Effects of sport on the shy children

There has been much research done on the effects of youth sports participation for children that or who are extroverts (the outgoing child) but there is little known about the effect that youth sports have on an introvert, or shy children, in youth sports, (for example: increase self-esteem and social competence). According to the National Federation of State School Associations over the past 19 years there has been a steady increase of youth sports ranging from 1st grade to senior high school (Theokas 2010). There are many benefits in participating in youth sports. Self-esteem is one of the major contributors in the development of our youth, as well as one’s social competence and leadership skills. Through current research it has been proven that children involved with organized team sports reported higher levels of self-esteem than children who had not been involved in sports (McHale, 2005). Much of the research is concerned with the influence of self-esteem and the motivation of a general desire people have to achieve and maintain positive self-regard of them (Smith& Smoll, 2010). Also, self-esteem is needed more in those with low self-feeling of themselves these such people are in the most in need of positive reinsurance (Smoll, 1990). Youth sports have also shown to have an increase rate of physical health which can also add to a child’s self-esteem (McHale, 2005). Theokas (2009) found that constant interaction with one another in a team setting or environment is more likely to develop leadership qualities, as well as actively helping participants develop more in both physically and psychologically. Participating in organized sports can also help develop better communication and teamwork skills (Zarrett, 2009).

Shyness is often conceptualized as social anxiety accompanied by behavioral responses, such as inhibition and withdrawal, in response to social and novel situations (Larson, Hansen, & Moneta, 2006). On a related view is that people who are low in self-competences may feel more threatened when their self-evaluation is at stake, due to the likelihood of receiving negative feedback from their peers (Findlay& Coplan 2010). Furthermore, most introverts are low in self-esteem and are more responsive to feedback, (whether it is positive or negative) than are people who have high self-esteem (Smith, & Smoll, 1990).

Self- esteem and Sports. In youth sports participating in a certain types of activity, can have a greater positive effect on a youth’s functioning as well as their participation in different types of activities ( Zarrett, 2010). Also, youth benefit in their sports participation is likely to depend, at least partially, on the combination of activities in which they are engaged (Zarrett, 2010). Zarrett (2010) uses a study to measure the most commonly used activity in OST(out-of-school-time) such as youth sports; this research shows, that as participation in intensity( quantity of time spent participating), duration ( how long you do it through the year), and breadth (number of activities one does), may increase important differences in the effect on youth.

Findlay& Coplan (2008) did a study on sports participation and it has been proven that there are positive effects on self-esteem and anxiety. Findlay and Coplan (2008) found that the levels of self- esteem in adolescent and adult athletes are higher than in non-athletes. There have also been indications, that low self-esteem may be fuelled by self-gratification tendencies in children (Smith& Smoll, 1990). To be consistent with this view there is evidence that people who are low in self-esteem are more responsive to differences in evaluative feedback than are people who are high in self-esteem (Smoll, 1993). Therefore, people with low self-esteem have low self-regard to begin with and are most in need of positive self-assurances, another related notion is that people who are low in self-esteem may feel more threatened when their judgment is at stake, because of the likelihood they might receive negative feedback from their peers. (Smith& Smoll, 1990).

Social skills and sports. The goal of this study was to examine the role of sport participation in the psychosocial outcomes of shy children (Findlay& Coplan, 2008). Very little research is available on the social outcomes of shy children in youth sports but according to Findlay& Coplan (2008) they found that children in Grades 4 to 6 that were identified as introverts or shy children by their peers had more negative self-esteem, lower athletic competence, and reported greater displeasure within the social group (Findlay and Coplan 2008). In addition to the development of specific skills and competencies, sport is commonly considered a vital life skill, including, the development of persistence, teamwork, leadership, and character development (Theokas, 2009). For example, Smith and Smoll (1990) found that children with low self- esteem start creating strategies to avoid participation with their peers when they anticipated failure; One of the main causes for this development is the setting of unrealistic goals therefore creating lack of effort on difficult tasks (McHale, 2005). The children seemed highly motivated to avoid failure, in the process the children try to preserve what little self-esteem they possessed (Smith and Smoll (1990).

Research found that athletes that have significantly higher physical ability also have very high self-esteem, social self-esteem, and global self-esteem (Findlay and Coplan, 2008). In addition, sport involvement has been associated with increased social status, particularly for boys, and for children perceived as physically competent (Findlay and Coplan, 2008). Although there is little empirical literature addressing children’s social characteristics (shyness) and sport, there is evidence to suggest that sports have a positive effect on children’s social well-being. (Findlay and Coplan 2008). Research has shown that youth creates a higher degree of personal like and bond for their teammates when exposed to such settings as youth sports (Smith and Smoll 1990).

