by Ruby Lyon
Most education experts agree that providing academic support alongside athletics improves results. The theory is that the skills taught and values learned in an effective athletic program can be transferred to academics.
Most under-served schools and communities have fewer opportunities for kids to participate in sports. This means that the very kids who would benefit most from athletic programs are the least likely to have access.
Row New York believes that sports, in general, play a big role in helping to develop character, but rowing, in particular, builds a strong work ethic through the sheer determination, endurance, and teamwork it demands. We see this work ethic played out in the classroom, where focus and tenacity yield higher grades and, in turn, higher college acceptance rates.
We’ve seen improved results over the years; but more importantly, our student-athletes have seen improvements in themselves.
“I realized how hard I can push myself. I also learned how to commit to something for a long period of time.”
“I learned that with enough work, I can do anything.”
“I am always capable of doing more than what I thought I could.”
(Taken verbatim from end of year survey 2015)
[expert from our 2015 annual report]
What the Experts Say
Recent findings in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reinforce what we already know to be true: athletics boosts academic results. Within this mutualistic relationship we see that time taken away from the classroom for sports does not come at the cost of good grades – in fact, it improves them. Physical activity increases brain development, function, and intellect. Simply mastering motor skills boosts brain power and academic performance.
“A single session of moderately energetic physical activity has immediate positive effects on brain function, intellect, and academic performance.” – British Journal of Sports Medicine, PsychCentral
Grades aren’t the only positive effect of physical fitness. Active students run a lower risk of developing heart disease and type II diabetes. We see community develop from sports, bringing people together from diverse backgrounds and creating space for social inclusion.
Young people walk away from our boats with life skills that will carry much farther than high school. We see motivation, confidence, self-esteem, tenacity, and grit grow from dedication to rowing. With 100% of our students graduating from high school on time compared to the 70% citywide average, we know numbers speak for themselves. Mic drop.
Learn more about Row New York’s program in this year’s annual report.