Bob Dylan very beautifully once wrote, “Times they are a changing”. There were times when one could find a multitude of children enthusiastically playing an outdoor game like cricket or football in the school playground. However, it has now become a rare sight. Sports culture in Indian schools is decaying day by day.
India is still an underachiever when it comes to major events like Olympics and Commonwealth Games. Lack of facilities for sports, proper encouragement and promotion at the grass-roots level are few responsible factors. With the emergence of online games, there is palpable lack of appetite for outdoor sports. There can be other reasons too but a dearth of talent isn’t one of them. India has talent in abundance.
Most schools have sports activities as part of their curriculum, but few take it more seriously than a formality. Schools also fail to encourage students to participate in a sports event. To add to the misery, parents discourage their children against participating in sports, as they think that it won’t provide them a decent career and deteriorate their academics. They are majorly concerned with the uncertainties that entail such pursuits.
Apart from the aforementioned points, sports education in Indian schools is deprived of the following –
The inadequacy of appropriate budget – The budgetary allocations by Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs are no way near to the ones in countries which excel in Olympics. Same way, the private schools also don’t consider investing in sports facilities.
Lack of qualified coaches – Schools suffer from perpetual lack of efficient and competent coaches. They have never realized the potential of investing in any good mentors who can mold the students in the right direction when it comes to sports.
The absence of right Infrastructure – With the rising numbers of schools, the quality of infrastructure is dipping. Gone are the days when schools used to be spread across acres of land thereby creating the absence of playground and other facilities.
Sports education also needs to be looked beyond the perspective of career, for it is beneficial in other ways too.
These are some benefits of having a good sports curriculum in Indian schools –
Physical growth – It helps in proper development of muscles and bones at a very early age. It will also keep them absolved of obesity and thus protect them from formidable problems regarding heart, diabetes, and imbalances in hormones.
Brain breaks – Sports provide brain breaks to children. Such breaks stimulate students and reenergize them to perform better in the classroom.
Stress relief – Amid suffocating stress of exams and assignments, playing a sport proves to be a stress buster. The physical exercise triggers the right hormones which help the students be stress-free.
Instills leadership quality – Playing any sport requires some kind of leadership quality. Promoting sports education is a good idea to develop leadership qualities in children from young age.
Discipline – It is undeniably one of the profound keys to success, but it is also difficult building sense of discipline in children. Having a proper sports education helps the purpose.
Ability to work in team – Association with sports from childhood helps an individual learn the importance to teamwork and look beyond individual goals. It is an important skill in every sector.
Tolerance and acceptance – The world is in dire need of qualities like tolerance and acceptance. Sports education helps in inculcating such qualities in children from young age.
Builds confidence – A good performance on the field builds a child’s confidence. At the same time, it inspires them to achieve more and more in life.
These qualities help in other aspects of life as well. Each field or career demands basic qualities like discipline, teamwork and leadership. Other qualities like self-confidence, patience, and tolerance come handy in handling life challenges.
Moreover, studies show that those who have played sports at high school go on to become great leaders. Here are some successful people who played sports in high school –
Sam Walton – Founder of Walmart, Sam was passionate about tennis.
Alex Spanos – Billionaire real estate developer and founder of A.G. Spanos companies. He loves Football and played Gold competitively.
Indra Nooyi – CEO of PepsiCo. She used to play cricket in college.
Garth Brooks played baseball and Kenny Chesney played football.
Anil Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Group, is an avid marathon runner.
It is high-time that schools in India realize the need of developing sports infrastructure. While it is a fact that maintaining a good academic standard is sacrosanct, sports curriculum is equally important for the overall development of children. A paradigm shift in the mindset of schools and parents is needed to inculcate a positive attitude towards the encouraging the students to pick up sports right from their school days.