Sports training has been proven to provide students with multiple opportunities for building a strong foundation in aspects like strength, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, and even motor skills. However, this information isn’t new, and newer studies have shown that sports education in schools actually helps students in developing their social, emotional, and cognitive skills which are quite important to develop in today’s world.
It is worth noting that when students participate in effectively designed sports activities and programs, they are empowered with self-esteem ad self-confidence more successfully than students who may not have similar opportunities. It is also seen that these activities promote a sense of assertiveness or agency in students, in a way that they are able to express their desires and plans effectively, have the ability to exercise their own ideas and rights, and can also be more respectful and accepting of other’s ideas. This skill is quite crucial to develop from an early age, because it is a key contributor to life satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness.
Well-designed sports programs can also help students in developing moral reasoning, sportsmanship, a better sense of personal responsibility, and an appreciation for fair play. Sports training programs also provide opportunities for students from different backgrounds, whether socio-economic or cultural, to have authentic interactions with others, which helps in developing a wider social network.
In terms of cognitive development, research has shown that sports training from an early age can result in higher cognitive functioning, which reflects in improved academic performance and also increases the creative levels of the student. There is also an improvement in executive function, because physical activity results in increased blood circulation and oxygen supply to the brain. The release of dopamine influences drive, motivation, and focus; meanwhile, serotonin helps in the management of anxiety and depression and helps in improving the overall mood. This way, students are able to understand and regulate their emotions in a better way, and more effectively as well. Sports training also helps in reducing their levels of stress.
Sports training also provides an opportunity for learning about attitudes and concepts that are otherwise rather abstract and relatively difficult to understand. With the aim of evolving a ‘growth mindset’ sports training helps in building crucial qualities such as resilience and humility, which are concepts that are difficult for students to understand and internalize at a young age, exercising them even more so.
Finally, it is also beneficial to have a good coach. Well-experienced and knowledgeable coaches play a key role in ensuring that these contextual factors are taken into account while designing sports programs at school.