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TIE (Tanzania Institute of Education)
Ways to Promote Sports in Schools
Sport deserves as much as attention as any other academic subject. However, in today’s day and age, youngsters are spending more time glued to television screens, their smartphones and rooted to their classroom desks. Teachers and educational professionals emphasize that young people should do sport and understand that fitness is important to be healthy and to do well at school, but don’t always have the time or know-how to engage students with the benefits of sports.
Here are a few ways you can help encourage more sports participation in your school.
1. Celebrate fitness with festivals
Give your students a chance to celebrate something, even if it is physical activity. The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace initiative by the United Nations is just one day where schools can invite students’ families and other community members to participate in developing before-and after-school programmes. Sports festivals are a great platform for parents and students to come together and brainstorm additional events and ideas for the festival. From triathlons, hula-hooping, sack races or egg and spoon races, the whole community can get involved in a sport.
2. Choose the right coaches
A coach is a role model for the children who should focus on sport ability, educational, psychological and social aspects of sports. A coach builds a successful sport-in-school relationship. Your coaches need to be supporting your students and helping them improve, not criticizing them or treating them poorly. A culture of intimidation can lead to students not participating in sports. So, one of the goals for a coach is to help build up each student, through the power of sports.
3. Develop & Follow a Sports Curriculum
Like all other subjects include a syllabus, a school should have a customized / tailored syllabus for sports as well depending on their resources. Every age group has to be attended differently depending on their ability and characteristics. Example, 6-8 age group is an age group where the children are at a fragile growth period and have limited concentration and attention. They love to imitate and it is more about having fun at this age via sports. We often observe that the disengagement rate in sports in a school takes place around the age of 10-12 when the level of sport starts being competitive. The sports curriculum should be developed as such so that the barriers for disengagement should be tackled well.
4. Let students take charge through Sports Clubs
Student can build their own programs from scratch and transform the way they look at fitness with groups and activities that interest them. Sports clubs allow students to take on accountability and responsibility, giving them a sense of fulfilment, while developing competencies that can be applied within the school and beyond. Sports clubs also help young adults build lasting friendships and make them feel part of a wider community. Our own programme Youth Sports Leadership works by training teachers and coaches in coaching and mentoring skills that help them enable 15-16-year-old students to become ‘young sports leaders’. These students then go on to further develop their leadership skills by organizing sports festivals in their cities and communities and train 11-12-year-olds to build their own leadership skills to make sport sustainable in their schools.
5. Start from the Grassroots
Grassroots sports in itself is a school of life which focuses on fun and learning through sports, play is the best means of learning. Grassroots sports is more about providing a free expression which is for all and develops aspects of psychological growth. Introduction of sports at this age provides a structure for the growth, interest and participation of sports in a child. A school should introduce simple, exciting and rewarding activities / games at this very early age.