Encouraging sportsmanship in schools

Encouraging sportsmanship in schools

Children learn the importance of key values such as honesty, teamwork, trust and leadership through participation in sports and physical education, write Shantanu Prakash.

 It is now universally acknowledged that the overall development of a child is critically dependent on striking the right balance between curricular and extra-curricular activities like sports and travel that allow for competitive and team building skills among them. Although the present education system in India aspires to develop and enhance all facets of a child’s personality, it leaves a lot to be desired due to the quality of the overall approach where marks and grades and associated family and peer pressure almost always takes precedence. It is thus important that the best education system should not only focus on the academic curriculum but also give equal weightage to extra-curricular activities.  

Sports play a fundamental role in the early development of children and are considered to be an important component of quality education. Children involved in any type of sports can develop their motor skills, which serve as building blocks for more complicated movements. Skills learned while playing sports contribute a great deal in holistic development of kids and they are known to boost academic performances as well. Sports teach discipline, commitment, passion, and concentration while augmenting energy levels. Moreover, sports will also aid in reducing the risk of obesity, asthma, physical disorders and other serious health problems among children.

Key values

Children also learn the importance of key values such as honesty, teamwork, trust, and leadership through participation in sport and physical education. Sports help in building self-confidence and other admirable characteristics in a child. Sports also motivate children and teach them lessons about life, as well as the importance of social stability and education.

Children are often besieged by many psychological and physical challenges at a young age and having health, confidence, self-esteem and other social issues can be detrimental to a child's development in life. Participation in sports can help in preventing these issues.

A properly designed sport curriculum focuses on enhancing the motor skills of children, which helps them in getting stronger, building healthier bodies. Sports-based programmes also help in improving learning of children and encourage them to succeed academically. To achieve broader goals in education, sports programmes should be structured in such a manner that they focus on the development of the individual and not only technical sports skills.

Physical skills

Indian education system has lagged in developing physical skills of children due to virtual absence of trainers, training facilities, instructions and initiatives. This also partly explains why India hasn’t produced any significant number of athletes and other sportsmen and sportswomen a global stage. While the situation is changing, a lot of initiatives still have to be taken at pre-school level in India to actively involve and engage children in sports and extra-curricular activities and enhance their talent in this field. 

Soccer is one of the games that help in honing skills, build team spirit, teach fundamental football techniques and elementary life skills in a vibrant environment for the kids. The concept of  a Football club to promote soccer has been adopted in many countries, but in India, it has just started.

Sports clubs in schools should be exclusively designed to inculcate a love for sports, teach about the spirit of healthy competition, teamwork, cooperation, sportsmanship and provide students a platform to showcase their abilities and enjoy various sports. This club should revolve around a uniquely designed sports curriculum that focuses on nurturing motor skills like eye-feet co-ordination, flexibility and body balance, developing leg strength, and building teamwork. It also focuses on building football skills like dribbling, dodging, passing and kicking the ball. Above all, it seeks to re-direct children’s attention from passive watching and internet gaming to real life action leading them to fit, active and healthy lifestyles.

As a child, one often heard elders use this adage to prod their kids to study: “Padoge, likhoge banoge nawaab; kheloge, kuduge hoge kharaab.” Loosely translated, it means that if you study, you will become a king but if you play, you will be a no body. Thankfully, parents are now increasingly realizing the importance and contribution of sports as well in overall development of their children. 

To sum up The three important things which a child learns from sports: 

Goal setting: Sports give kids a safe place to set goals and experience the thrill of achieving them.  

Overcoming Adversity: Sports are a lab for life. The participant learns how to overcome adversity in a safe environment. e.

Building Character: Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

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