Many schools encourage students to take part in one or more sporting events. Abhishek Munian finds out how sports influence a child’s life.
India has been home to some of the finest sports personalities in the world. With every passing decade, we have witnessed the rise of individuals and teams who outperform their previous generation of players. The likes of Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Sachin Tendulkar, tennis champion Vijay Amritraj, chess maestro Viswanathan Anand, badminton player Saina Nehwal and shooter Abhinav Bindra have made India proud. And then there are the amazing hockey teams that won six gold medals in a row at the Olympics from 1928 to 1956!These teams and players are examples of exemplary sporting achievement. But playing sports is about more than winning—it builds character, encourages teamwork and helps individuals stay fit. In fact, most people agree that the love for sports needs to be inculcated from an early age. But with schedules that are already jam-packed with studies, are sports really important? And how do children benefit from playing various sports?
Rupesh Kumar, who looks after the enrolment process with the Baichung Bhutia Football School (BBFS) in Mumbai says, "Sports play a crucial role in the physical as well as the mental growth of a child. Sports inspire children to engage themselves in activities with full concentration.” Kumar believes that playing sports also helps children concentrate on their studies. When children can spend two hours on a game with full concentration and dedication, it reflects that they are capable of doing the same in academics. When a child is engaged in playing a sport like football, the main aim is to pass the ball accurately to team mates.
The mental processes involved in this task improve the analytical skills of the child and help him or her tackle mathematical and scientific equations in a more effective way. Sports also help a child develop the right social skills. Playing sports teaches them manners, respect and teamwork. Kumar sites examples of how students from schools like Delhi Public School in Delhi and Ryan International School in Mumbai have shown a significant change in behaviour and grades after having enrolled in sports coaching camps. He says, "Parents believe that their children’s performance in academics has become consistent after they’ve joined sports camps. The creative side of the child is showcased on the field where children are free to explore and experiment with their skills.”
Mark Pereira has been associated with Don Bosco High School, Mumbai as a coach as well as a physical training instructor for well over 20 years. He teaches students football but is also responsible for the overall sporting activities that take place inside the school premises. He says, "Encouraging children to take part in sports is for their own benefit. It helps them grow physically and trains them to become mentally strong too. We encourage our students to be engaged in at least one sport as soon as they enter their secondary schooling. During school hours, we conduct a physical training period very seriously and ensure that every child learns basic exercises to maintain a healthy body. The summer coaching camps that the school organises each year receive participation from children of our school as well as several other schools in our locality.”
Children themselves are well aware of the benefits of sports. Jeevanjyot Singh, a class 10 student of Thakur Public School says, "We have a very busy work schedule in our ICSE-affiliated school and have to maintain a certain code of conduct. There is hardly any time to concentrate on games once our day at school is over, which is why our school has sports camps and sporting events on a regular basis. In school, we get to play football and cricket for an hour every alternate day. Our school also supports indoor game activities like badminton.” Karan Shetty, a class 10 student of Gundecha High School adds, "Our school conducts sports with extreme seriousness. Our football team attends a minimum of two tournaments every semester. We also have handball facilities in our school and our team is well-known in the district circuit.”
Parents of RobinAgers have also observed similar effects of sports on their children. The parents of Husain Bengali, a class 5 student of MSB High School in Mumbai, feel that the skating classes their child took during his vacations have improved his immunity and the strength of his leg muscles. Aadish Jain, a class 7 student of Deccan International School in Bengaluru, took part in a volleyball coaching camp and his mother feels this made him very active.
It is obvious that playing sports is good for the body, but it also inculcates values like teamwork, leadership, discipline, hard work, respect, self-control, time management, perseverance, risk-taking, dealing with failure and networking. Schools and district level organisations have thus taken it upon themselves to promote sports at all levels and have started aiding students by providing scholarships and training opportunities. So what are you waiting for? Put on your shoes and start playing a game that works your body, mind and soul!
To support their child, parents should:
- Take an active, participatory interest in their child’s sports experience
- Support their child’s coach
- Take a realistic view of their motivation for enrolling their child in sports and figure out their child’s skill level
- Develop the same healthy perspective they want their child to have