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The importance of sports in schools

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Sports and games are given lesser attention in Indian schools since it is considered a just physical activity. But sports and games encompass more than just the benefits of physical things, it increases in confidence, self-esteem and mental alertness which makes them an essential part of the curriculum. Games and sports should be made an integral part of a student’s life. A student should study hard to be successful in various test and examinations. But, he/she should also get involved playing games to derive the health and vigor of life

Why sports should be included in schooling ?

When children participate in school sports, it provides a sense of belonging, and being part of a group, enabling to work in a team environment. Besides, it helps the students to interact with peers in a social and friendly manner. It also helps to learn to consider the interests of teammates and to practice mutual respect and gain their cooperation. Work together, share time, emotional space and other resources help to understand each other. Furthermore, it helps to take turns to play and learn to cope with success and failure as a group and a team. These interactions can greatly facilitate bonding and lasting friendships with schoolmates, which can help make children more sociable in the future career. Several researches have indicated that children who participate in sports and physical activities are less likely to move towards crimes. How ? Engaging themselves in sports reduces the amount of unsupervised free time on their hands and prevents boredom. This makes options such as smoking, alcohol, and drugs less attractive. It was found out that girls who play sports do better at school and learn the importance of goal setting, planning, strategizing all of which can be important sections of workplace success, which has avoided less likely to have sex or get pregnant at an early age. The benefits of playing sports are several, and it leads to balanced mental growth. It teaches the children life skills like social skills, team efforts, leadership, patience. It inculcates confidence, discipline and playing without crossing the rules. Above all, it builds sportsmanship, which is very essential where it helps to deal with both winning and losing with grace. All of these experiences and habits are also useful in their future life including career.

How schools can help students through games and sports ?

Schools must provide both supervised and unsupervised sports in time table and environment. Because, supervised session can be focused approach with the guidance from coaches in different sports. This can help children to choose the games which they like. But supervised sports could have too much discomfort for kids of younger ages. Several researchers in the western countries have observed that the rigid sporting structure in schools had negative effects. Unsupervised sporting environment offers children a choice of sports and let them loose on the fields without barriers or rules. But one must allow basic monitoring to ensure the children are safe. Besides, one of the primary advantages of unsupervised sporting is that it allows children to form their own teams, rules etc, thereby allowing fun and the creativity flow without intervention by adults.

Physical benefits

  1. It strengthens the heart since it is like other muscles. When heart and other muscles responds to physical activities and can become stronger and more efficient. Finally, strengthening the heart muscle can help ward off heart disease.
  2. It reduces fat and cleans the arteries and veins. Sports and games reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol and fats in the human body. Rigorous exercises can increase the flexibility of the walls of blood vessels, and helps to lower blood pressure. Besides, it helps in reducing blood sugar levels. Exercise prevents sugar from accumulating in the blood by triggering muscles to take up more glucose from the bloodstream and use it for energy. This can reduce a person's risk of developing diabetes.
  3. It improves breathing and strengthens the lungs. Game and sports increase lung capacity, and their efficiency in moving air in and out of the body. As a result, more oxygen is pulled inside the blood.
  4. It controls weight and helps to remain slim. It also strengthens bones not just the muscles and improves their strength.
  5. Finally, several researchers have found out that sports and games have helped prevent cancer in many people. It was also found out that people who exercise regularly have lower incidences of cancer like colon, prostate, uterine, and breast cancers.

Overall benefits of sports

Sports also results in improvement of confidence, self-esteem for some students who are not strong in academics. It helps to strengthen their belief system, which may result in improved academic performance. It also serves as the best icebreaker for fresh students, and helps in friendship and faster assimilation. Therefore taking into consideration all these merits, the schools should include sports environment with proper facilities, dedicated instructors and time to help their students pursue sports.

Government Initiatives

In a bid to promote sports in the country, the government has announced that games period will be made mandatory in schools after reducing the syllabus by 50 percent by next year. The ministry of education is ensuring that the syllabus in schools by 2019 is reduced by 50 percent and there will be a sports period on a regular basis. Ministry is planning to ensure that the SAI (now SI) reduces its manpower by 50 percent by 2022 so that they can cater to sports and it has a lean body and money is spent on sports. This year there will be 20 specialised sports schools and the government of India will pump about Rs 7-10 crore each. The idea is to have a very pointed approach so each school will have only two or three main sports. These will be very focused on their goals

Conclusion

Slowly, educationalists and government departments have realized the importance ‘games and sports’ and have been making steps to make them as an integral part of the present- day school education. And times are changing and games and sports which were looked upon merely as a ‘period of break’. Now games and sports have become a new medium which helps to develop the inborn sports talents of students. If the government and educationalist initiatives are properly laid down, one can see a different face of the students in future.

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