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
True words of wisdom indeed. Sports teaches us literally every lesson of life and sometimes even more. It gives us a new outlook and perspective. It instils discipline in us and at the same time teaches us how to have fun. Choose any sport and you are bound to learn so many lessons from it. With increasing obesity rates, sports is an excellent option for getting involved in a physical activity and stay fit. Benefits of playing sports are endless.
But enough has been discussed and harped about it, right? And the most important question to ask now is, ‘Why aren’t we actually playing sports?’
Sports Education in India
As per the World Health Organization study – Approximately 3.2 million deaths annually are attributable to insufficient physical activity. Obesity and resultant non-communicable diseases in adulthood can be prevented by inculcating physical activity habits in childhood.
It has been observed that students from higher classes are less involved in outdoor activities. Increasing hours of video games, computer, and television are negatively affecting students. If schools and parents don’t take this issue seriously, it might be too late. Developing an interest in sports since a young age is the best way to inculcate fitness among students.
With active participation from students, teachers, and parents, the sports scenario in India will surely get the much-needed overhaul.
Problems with Indian School Sports Scenario
Optional Nature of Sports Education
In most Indian schools, sport equals physical education or physical training. Very often these lectures are used for other subjects. Sports shouldn’t be just an option. It should become an integral part of the curriculum.
Lack of Facilities – Both Infrastructural and Financial
It is seen that many schools use just a muddy patch as a playground. Without the right equipment, students will never get an opportunity to try out different sports and find the one they excel at.
Lack of Seriousness among Students
Many students pursue sports just to get admission to a good college based on the sports quota. Once they get into one, they don’t continue playing the sport. This attitude is very detrimental to the future of sports education in India. Sports cannot simply be looked at like a stepping stone to better prospects.
The attitude of the Parents
This is one of the main reasons why sports as a career isn’t popular in India. Indian parents still consider professional courses like medicine, engineering, and MBA as successful career prospects. They don’t mind spending truckloads of money and paying donations for seats. However, money spent on sports seems like a burden. Proactive parents are crucial to identifying a child’s talent and supportive ones to let him/her develop it.
Sports education in school need not have a completely competitive way. Students in school have age on their side and the opportunity to explore various sports. A sport helps young students to imbibe values like teamwork, unity, and acceptance. They learn to take defeats with dignity and not gloat over their wins. It also helps them utilize their excess energy in a constructive way and stay fit. With growing sedentary lifestyles, inculcating good habits at a young age is all the more important.
Once students start taking up sports, the problem isn’t solved. It is important that they continue playing it later as well. This is exactly where a good school curriculum comes into the picture.
The need for an Effective Curriculum
Characteristics of a Good Sports Curriculum
- Quality physical education programs for all schools
- Standard syllabus
- Lectures with fixed timings
- Certified physical education teachers
- Regular updates on students’ performances
- Nutrition and diet classes as a part of physical education
Sports Curriculum in School
Sports education in school should have a sports curriculum as per school grades, that will ensure that students all over the country are on the same page. It will help them understand the numerous opportunities that are available in sports.
Regular On-field Activities in Sports Education
Regular on-field activities will make them more active in other classes as well. Once the curriculum is set, it will be the teacher’s duty to keep regular updates about the child’s performance and interests. Just like other academic subjects, these updates should be shared with parents during the parent-teacher meetings. Involving both, the school and the parents will ensure an all-inclusive development of the child.
In the younger grades, emphasis should be laid on enjoying sports, rather than being very aggressive about the competitive aspect. As a child grows and decides to specialize in a certain sport, more emphasis can be given to competitions and tournaments.
Good Nutrition – At Home and School
Good dietary habits, sports nutrition, and other healthy habits should also be included in the curriculum. Basically, we need to focus on the all-round development of the child.
Due to financial constraints, all schools may not be able to design and implement a good sports education curriculum. This is where private companies can come into the picture. It is an excellent opportunity for them to fulfil their CSR responsibilities. They can act as a vital link between business organizations and schools. This ensures that schools get a modern sports infrastructure.
In-School Sports Education – A KinderSports Initiative
One such organization helping in improving the sports education in schools in India is KinderSports. It’s integrated sports development program is an all-inclusive and claims to be one of the best in the country. They focus on the following –
- Active Start – Fitness and movement skills development as a fun part of daily life.
- Fundamentals – Play many sports with a focus on ability, balance, coordination, and speed.
- Train to compete – Play a variety of sports focusing on developing skills in these sports.
- Train to win – Optimize fitness preparation and sports, individual and position specific skills and learn to compete nationally and internationally.
- Active for Life – A smooth transition from a competitive career to lifelong physical activity and participation in sport.
The teachers and representatives at organizations like KinderSports teach all physical activities in a fun way. This ensures maximum participation of the students and brings out the best of students in sports education. The equipment used is age appropriate as well. They help students explore their hidden talents and grow their abilities.
Such In-school sports programs lead to –
- Enhancement of an individual’s ability to concentrate and maintain focus.
- Healthy growth and development.
- Prevention of sleep deprivation.
- Relieving stress and anxiety.
- Making an individual flexible and happy.
Research has time and again proven that sports education at school level helps in overall mental and physical development of the students. Focusing only on academics and homework can make students dull and boring. The excess stress can lead to depression and failure. Physical activities boost their stamina. It is seen that students are much more attentive on the days they had a physical education class.
It is extremely heartening to see that schools are proactively taking part in this sports revolution taking place in our country.