Playing any game requires time, efforts and dedicated participation. Knowing this, we’ve been misled for years that sports distract young athletes from academics. Notwithstanding this misconception, tennis legend Billie Jean King, having 39 grand slam titles to her name, states:
“Games teach us more about life.”
From an era where sports were meant for children who didn’t succeed in academics to a time where they’re an integral part of schooling years, we’ve come a long way. However, whether the quality of the physical activities and training is geared towards conscious child development strategies and character building to help children succeed, or not, is still debatable. Read on to know how structured sports accelerate academic excellence and character building in students.
Why Early Character Building Is Important?
Curiosity, wisdom, zest, self-regulation, control, grit, optimism—what do these have in common? They’re pillars of a good character, leading pre-schoolers towards success. Is character the key to excellence? Yes! But how?
Early school years are critical to lay the groundwork for character building at a later age. In this context, doctor Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology Program adds an optimistic take on the identification, development, and application of key strengths to develop self-control in pre-schoolers.
Such kids are intrinsically motivated to understand setbacks and overcome appetite-driven impulses. They believe in their capability of changing the future learning outcomes.
How Structured School Sports Build A Positive Character?
Structured, well-guided sports do build a positive character. Unstructured, directionless sports may or may not. The importance of discipline and self-control was first realized by the British in the 19th century.
How kids interact with one another in an organized environment develops fundamental skills that are not just limited to the physical strengths required in a game (like agility, coordination, endurance, and balance), but are also geared towards maintaining an emotional and psychological balance.
A sports program that intends to inculcate qualities like sportsmanship, ownership, practice, perseverance and continuous learning with efforts, cultivates the right mindset in children. A growth-oriented mind empowers kids to take correct decisions in life—an ability that lays down the foundation of character building.
In schools, educators and coaches attempt to harness a child’s current potential and transform it at every stage for them to reach a higher level—a technique known as scaffolding.
Scaffolding In Sports To Bring Out The Best In Children
According to Professor Michael W. Austin,
“Sports can be used as a medium to build character if we’re intentional about it.”
Ensuring Positive Character Development Through Athletic Participation
- Establish the values of sports early.
In playschools, informal playtime is the best way to stimulate observation, recognition and imprinting important lessons in young minds. 3-year-olds do not play for fame, fortune or rewards. They play because it’s fun. Educators can use this opportunity to teach important elements of sports, such as respect, value, fairness, competition, rules, etc. that are equally important in real life.
- Enable pre-schoolers to develop conscious strategies in a low-risk environment.
Indulging 6-years-old in team games at school sets the stage for positive reinforcement. Kids develop the confidence to try out different strategies without caring for the results. The idea is to help them improvise and develop higher-order skills through self-efforts.
- Emphasize on sportsmanship.
Sportsmanship is all about accepting—
- Victories with humility and
- Defeat with grace
It requires putting team interest before self-interest. We can inculcate qualities like fairness, tolerance, responsibility, etc. in children that affect their decision-making abilities in the future. Also, it creates a positive self-image in kids, as they begin to master their personal and social skills.
- Explain the balance between competition and fun play.
Sports is the best medium to explain to kids when they should take things lightly and when not.
Does your child dribble well? Yes? Did you know you can use this ability to improve the cognitive and memory functions of their brain?
Is your child passionate about badminton? Did you know that early discovery of passion develops focus and grit required for achieving academic goals?
Does your child play as RB (running back)? Did you know that encouraging him/her for defensive play can sharpen their decision-making abilities?
From chasing guidelines to overcoming injuries and volunteering on a sports committee, the skills gained from playing sports can upsurge your tot’s academic performance.
The Infinity School’s structured sports curriculum is committed to providing a learning environment for passionate athletes where they can practice major takeaways from playground inside the classrooms and in the outside world. While it’s difficult for pupils to juggle an academic career and sports, athletes like Treharne, Belton, etc. show that with the right attitude and commitment, it’s possible to achieve success in both. Therefore, we aim at cultivating a winning attitude in students with an emphasis on positive character development, which will enable kids to achieve excellence and growth in all the spheres.