Increasing Minority Involvement in High School Sports

The+author+of+the+article+as+pictured+%28bottom+row+1st+student+from+left%29+with+her+teammates+from+the+2017+Freshman+Girls+Volleyball+Team

The author of the article as pictured (bottom row 1st student from left) with her teammates from the 2017 Freshman Girls Volleyball Team

Symeria Fallins-Pryor, Correspondant

Why is it that minority teenagers are less likely to try out for predominantly white sports? Is it due to the overwhelming feeling of not fitting in? Maybe it’s the fear of rejection from their teammates and coaches?

A survey article published by Project Play stated that only 32% of minority teens who began playing sports at a young age continue playing through their high school years. The remaining students may have stopped playing for a variety of reasons with the fear of not fitting in being a major concern. This shouldn’t be the case since sports involvement can be extremely beneficial for students. Some kids rely on sports to help them overcome stress, depression, anxiety or simply be less of an introvert. For teens with non-supportive home environments, teammates and coaches can be especially impactful, as they provide outside sources of support and encouragement.

It’s hard to be passionate about a sport you love when you feel you are constantly being judged by your teammates. I have experienced these feelings, as I felt unwanted and like I did not fit in on my sports team. People may not have realized that they made me feel this way. Hopefully changes can be made to prevent others from feeling the way I did and to make people more aware of their actions.

I believe the change begins with coaches and teachers, as they should be better trained on how to deal with these types of situations. A suggestion I would make to schools would be to make staff a bit more conscious of how their minority students may feel, perhaps through professional development or anti-bias training. They should put better efforts into welcoming all types of students. Students of color should also break this cycle and try out for sports, regardless of the fact that they may be the only minority. By doing this, they can encourage and inspire other students to try out as well. Through making these changes, we will hopefully double the number of minority students in high school sports.

Overall, minority student involvement in high school sports is a prevalent issue. Change is imperative to increase involvement and raise school-wide awareness. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email