Why are sports and games important in schools?

Importance of Sports in Education

When we think of schools, the first few images that come to our mind are those of classrooms, lectures, exams, etc. Stretch your imagination, and you will reach the playgrounds used for small durations packed somewhere between the hectic class schedule. The importance of sports and games has gradually increased in schools over the last decade or so. Increasing emphasis on holistic development – a combination of mind, body, and soul- has emphasised engaging students in sports and games in addition to rote learning inside classrooms. The benefits of sports and games have far outreached fun and fitness and have ventured into the realms of mental health and personality development. Parents, schools, and teachers have realised the true value of games and sports in the holistic development of children.

Below are some critical benefits of sports and games that highlight the importance of sports and games for children in schools.

Physical health

Health and fitness are one of the most straightforward benefits of sports and games for kids. Children who are active in sports and games are physically fit, develop stronger immune systems against contagious diseases, and for a lifelong stay away from lifestyle issues such as obesity, diabetes, heart issues, blood pressure, etc.

Mental health

The benefits and sports and games stretch much beyond physical health, but also into mental health. Engaging in sports requires children to go through tough situations, competitive pressures, victories and losses, performing in front of a cheering (or booing) crowd, etc. Facing these situations builds their mental toughness and character. Sports teach children the ability to handle their emotions, their highs and lows better. Just the emotion of competing and giving their best fills children with an extreme sense of fulfilment which does wonders for their mental health. Playing sports and games can also be an outlet for some children. They get a chance to express themselves freely and expend their pent-up energies, feelings, and emotions on the playground into their performances. This release opportunity acts as a soothing agent for their tender minds.

Motor skills

For kids in their early years, playing sports and games can help develop their motor skills – their ability to coordinate simple movements such as holding a ball, catching a ball, balancing, hitting a target, etc. These movements involve multiple sensory nerves. The more you play the better they get.

Cognitive skills

Sports and games are not all brawn. There is a fair element of brains involved as well. Strategizing against your opponents, planning your course of action, and outthinking your opponent in crunch situations are key ingredients to emerging victorious. It involves a fair amount of brain juices and grey matter. Engaging in sports and games also sharpens children’s thinking abilities and develops useful life skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making.

Social skills

Most sports and games require efficient teamwork to compete. Large team games such as football, cricket, basketball and volleyball or even small team games such as badminton doubles, tennis doubles, kabaddi, etc all require teamwork. Children learn to work together tiding over their differences to win as a team. While there might be an occasional spat around whom to blame for a loss, with time children realise that after all, it is the team that wins or loses. Children learn to go through their highs and lows together as a group. Picking up each other when they’re down, celebrating each other’s achievements and performances. The social skills that get built on the field enable the children to deal with the longer-term game called life.

Goal orientation

While competing to win in sports, children learn to be focused and goal-oriented. To excel at sports, you need to be extremely focused. Competing in sports builds the ability of children to focus and concentrate. A very critical attribute which will hold them in good stead even in their classrooms.

Hard work, discipline and dedication

Another key lesson sports teach children is the value of hard work, discipline and dedication. Competing in sports and games develops habits that build a positive work ethic in children. The sporting icons that children look up to, the likes of MS Dhoni or Christiano Ronaldo, or Roger Federer, are where they are because of years of hard work, discipline and dedication. There are no shortcuts in sports. You might get lucky occasionally, but not every time, and not for long. It’s an extremely valuable takeaway for children when they engage in sports and games.

Self-esteem, self-confidence, and sense of achievement

Competing in sports and games makes children more confident, builds their self-esteem and gives them a sense of achievement. They don’t necessarily need to win all the time. Just the act of competing and giving their best fills them with self-pride which is very essential to build confidence and self-esteem.

Managing emotions

Children engaged actively in sports often go through a roller-coaster of emotions. Some days they win, other days they lose. Joy and ecstasy are frequently mixed with disappointment and heartache. Children learn to manage these emotions well when they are actively engaged in sports and games.

Career opportunities

There was a time when sports were considered to be a hobby, a pass-time and nothing more. However, in recent times, sports have emerged as a serious career opportunity. For example, cricket is not just a sport limited to 15-20 individuals who make it to the Indian cricket team. Cricket is now about the IPL (Indian Premier League) and many such sports leagues across the world. There are plenty of examples of cricketers who never made it to the Indian team but have made their mark (and enough money) by playing in leagues such as the IPL. These career opportunities are not just limited to playing. Associating with sports also offers very lucrative career opportunities such as sports management, commentating, coaching, officiating (umpiring and refereeing), physiotherapy, sports medicine, sports analysis, etc.

Sports and games are an integral part of life at EuroSchool. EuroSchool boasts best-in-class sporting facilities, equipment, and coaching staff. At EuroSchool, we follow a balanced schooling approach which combines the development of mind, body, and soul to achieve the ultimate goal of holistic development of our students.

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