The Influence of the Coach. It has been revealed that there is a significantly higher level of self-esteem for children who played for the trained coaches as appose to those who had not (Smoll 1993). It is unlikely that all children experience youth sports in the same way, as well as having the same result from their experience Theokas 2009). It has been stated that coaches are major figures in the lives of child athletes, so it is safe to say that their behaviors could affect changes in a child’s self-esteem (Smoll 1993). When children have a coach/ instructor or someone “in charge” of their sport, they are creating a natural mentor relationship with their youth participants (Theokas 2009). Coaches help with the development process by providing feedback and technical instructions to help build social competence. For these reasons stated interactions with coaches prove to be important influences on the development of young athletes (Smith & Smoll, 1990). This proposal would suggest that the nature of esteem-relevant interactions between coach and athlete would be particularly important for children who are low in self-esteem (Smith& Smoll, 1990). Consistent with these measures young athletes indicated that children who were low in self-esteem were highly coachable and showed a strongly attracted to their coaches. (Smoll, 1993).

Research reports that kids not participating in youth sports are twice as likely to experiment with drugs well as have some issue with delinquency (McHale, 2005). Therefore with more training in social support tactics could enhance the ability of schoolteachers, youth leaders, parents, and any other adults who take on leadership positions to have a positive impact on a child’s life, especially in the case of those who are introverted and are low in self-esteem (Smoll, 1993). There was statistical information found, that shows increased levels of self-esteem in the boys who participate in a youth league sports also it stated that the greatest amount of increase of self- esteem was in introvert children (Smoll 1993). The purpose of this research is to examine the potential benefits for shy children, particularly for introvert who are engaged in a team sport. It may be possible that participation will be positive influence that increases social skill and self- esteem measures.



The participants will be broke down into groups of and introverts) and would record all their measures. Recruits, range from 1st grade to senior high students, who currently participate in youth sports in Southeastern Alabama will be recruited as participants for this study. The way this study will be discovered is through an array of questionnaires and personality test. A personality test aims to describe aspects of a person’s character that remain stable throughout that person’s lifetime, as well as an individual’s character pattern of behavior, thoughts, and feelings.


General Self subscale of Self-Esteem Inventory is a measure of general self-esteem which is derived from sample items that rates the children on a 5-point scale ranging from very much like me to not at all like me. The revised General Self-Esteem Scale has adequate internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = .86) and test-retest reliability (.65 over 12 months) in this age group. Scored on the scale could range from 14 to 70. The present sample of children obtained a mean score of 50.66 (SD = 6.91).

Social Skills Rating Scale which has previously been shown to have adequate internal consistency (a’s ranging from .65 to .87), good test-retest reliability, and good criterion validity. Of particular interest for the present study were the externalizing problem behaviors subscale (6 items, Time 1 a =.79, Time 2=.81) and the four social skills subscales (10 items each): cooperation (Time 1 =.80, Time 2 a=.79), assertion (Time 1 a= .66, Time 2 a =.75), responsibility (Time 1 a=.51, Time 2 =.71) and self-control (Time 1 =.83, Time 2 = .84).

Children’s Shyness Questionnaire was administered to the children to review shyness in middle childhood. Previous research has found the measure to have good reliability (a= .82, Scores were summed to create a value for total shyness, and internal consistency was found to be adequate (a= .77 at Time 1, a= .80 at Time 2).


The questionnaire will be administered at a volunteer base status where participants will receive pay. Their parents will also be asked to sign a written consent form; to perform the study there will be a multi-subject design that focuses on children in a variety of different youth sports. Where the youth will be partaking in a bowling league, the entirety of the team will be introverts. With a team full of introverts, they will be forced to step up and take roles on the team that normal they would not do. For instances the children will vote for a president, vice president, and treasure so to have to take a leadership role. Also constant interaction with one another will have a result on their development.


The first question that will be addressed in the hypothesis is if there is a correlation between youth sports and the development of the children’s self- esteem and social skills. It was hypothesis that involvement in youth sports would help stimulate the development of the youth that are involved especially on shy children. To examine this hypothesis further on the youth an ANOVA will be run with the introvert children and involvement in youth sports.

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