Some young people spend a long time working out their own sense of self and identity. Self-identity is a term that is highly influenced by a person’s feeling about his/herself. Essentially, self-identity is a type of metacognition. As young people increase in life experiences, their self-identity is changed accordingly. This can be changed in a positive or negative way (Linville, 1985, 1987). Because young people do not have as much life experience as adults, promoting things like organized sports may have the ability to help children develop self identity. Many adolescents split time between home, school and afterschool. As such these are the three big influences in a young person’s life. Often people have a tendency to see their self-esteem through one part of their personality than the others. Some young people feel successful in academics but others who have strong athletic abilities may find the greatest self esteem through organized sports. This self esteem has been shown to increase a persons ability to fight against stress, however that is only true if sports themselves do not become too stressful (Ntoumanis, Taylor & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, 2012). It is important to avoid this by presenting school aged children with lots of ways to develop their personalities and not putting all the weight into one area or another.
Sports may have a unique way of balancing a young person’s sense of self, however some young people unfortunately develop an unhealthy identity with competition in the vein of sports. When sports are taken to the extreme, some students may be tempted to spend more time on their sport than on important academics responsibilities or even their friends and family. Teachers, coaches and parents should always remain aware of these problems and try to help students find balance moreso than developing an obsession about winning (Heird & Steinfeldt, 2013, p. 145; Savage & Holcomb, 1999, p.597).
- Heird, E. B., & Steinfeldt, J. A. (2013, July). An interpersonal psychotherapy approach to counseling student athletes: clinical implications of athletic identity. Journal of College Counseling, 16(2), 143+.
- Linville, P.W. (1985). “Self-complexity and Affective Extremity: Don’t Put All of Your Eggs into One Cognitive Basket,” Social Cognition, 3: 94-120.
- Linville, P.W. (1987). “Self-complexity: A Cognitive Buffer Against Stress-Releated Illness and Depression,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52: 663-676.
- Ntoumanis, N., Taylor, I. and Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C. (2012). A longitudinal examination of coach and peer motivational climates in youth sport: Implications for moral attitudes, well-being, and behavioral investment. Developmental Psychology, 48(1), pp.213-223.
- Savage, M. P., & Holcomb, D. R. (1999). Adolescent female athletes’ sexual risk-taking behaviors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 28(5), 595-602. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/204651117?accountid=14709