What is the importance of sports in the academic curriculum?

Heywood Broun rightly says: “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”

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The term “sports” is defined as an activity, that involves physical exertion and skills, in which an individual/team competes against the other. In the academic life of a student, sports is a very important element that plays a significant role in the overall development of him/ her. With increasing competition academically, students are busy fighting for the top place, by constantly studying and not focusing on any other activities. This leads them, to become lethargic and inactive. A downside of development in technology is that children do not get out and play anymore. With the video games, online games, TV, etc they have lost out on the urge of getting out in the sun and playing. This can lead to various mental and health problems later in life.

Academic learning molds the child with various skills, like the power of reasoning, soft skills, writing skills, critical thinking skills, and so on. Sports, help in the overall development of a child. In other words, academic education and sports education are two sides of the same coin. The main question here is: “Does sports focus only on the physical development of a child?” There are a number of reasons as to why sports need to be an important part of the curriculum. Some of them are:

  1. Reduces strain

Stress comes in as a non-exchangeable commodity in a man’s life. People spend most of their lives, worrying about one or the other thing. Including sports in the daily schedule would help, in the reduction of stress drastically. A sport plays a very vital role in maintaining the mental fitness of a person. It helps students, by reducing fatigue immensely. Being burdened with the academic demands and extracurricular activities, sports is the only place where students let out their frustration and pent-up pressure. By doing some activity students can also improve their concentration levels as doing an activity would enhance their cognitive function. As the child moves and does some physical activity the body produces endorphins, which acts as a natural painkiller.

  1. Increases Focus

If a student is a part of a football team, he/she has to focus on the game for more than an hour. This way, the student develops a habit of focusing on the game. That is how students, improve their ability to focus over time. There are times when teachers complain that students are very distracted and fidgety. One of the reasons could be that they are not able to focus, on one thing for more than 10 minutes or even less. Playing any sport can enhance the ability to concentrate. Since exercising or movement of the body works on the cellular, it thus improves the blood flow. This, in turn, increases the time span of focus in students. Further on, sports also help in improving the memory of a child.

  1. Helps in physical and social development

If you are thinking that sports can help students just physically, think again. A sports molds a child both physically and socially. Some of the qualities of acceptance, tolerance, etc are learnt during the play. Playing any sport teaches a child to become more accepting and tolerant. In games like football, basketball or hockey, teams play against each other. In order to play as one team, the members have to be patient and accepting of other team members. In today’s world, tolerance and acceptance are the qualities that are lacking immensely. Thus playing a sport does not only train a child to play a particular game, rather it teaches other aspects of life too.

  1. Improves productivity

In the academic field or professional field, work productivity is given importance. When it comes to academics, the students must be able to study and complete their work in time. The question here is: “How can Sports help in improving a student’s productivity?” Sports can help a child in more than one way; improving productivity is one among the many benefits that it has. For instance, if a person works all day without moving at all, he can get irritated and the work productivity falls drastically. But if the same person takes a break and does some activity like playing tennis for an hour, can enhance his productivity by refreshing him.

  1. Develops a healthy competitive spirit

A healthy competitive spirit is rare among the students these days. A sport teaches students, to accept failure and encourage never giving up the spirit. It also inculcates a healthy attitude, towards the opponents. This way the students do not focus on winning, instead they focus on giving their 100% in the game. Winning and losing are the two sides of the same coin, and this the students learn by being a part of a game. There have been instances where the student’s loose heart after losing the game and they do not talk to the opponent team. In such times the coach of a team plays an important role by encouraging the students to forget the failure and keep trying.

  1. Teaches teamwork, leadership skills

Skills such as teamwork, leadership, etc cannot be taught to a student, rather they are inculcated. Sports can be a perfect way to teach students, about such qualities. Playing a team game teaches students, to play with the whole team and not solo. This way the student works along, with the other members. Sports, also helps the student to develop leadership qualities. For example, by being a captain of the team, the student learns to keep the team together and maintain decorum.

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Above mentioned are just a few of the many benefits that sports has. Parents and teachers must encourage students to be a part of at least one physical game, in order to help them develop in a better way. Billie Jean King rightly says:

“Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose- it teaches you about life.”

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