Wednesday, 20 April, 2022 - 11:45
Benefits of school sports programs

Sports Programs, Sport Incursions and Sport Excursions are popular topics- read more about Why Schools Are Including More Sports Programs into the curriculum

There is no question that regular physical activity has proven health benefits beyond just fitness. Resilience, focus and social wellbeing are all key considerations that schools are now blending into the curriculum through sport programs and sport incursions.

Educational institutes acknowledge and recognise that students’ lives are becoming more and more stressful each year, especially as they approach high school. It’s important to provide strategies and programs to help balance academics, social development and emotional wellbeing.

Let’s just start off by saying students do not have to be sporty or a star athlete to participate in a sports program. There are lots of life lessons that can be learned by just participating in a physical activity. The beauty about sport incursions is that the programs are adaptable and differentiated to suit all ages focus and abilities. Many of these programs are based on the theory of inclusive education with a strong focus on fun which is vital for those kids that may shy away from a perceived competitive environment. This reluctance to participate is quickly overcome by simply being involved in a fun physical activity. 

The sessions are purposefully conducted in a safe and encouraging team-based environment and provide everyone with that opportunity to achieve success which is what makes these informal learning environments so successful.

Here are just 5 great reasons why sport programs are being incorporated into the school curriculum and how these activity-based programs are helping to boost students’ self-esteem and self-confidence.

Social Wellbeing

The very nature of being a part of a sports team helps students of all ages to develop friendships and participation encourages respect for diversity. One thing we have learned through Covid19 is that the ability to face everything with a smile and move forward in all circumstances is a core leadership skill. Having a common interest and the innate camaraderie of a team environment helps to improve communication and emotional intelligence.

Positive Impact on Academic Performance 

Studies have shown a positive connection between sports activities and improved memory and cognitive functions of the brain. This means that students can perform better in academics if sports are made a part of their routine. Skills such as coordination, multitasking and situational awareness all enhance academic capabilities.

Leadership Skills

Sports activities, competitions and practice requires commitment, good coordination, teamwork and cooperation. Using sport as a tool to develop leadership skills leads to good decision makers and ultimately well-balanced adults who are able to boost their teams while leading with confidence.

Encourages a Success Mindset

Athletes are continually coached and mentored in managing a positive mindset, a core skill that often supersedes the physical ability to play a sport competitively. In addition to strong focus and concentration development, sport allows students to practise the art of knowing when to take risks and when not to. Students develop internal skills for handling pressure and learn not to be intimidated by a challenge. These students often find creative ways to progress more easily.

Physical Wellbeing

An interest in outdoor sports minimises sedentary activities such as playing video games or watching television. We really do not need to be health experts to recognise the value of a healthy lifestyle.

 Daily physical activity has countless benefits proven by medical practitioners from a range of health care fields

  • Just taking part in a light activity such as walking releases endorphins and can help increase blood flow to the brain
  • Staying active can help kids and teens sleep better
  • Sports may even help ward off issues like depression and anxiety
  • Ball sports can improve hand-eye and foot-eye coordination
  • Promotes better balance
  • Physical activity helps to regulate mood
  • Stress reliever

We all agree that rigorous academic preparation provides students with a solid foundation that will grant them access to enter any number of career fields. However, it is now equally as important to include a holistic approach to preparing students with the kinds of skills required by the leadership roles of tomorrow. When it comes to helping students develop and hone soft skills, team sports may well top the list of character-building endeavours.

There is no doubt COVID impacted the learning journey for many students and the spotlight fell on mental wellbeing vs academics. Many schools have since adopted a progressive approach to education, one that acknowledges, accepts and adapts to what science is telling us about holistic development. Because of this, schools are equally committed to sports as they are to academics. In fact, the two are symbiotic: When integrated together into the curriculum, they add up to a cohort of much stronger, healthier and happier students.

How to Go about including a sports program?

There are several ways in which your school can include these programs. You may want to consider the length of program first from overnight excursions, one-off incursions to ongoing multi-sport or fun fitness boot camp programs. Decide on the core focus and outcomes you want to achieve. Chat with your sports facilitator, these programs are highly adaptable, and the learning is achieved by intentional design.

Depending on your school’s eligibility many primary schools are able to access government funding to run a sports program, so check your local department of education website to see what is currently on offer then contact an accredited company to chat through your options. Many can provide a tailored program to suit your schools’ budget, time and outcomes.

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Author: ClaudineF

Claudine is a people connector with a passion for bringing together communities and organizations for good through travel. With a degree in global business, she left her home country to travel full time with her family while working remotely, designing educational programs and marketing content for international niche markets. “Seeing the positive change that travel inspires in young people is what I am passionate about sharing, adventure has a unique way of teaching you something new”