Recently, a debate has arisen on the importance of sports or physical education in various levels of schools—elementary, middle, high schools, and beyond. For some, the argument is that any form of sporting activity is unnecessary. They argue that it is tasking on the kids and a whole berth away from algebra and science. Others say it distracts the kids from their studies and gives them the illusion that they have an alternative to poor grades if they excel at sports. On the other side of the fence, some agree that athletics is good for the child—physically and mentally. This listicle tends to lean more to the latter than the former.
“Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose—it teaches you about life.” — Billie Jean King
From time immemorial, sporting activities in schools have served as an outlet for students to release pent-up energy by helping to shape their bodies and minds. In this instance, all work and no play will make Jack and Jill a dull boy and girl respectively. There needs to be some harmonious equilibrium between academics and staying physically fit and healthy. Due to its enormous benefits, sports or physical education is an essential requirement in a school’s curriculum. Perhaps, if individuals can understand the following benefits of these in-school-games, it would help create an understanding of why sporting activities should be an integral part of the modern educational system. Having said all that, what are the benefits of sports?
#1. Research Supports Sports in Schools
Statistics show that most of the students who participate in sports fare better than those who don’t. This assertion stems from the fact that like other forms of exercise, engaging in any sports sharpens the mind and keeps the body fit—a healthy heart, a healthy brain. Sports require sharp mental abilities that help individuals turn out to be disciplined children.
#2. Sports Enhances the Focus Factor in Kids
As a parent, it is natural to be worried about your child being distracted. Thereby, engaging them in extracurricular sports activities such as soccer, basketball, baseball, football, track, to mention but a few—will help maintain their concentration and focus. This activity will not only contain their energy—it will also channel it to positive endeavors and keep them out of trouble.
#3. Sports Helps Students with Learning Difficulties
The prevalent notion is that when a student is having difficulty in his or her studies, most times, it has nothing to do with sports. On the contrary, sports or physical education has helped students with learning difficulties have a focal point in their lives. Sports has served as an anchor, and for some, the fact that they excel at sports gives them a reason to believe that learning is also a hurdle they can surmount.
#4. Sports Is Necessary for Holistic Education
According to the popular saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!” Physical education is essential for students to experience an all-round education—a holistic or complete education. Learning is not limited to all that is being taught in the classroom. Sports and other educational programs and activities should be encouraged for the emotional and physical training they bring to the child.
#5. Great Athletes Start Early (G.A.S.E)
School sports and physical education help children develop potentials which they may further develop professionally. Most of the great sportsmen and women we see today started from a tender age, and early training helped shape them into the great athletes they are today—Great Athletes Start Early (G.A.S.E).
“The game of basketball has been everything to me. My place of refuge, a place I’ve always gone where I needed comfort and peace. It’s been the site of intense pain and the most intense feelings of joy and satisfaction. It’s a relationship that has evolved over time, given me the greatest respect and love for the game.” — Michael Jordan
#6. Sports Can Help Students Get Good Grades
Some schools have a policy that if you flunk your grades, you stand no chance of engaging in sports. Students who plan to go pro are advised to keep a specific Grade Point Average (GPA) yearly to be allowed to continue participating in sports. Student-athletes are forced to maintain good grades to meet the standards of their favorite game of choice. This policy serves as a motivating factor to focus on their studies as a fair trade to participate in sports.
#7. Fit Body = Healthy Mind
Physical Education helps keep the children fit and teaches them good habits that they can imbibe from an early age. Although some may argue that children do not need fitness in these beginning stages of life; however, it is never too late to start. Exercise generally gives individuals a sound mind and a healthy body.
#8. Sports Cultivates A Sense of Community
What better way can a student fly the flag of the community by representing the school in community-based sports. From this early stage, students in elementary, middle, and high school begin learning to cultivate the spirit of sportsmanship, team spirit, healthy competition, and community representation.
#9. Sports Can Help Build Social Bonds
It is always a nice idea to encourage the spirit of leadership and social skills. High school students who participate in sporting activities use such avenues to build solid friendships and engage in social activities. For children who are painfully shy, this is a great way to mingle and interact with like minds.
#10. Lifestyle Skills
Physical education involves learning new skills necessary for the development of a child. These skills may come in handy as he or she grows. These skills include time management, learning defense mechanisms to protect themselves from attackers and so on.
We have seen the ten reasons why sports should be a requirement in schools. First, statistical research supports the fact that games can be fun and beneficial in schools. It bolsters mental alertness in kids and adults alike. Second, sports help to enhance the focus factor in participants. Third, sports could also help students with learning difficulties. If they succeed in a sport, it could give them a jolt of confidence towards wanting to do better in their academics. Fourth, sports can be a great contributor towards a holistic and balanced education. Fifth, starting sports earlier on can help develop sports prodigies later in life.
“Sports teaches you to understand the meaning of a team. You need to be able to work with everybody; you don’t have to be their best friend. You can experience the fun of competition and driving toward a common goal without pushing to bond in some major way with each individual on a project.” — Kathleen Kennedy
Sixth, participation in sports could be a fabulous catalyst for students who wish to continue in sports in school. We see this a lot in high schools and colleges. Seventh, a fit body, in many occasions, is equal to a healthy mind. Eighth, sports can help cultivate the spirit of sportsmanship, team spirit, healthy competition, and community representation. Ninth, in-school-games is a great way that allows kids, teenagers or adults alike to build lasting social bonds and friendships. Tenth, sports can help in the development of lifestyle skills that would prove beneficial later in life (e.g., self-defense).
Although that this listicle may not be exhaustive and there could be other reasons why sports should be a requirement in schools, we have itemized various reasons that can help us form an opinion on why sports should be a requirement in schools. The benefits can only make kids, teenagers, and adults more rounded human beings. Hence, there is a need to promote sports and various forms of physical education in our educational system. The goal is to attain a more holistic pattern of scholarship that the body, mind, soul, and spirit benefits. You will do your children a whole world of good when you let them engage in sports!