|Athletics have had a place in schools—both at the elementary level and the university level—for decades. In addition to offering an energizing break from studies and a healthy outlet for stress, students who participate in school-sponsored or club sports are likely to experience a few of these benefits and important life lessons:|
Schools are also in a position to benefit positively from athletics, primarily in seeing:
So, as an educator or school administrator, how can you support and encourage athleticism in students? Here are a few ideas:
At the elementary level, encourage the development of basic athletic skills during recess or outdoor play time by providing students with balls and sports equipment, along with an adult who’s willing to initiate and facilitate games.
At the high school level, invite activities directors or admissions representatives from local universities to speak to students on the benefits of participating in athletics and other extra-curricular activities.
At the university level, hold athletic fairs to expose students to all athletic opportunities—not just school-sponsored or funded ones. Often times club or league sports offer options beyond traditional athletics (like fencing, croquet, curling or orienteering) and can be less skill- and competition-oriented and more focused on fun. Many times, students simply aren’t aware of athletic outlets on campus. Have the activities department or student government sponsor this fair with a round of bingo—pass out a check list of all athletics in attendance and encourage students to check out each one. Reward those who visit a certain number of booths to learn about the sport with a Carabiner Stainless Steel Sports Bottle or a Rally Towel.
Even if students aren’t interested in sports, they can still have fun while supporting their peers and showing pride for their school and teams—consider hosting a ‘fan appreciation’ game and give away Thunder Stix inflatable noisemakers or Glo Lights to the first 100 spectators that show up for the big game.
Lastly, athletics and academics can be a winning combination, and sometimes just showing your support as an educator or administrator by cheering on the home team is all the encouragement that students need!
Metzl, Jordan D., and Carol Shookhoff. The Young Athlete A Sports Doctor’s Complete Guide for Parents. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2003. Print.
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