How club and intramural sports help college students

It’s no surprise that participating in college sports increases physical fitness, but there are many other benefits that may be less obvious. Research has consistently shown that participation in club and intramural sports greatly improves skills such as time management, work ethic and leadership.

Watch this video to see how two UNC club rugby players think playing has improved their mental skills.

Development of life skills

Participation in recreational sports in college is linked to the development of many life skills. Scott Forrester of Brock University surveyed over 30,000 students attending 38 American universities to see how club and recreational sports have benefited them. He found that over 90% of students thought that their participation in recreational sports improved their feeling of well-being, overall health, and fitness level. Almost two-thirds of students surveyed said it helped them with skills and abilities that they will uses after college, and three quarters of students said it improved their time management skills and increased their respect for others.

Improved physical health

Numerous studies over the decades have demonstrated that participation in recreational sports in college improves physical activity later on in life. While this may not be all that surprising, the strength of this relationship is. A study conducted by Phillip Sparling and Teresa Snow showed that 84.7% of people who were active in college were more active as adults while 81.3% of people who were not active on college are less active as adults.

Students who participate in college recreational sports are healthier both mentally and physically.

Drug and alcohol consumption

Participating in recreational sports has mixed effects on drug and alcohol consumption. Matthew Kwan reviewed several studies that looked at the consumption of alcohol, marijuana and other illicit drugs to find the relationship between participation in recreational sports and the consumption of these. He found that people in recreational sports are more likely to consume alcohol, with 82% of studies showing a significant positive relationship. However, 80% of studies found that recreational sports players are less likely to use illicit drugs besides marijuana. Participation in these sports had no effect on marijuana consumption.

Works Cited:

Forrester, Scott. “Benefits of Collegiate Recreational Sports Participation: Results from the 2013 NASPA Assessment and Knowledge Consortium Study.” Recreational Sports Journal, vol. 39, no. 1, 2015, pp. 2–15., doi:10.1123/rsj.2015-0005.

Kwan, Matthew, et al. “Sport Participation and Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies.” Addictive Behaviors, vol. 39, no. 3, 2014, pp. 497–506., doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.11.006.

Sparling, Phillip B., and Teresa K. Snow. “Physical Activity Patterns in Recent College Alumni.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, vol. 73, no. 2, 2002, pp. 200–205., doi:10.1080/02701367.2002.10609009.