Why We Love Sports Mentoring (And You Should, Too!)

Why We Love Sports Mentoring (And You Should, Too!)

Sports based mentoring should be implemented in every public school. The idea behind a sports mentoring program is to give students an opportunity to realize their potential in their athletics, academics, and most importantly in their lives outside the classrooms.

Having a coach that not only teaches the sport and has fun with the students, but also takes the time to get to know them on a personal level, creates a trusting relationship that has the students coming to them to share any problems they may be having in the classroom or at home.

In a study conducted by McGill University, coaches examined the effects of mentoring on colligate athletes by placing emphasis on nurturing the development of their athletes in all facets of their lives. Researchers found that athletes who had coaches/mentors acting as confidents, counselors, or positive role models reported a higher degree of comfort to express emotions and were more engaged in their academics.

“The idea is that you want to develop independent thinking, creative, responsible individuals who can make decisions when they leave. There is going to be ups and downs along the way, but in the end, if they have survived the rigorous, demanding and intense athletic involvement, and if they have also done well academically and achieved their degrees, what more rewarding experiences could you ask for?” (Basketball coach in study)

Many at-risk students come from an environment of abuse, drugs and alcohol, and gang violence. In their minds they are on a fast track to dropping out and don’t have much confidence in their future. Sports mentoring programs like BAM (Becoming A Man) Sports Edition help them to realize their potential, build their confidence, and encourage them to be more involved in their schools.

Some of our BAM mentors come from a similar environment and can relate to them and say “Hey, it’s okay to feel angry in your situation because I’ve been there.  But what matters is how you handle it, and how you grow from it as a person.” Being able to share advise with similar experiences really helps them build a relationship with the students, and helps them develop social emotional learning, as well as other aspects of their lives.

In a study conducted in 15 Chicago Public Schools, including 2,740 young men between 7th and 10th grade randomized between an intervention group and a control group, researchers found that BAM Sports caused:

  • An increase in school engagement, measured by factors such as attendance and credits earned.
  • A difference in the incidence of violent crime arrests of 44% for the group in BAM-Sports.

Check out this video which outlines the role of a BAM Sports Mentor.


Find out how you can help support programs like BAM, which are having a tangible impact on reducing violence here in Chicago.

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