Emotional growth is also important for youth. Sometimes, the emotional development of youth is hindered because of the physical and/or emotional absence of parents. Sports provide youth with opportunities to interact with a caring and supportive adult. Adult support outside the family is a major protective factor for high-risk youth. The interaction a child has with his or her coach helps to improve self-esteem as well as lower the chance of depression.
Sports team membership can also help increase a child's self-worth, especially when the emphasis is on group or team success, rather than individual achievement. Youth of all ages, including those in high school, are likely to receive an end-of-the-season trophy for participating in the team sport. Receiving a trophy with their teammates is intended to help youth feel a sense of accomplishment, teamwork, and recognition.
British scientists at the University of Leeds have found that when physical activity is encouraged through the promotion of emotions like "you will be happier" is better than rational reasons like "you'll be healthier". Similar responses are also found in habits like smoking or speed driving.