How Sport Develops Well Rounded Children

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The benefits of sport are well known to all of us in ways that it improves and maintains good health. The risk of blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases is drastically lower among physically active people and these benefits and behaviour traits start at an early age.

There are also several other benefits that contribute to student success.

Improved Academic Achievement

Some people assume that academics and sport are seperate choices. Sport does require a lot of time and energy and some assume this can be a distraction from academic pursuits. However, the opposite is true. Sports activities require many skills that complement and develop good academic habits. Memorisation, repetition and learning are all skillsets that are directly relevant to academic classwork. Determination, courage, risk taking and goal setting are all essential for both the classroom and the sporting fields. Countless research has proven that daily physical activities directly influences academic performance.

Improved Social Skills

It is a natural behaviour for human beings to want to feel part of a team or a group. We want to feel a sense of belonging and this happens best when we interact with our peers in a friendly manner. Mutual respect and cooperation is practiced through learning to consider the interest of other team mates. We work together, share time, equipment and resources, take turns and cooperate. We learn to cope with both success and failure, not only as individuals but as team members. All of these natural group dynamics facilitate bonding, friendships and connections between school mates so that children can become more sociable and outgoing, confident and successful. Fighting for a common goal with a group of other players teaches you how to build a collective team synergy.

Reduced Risk of Negative Influences

Any research will tell you that youths who participate in sports are less likely to commit crimes. When children are unsupervised, bored and make their own decisions about how to use free time they are very likely to make poor decisions. Active children, committed to a purpose are less likely to smoke, drink and do drugs. Children who play sport learn to set goals, make strategies, plan and contribute to success later in life, in the workplace and other community settings. Also, you will most likely make many new friends on the team who can be there for you as a positive support system. Good people tend to hang around with good people.

Improved Self Esteem and Confidence

Children who engage in friendly competition with school friends have a much easier time maintaining a healthy body image and weight. Obesity in later life is less likely when children are confident and have good self worth. When you play well and win games, you gain a sense of accomplishment and feel the direct consequences of personal contribution. Even when you lose a game based on points you feel satisfied by smaller accomplishments within the game, the fun of interaction and benefits of shared reward.

Improved Health

Sedentary children have much higher risks of obesity both now and in the future as they develop into mature adults. Inactive children most often become inactive adults because the behaviours become entrenched lifestyle traits. Active children and adults develop and maintain healthy hearts, lungs, muscles and bones. When we exercise we reduce stress levels, anxiety and behavioural problems. Regular exercise develops people who are healthy most of the time. Also, a group of people counting on you to show up and work hard is plenty of motivation for you to get to the gym or do healthy exercise day in and day out.

We believe that schools are a place to develop the whole child and to develop healthy lifestyle habits. This includes thinking skills, leadership, personal development and physical attributes. Schools do not replace the family home and responsibilities shared there, however by working in synergy with parents who value the same things, schools can help accelerate outcomes and help develop healthy well rounded people.

CEO and Education Expert Greg Parry