How Can Sport Help Create Positive Behaviour in Young People?

Posted by
Hannah Hambleton
October 10, 2023

Sport has long been recognised as a powerful tool for positive change in individuals and communities. When it comes to vulnerable young people, sport can play a crucial role in alternative provision models, offering a unique and practical approach to education, personal development, and behaviour change. At Brightstar, we use boxing as a tool to drive these changes.

In this article, we'll explore how sport can be used in alternative education provision and examine its impact on changing behaviour positively in vulnerable young people.

How Important Is Sport?

Sport offers a platform for physical activity, skill development, teamwork, and personal growth. It can engage and inspire individuals, providing a sense of purpose and belonging. In alternative provision settings, where traditional educational methods may not effectively reach certain young people, sport becomes vital for creating meaningful connections and facilitating change.

The Benefits of Sports in Alternative Education Provision

Engaging in sports, and physical activity, brings a wide range of benefits for young people. These benefits extend beyond physical fitness and encompass social, emotional, and cognitive aspects of development. We know that sense of belonging, purpose and community are vital for positive wellbeing, and these can support young people who have experienced trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).

Some of the benefits of sport include:

  • Increased self-respect, and respect for others
  • Learning how to face and overcome obstacles in a positive way
  • Understanding the importance of setting goals and working towards them
  • Boosted self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Mentorship and support outside of the traditional school environment
  • Positive impact on mental wellbeing through the release of endorphins

Sport Can Change Behaviour for Good

Sport has the power to transform behaviours and reactions to different situations. By engaging in sports, young people experience a shift in their mindset and develop crucial life skills. They learn discipline, perseverance, and resilience, essential for personal growth and behaviour change. Through sports, individuals can develop a sense of responsibility and learn to work collaboratively within a team, fostering positive relationships and reducing antisocial behaviour.

Positive Outcomes for Young People From Sport

Utilising sport in alternative provision models leads to positive outcomes for young people. By actively participating in sports, they experience improved educational results and attendance rates. They are less likely to face exclusions and have a reduced chance of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training). Furthermore, engaging in sports enhances their employability and increases their levels of engagement and aspiration.

We have seen these positive results and impact on our Futures programme. Young people referred to the programme have reported increased self-confidence, better self-esteem and improved anger management. You can read more about our impact here.

Sport Can Help To Reduce Antisocial Behaviour

Antisocial behaviour among young people is a growing concern in many communities. While it can be challenging to establish a direct cause-effect relationship between sport and behaviour, numerous studies have highlighted the impact of sport in reducing antisocial behaviour. By providing alternative outlets and opportunities for expression, sport helps divert young people from negative behaviours and instils positive social skills.

Sport as a Way to Create Belonging

Sport can also be seen as a key way to create a real sense of belonging for vulnerable young people. Through participation in sports, individuals can find a new sense of belonging and structure. This sense of belonging is crucial in redirecting their focus from criminal activities towards positive engagement. Sports-based rehabilitation programs offer a supportive environment that fosters personal growth, self-control, and self-discipline.

Sport Can Improve Emotional Wellbeing

Certain sports, particularly those involving high levels of physical contact, such as boxing, can provide an essential outlet for channelling challenging behaviours, or challenges with mental health issues such as anxiety. By participating in such sports, young people can release feelings of stress or anger in a controlled and safe manner, supported by coaches trained in mental health and wellbeing.

To Wrap Up

Sport has the remarkable ability to bring about behaviour change, particularly in vulnerable young people. By incorporating sports into alternative provision models, educators and mentors can leverage the power of sports to improve educational outcomes, increase self-confidence, and transform challenging behaviours. 

At Brightstar, we've seen fantastic results in having boxing as a hook or platform for personal growth, social interaction, and improved self-confidence. In turn, this creates positive attitudes, resilience, and pro-social, positive behaviour. Investing in sports-based alternative provision programs can create a brighter future for our vulnerable young people and promote a more inclusive and supportive society.

Visit our Futures page to find out more about our alternative education programme, or contact Joe Lockley on [email protected]

Share this post