A holistic education includes the all-round development of an individual. This includes mental, social, cultural and physical growth. However, schools and colleges have become a lot more scholastic in their approach to education due to the ridiculous competitive standards amongst institutions and their warped criteria for judging, fostering and nurturing a students’ capabilities. As a result, sports (and several other extracurriculars) are generally neglected by most institutions as they are simply seen as an outlet for physical activity. In my own life, I have seen physical education being treated as a free period in school wherein most students were just left to their own devices, often times indoors. Several other times, these lectures were substituted for more ‘important’ academic courses. Of course, there are try-outs for teams to represent the institution in various competitions and tournaments but then again they turn out to be extremely exclusive and reserved only for the athletic kids.
In this way, most institutions have created a dichotomy amongst students where they’re either considered ‘sporty’ or otherwise. This is super unhealthy for the development of students and moreover, leads to arbitrary groupism in high-school student hierarchies. Losing out on sports in the process of education means that students haven’t been exposed to the world as ideally as possible. The opportunity to participate in at least minimal physical activity must hence be inclusive and, to some extent, mandatory. Including sports and games as a more active part of an educational curriculum has numerous advantages for students which need to stop being overlooked.
The most pronounced benefit of including a healthy sports program into the academic curriculum is that it will encourage students to live a fitter lifestyle. With the amount of lethargy students exhibit due to the desk-work that’s expected from them, this provides them with a healthy way to channel their energy and exercise. Moreover, obesity is becoming an increasing concern for children and so engaging in some good ol’ cardiovascular activity out in the open will definitely go a long way to counter serious weight gain. Additionally, it also strengthens their bones and makes for a healthier respiratory system.
In a study published in the medical journal, “Pediatrics”, it is stated that if every student participated in about two sports during the course of the year, obesity levels would plummet about 26% lower.
The sports sector is one that relies most fundamentally on teamwork (barring solo games) so it is of no wonder that sports instill the right attitude towards teamwork amongst kids. It also teaches them lessons of trust and planning while rewarding them for strategizing and working hard as individuals and as a team.
Once you bring teamwork in the mix, man-management and leadership automatically becomes part of the game (pun intended). Indulging in sports brings about so many overt and subtle improvements in kids’ personalities and the skills they inherit. Captaining sports teams and managing the way they function makes a big difference in the development of an individual’s leadership skills at a very early age. It provides one with a sense of focus, determination and drive to win which then gets carried forward to other avenues of life.
Good players inspire themselves, great players inspire others.
A lot of kids are needlessly insecure of their abilities in their formative growth years. While this is understandable in the chaotic world trying to find your place, it is something that schools must acknowledge and help kids overcome. Sports and extracurriculars are a great way of building students’ self-esteem as they are exposed to more of the world through which they learn that while important, academia isn’t the be all and end all of their scholastic identity. In other words, kids are made aware that they can find their calling and their passion outside of the classroom space. Moreover, this exposure teaches them that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and that they must appreciate themselves for the abilities they possess.
Sports also serves as an important catalyst to develop one’s socialising skills as a kid. With school and academia making you work alone for the most part, sports is a great way for students to take a break and get sidetracked and interact with one another. Additionally, when kids are made to compete against one another as teams, the odds of them communicating better with one another to achieve their goals improves drastically. This makes for better rounded social individuals in the future.
It teaches one the important lessons of perseverance, determination and hard work. It also instills a sense of sportsmanship in individuals which is essential in order for them to learn how to deal with both winning and losing. They carry these lessons along with them as they grow up into other parts of their lives.
Sports do not build character. They reveal it.
One great thing (amongst many) about sports is that it teaches discipline in a way unlike any other. It makes individuals understand the value of sticking to a routine, punctuality, eating right and treating your body with respect. It also instills discipline in people through the process of rewarding them for the efforts that they make over a period of time. Thus, sports makes discipline and consistency a way of life.
Improving Overall Performance:
Sports is proven to be a major contributing factor in improving the overall performance of students in academics. This should come as no surprise considering how a stimulating activity like running around can get all the right juices flowing. Exercising, moreover, releases great feel-good hormones like dopamine, not to mention the several endorphins that interact with your brain and trigger positive changes in the body as well as the mind.
It is thus imperative that sports must must be included in educational curriculum so as to build fitter, stronger and better rounded individuals for the future. With the right curriculum, they will be smarter and more able to take on the world outside. Hence, sports as well as other extracurricular activities must be given their due importance in schools and institutions starting today.
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