Children are constantly striving to be the best possible version of themselves which school sports related activities push them to achieve!
Children in their formative years are very sensitive to information from the outside world. They are still acquiring information of what the actual world entails. As they grow a little older, comes their developmental stage. In this stage, they are normally school going children who spend a large amount of time in the school sports environment which naturally decides the kind of person they become to a large extent!
Thus, the activities and curriculum they are exposed to at the school level decides the nature of exposure, openness to opportunities to grow and determines their overall development.
Participation in sports is one such determiner of a student’s holistic development.
Now, a common belief is that engaging in sports only leads to physical benefits among children, keeps them busy and so on. However, what we miss is the psychological, social and emotional learnings that they bear from being involved in a sport for recreation or for competition. Along with receiving a high-quality education throughout these developmental years, prioritizing sports participation to some extent and a curriculum that gives it adequate importance is extremely vital.
Positive Outcomes of Sports Participation Among students (Psychological)
Being exposed to a sporting environment helps character building in children as it involves all round skills including responsibility, discipline, fairness and honesty, compassion, respect etc. which are all crucial ingredients of character building.
High Competence and Confidence
According to a number of studies, participating in sports help children in building confidence. Some children who might not be academically too bright often turn to other domains, often sports to realize their potential which can become their source of confidence. Appreciation from teammates and coaches, successfully executing their techniques etc. are all elements of sports that does this job.
Children are able to better regulate their emotions with increased involvement in sporting activities. A significant aspect of many sporting events is emotion. This is because sports make them aware of a range of emotions that can surface from anger, frustration, stress, guilt to cheerful, happiness, joy.
Sports can do wonders when it comes to building resilience among children. Resilience looks like accepting adversity and handling it adequately without much harm to their physical and emotional capacities. It also helps them maximize their abilities and know their limits. This helps them in many walks of life.
Positive Self Esteem
The self-esteem is reinforced by compliments and encouraging remarks from the coach, parents, and other players. It’s crucial to keep in mind that success or failure shouldn’t have any bearing on a child’s sense of self-worth. Children need constructive feedback in order to recognize and improve their shortcomings.
Improved Mental Wellbeing
High self-esteem and confidence, positive attitude, sportsmanship, resilience all eventually contribute to a child’s overall wellbeing. They are better able to handle success and failures in life, develop the “never give up” spirit early in life and have overall greater life satisfaction.
Sports as a life skill: Key Learnings (Social)
Understanding social relationships
Sports does not exist in isolation! It includes equal involvement of stakeholders from school staff, teachers, coaches to parents, management etc. Thus, it develops a sense of understanding of how you build social relationships and how they contribute to one’s life.
Cooperation and Adaptability
Sports is more than often the coming together of a team. It is also being used in different environments and conditions. With this, children learn two essential life skills of cooperating and adapting which stays with them for life.
Functioning in teams and groups
Sports imbibe the ability to function effectively in groups and teams, enables healthy interactions and communication with each other and most importantly children learn the importance of team effort and distributing roles and responsibilities.
Children are naturally trained how to be good leaders, including how to communicate with other teammates, control team attitudes, and take a stand when necessary. They apply these abilities off the field or court as well, making them great leaders who others desire to emulate.
The Road from School sports to Olympics
The Sports Ministry of India has revamped the Khelo India initiative to ‘enable pathways from schools to Olympics’! Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the Ex – Hon’ble Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, declared that the revised Khelo India initiative aimed to facilitate young athletes’ transition from grassroots level to the bigger stages. Under this, many schools and colleges have now been represented as athletic hubs around the nation.
Now, this only throws light on the importance of sports awareness and exposure to opportunities given at a community level, that most importantly includes school going children. This is the ideal time when they can be involved in sports and learn skills that benefits them wholly, helps them realize their true calling and how they can grow and grow with sports.
Journey of School sports to Students Mind
It becomes easier to achieve all these goals with the help of diverting our attention to how sports curriculum at the school level can be revamped with the help of sports psychologist and sports psychology in an effort to re-invent sports and physical education lessons in schools and turn them into an experience of wholesomeness, growth and life skills with the right training and guidance given to students!