of the orientation theyreceived from their parents. However, as more girls broke thetraditional perception of games, it created opportunities for girlsto start taking part in sports. Apart from traditional beliefs onsports, religion can also hinder adolescents from effectivelyparticipating in sports. For instance, according to Billings andEastman (2003), the Middle East is the region with the least numberof women that participate in the Olympic Games. The Middle Eastregion is predominantly Muslim and the Muslim religion promotesmodesty and decency in women thus hindering women, and large extentadolescent girls from participating in sports that may require themto expose their hair, legs and other parts of the body. The UnitedStates is one of the countries in the world with the highest numberof women that have been successful in sports. Having successfulsportswomen in the society provide role models and mentors that younggirls can emulate and learn from.

Adolescencesports and race

Sportsplay a vital role in the minority groups as compared to the majoritywhite group. Participating in sports helps minority groups to feelpart of the wider American Culture as compared to minority groupsthat do not participate in sports. In addition, racial identity andethnicity has a significant impact on the participation ofadolescents in sports and also determine the gender disparity in thesports. Minority groups are identified by their place of origin, skincolor, physical features, and language difference. As childrentransition from childhood to adolescence stage, they tend to developself-identity. All the people from minority groups struggle withself-identity and start looking for a group to identify with. Byparticipating in sports, adolescents form minority groups feel thepsychological and emotional connection to the team members and thesports and thus work hard to explore their full potential.

Accordingto the WorldHealth Organization (2014),minority adolescents have a difficult time developing to matureadults because they are faced with various issues in the societyincluding being discriminated because of their difference. Thestereotyping that faces adolescent minorities can hinder them fromdeveloping critical skills such as socialization skills andinterpersonal relations which may challenge them in the future.However, by engaging in sports, the minority adolescents startfeeling that they are also part of the large society. According tothe reports by Billingsand Eastman (2003), minorities are more likely to be faced withdepressions, anxiety and other mental problems as they try to locatetheir identity that seems to be different from their orientation.Therefore creating sporting opportunities creates a platform throughwhich they can use to redirect their focus and use their energy inconstructive ways. Thisprovides them with an opportunity to overcome the psychologicalproblems that they may have faced growing up of the misconceptionthey are still holding about themselves.

Adolescenceand sports gender, race and moral socialization

Variousfactors influence adolescents to participate in sports: physicalabilities and characteristic, and external influence which may comefrom parents, siblings, teachers, and peers, and the availability ofopportunities to participate and experience success in sports. Sportsactivities have undergone a tremendous transformation so that allpeople can take part regardless of their physical ability.Socialization through sports is passive learning that adolescentsengage in as they interact with other team members. Adolescents whoparticipate in sporting activities can take the platform to developgood morals. Through the interaction with other players, adolescentscan spend their time on practice rather than be spending their timeidling in the streets where they can be prone to negative influence.

School-basedsports present an excellent opportunity for adolescents to exploretheir talents and interact with other adolescents. Thereare different sports that adolescents can participate in includingbaseball, skateboard, cycling and volleyball. The increased priorityon organized sports for young adults has led to increasing incultural integration especially in countries with multi-cultures suchas the United States. Apart from learning people from differentcultural backgrounds, sports provides adolescents with opportunitiesto interact with both their age mates and adults thus passively learnto relate and deal with people of all ages.

Accordingto Fraser-Thomasand Côté (2009), participation in sports influences adolescentssocially in various aspects such as interaction, character, beliefsand relationships. Socialization in sports is marked by two aspectindividual and group socialization. When participating in sports,adolescents acquire new patterns of behavior, attitude, and valueswhich help them to integrate and interact with other team members.Fraser-Thomas and Côté (2009) explain that acquiring groupsocialization is an adaptation mechanism that helps adolescents tofeel part of the team and is accepted by other team members. On theother hand, individual socialization is based on the influence that aperson makes to the team members. Socialization in sports contributesto important factors of development, such as interpersonal skills andnew values, which are important for future development of theadolescents.

Byengaging in sports, adolescents can develop a wide range of skillssuch as communication skills, leadership skills, and team-buildingskills. The mixing of cultures as adolescents participate in sportsalso gives them a multicultural connection that helps them to learnnew cultures and become more tolerant and diverse in future(Fernandes et al 2008). Sports people use different communicationmethods, which include verbal and non-verbal, when communicating withtheir teammates. Communication is important for the development ofgood relations between the team members. Learning how to develop agood relationship with team members helps adolescents to also formgood relationships with their coach, teachers, and parents.Generally, sports socialization is based on the constantcommunication, interaction, cooperation and understanding of othersin the team (Coleman Cox and Roker 2008).

Benefitsof participation in adolescents

Oneof the major benefits of participating in sports is physicaldevelopment. Physical development may include the development of highimmunity against diseases, emotional benefits, and balance weight.With the high increase in the number of children with obesity,encouraging adolescents to participate in sports so as to keep theirweights in check. In addition, participation in sports at an earlyage helps adolescents to reduce chances of getting chronic diseasessuch as diabetes and coronary heart disease (WorldHealth Organization, 2014).

Inthe recent years, there has been a high increase in the number ofpeople with mental problems which include adolescents and children.Mental problems may include low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.According to Vilhjalmssonand Kristjansdottir (2003), girls are more vulnerable to mentalproblems twice likely as compared to boys. Participating in sportshelps adolescents to ease mental pressure and divert their focus onthe sports. This feeling of being accepted and the sense of belongingpromote identity and enhance self-esteem.

Thepassive learning that adolescents engage in as they participate insports helps them to attain important skills that help them in theiracademic. In addition, they gain skills, such as interpersonal skillsand leadership skills, which they can apply later in life.Participation in sports has various benefits to the development ofthe adolescents which goes beyond physical and mental benefits.


Participationof Adolescents in sports is essential for social, physical and mentaldevelopment. Participation in sports helps adolescents to put theirweight on the check, and prevent chronic diseases in future, inaddition to countering various mental problems such a depression andanxiety. Adolescent stage of development is characterized byself-identity and the need to belong to the society. Various factorsinfluence adolescent participation in sports such as race and gender.In a multicultural society such as the United States, adolescentsfrom minority groups participate more in the sports as they try tobelong in the society. Sports provide a good platform that minoritygroups can use to develop a sense of belonging to the community.Participating in sports leads to socialization, which includesacquiring new values character and beliefs. As the adolescentsinteract with the teammates and the coach, they learn to relate toother people in the society. Additionally, interactions in the sportslead to integration in the society and tolerance. Unlike in the past,the number of girls participating in sports has increased, anddifferent sports have been transformed so as to suit all peopleregardless of their physical ability.


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