Sunday, 29 September 2013

What School Sport teaches young people (especially girls).

The Value of School Sport
Independent Schools devote a significant proportion of the curriculum to sport; indeed, here at Berkhamsted pupils spend more time at Key Stage 3 each week playing games than they do learning mathematics. We do this because we believe that sport has true educational value. 
Hilary Levey Friedman, in her book Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture, identifies five ways in which sport develops important transferable skills:
  1. Sport internalizes the importance of winning;
  2. Sport helps young people to learn how to bounce back from a loss to win in the future;
  3. Sport teaches the importance of performing within time limits;
  4. Sport helps young people to learn how to succeed in stressful situations;
  5. Sport teaches the importance of being able to perform under the gaze of others.
Girls, Sport, Success, Self-esteem and Body Image
A study by the Women's Sports Foundation (in the USA) found that:
  1. High school girls who play sports are more likely to get better grades in school and more likely to graduate than girls who do not play sports. 
  2. Girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression. 
  3. Girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports. 
Girls, Sport and later Business Success
A survey of top women business executives published by the Oppenheimer Foundation in February 2013 discovered that 81% of top women business executives played organized team sports growing up.
When asked how playing team sport contributed to their business, they commented that,
  1. Sport developed leadership skills, 
  2. Sported engendered greater discipline, 
  3. Sport developed the ability to function as part of a team
A final thought . . . 
One of the most important aspects of School Sport is the camaraderie that it brings. When Old Boys and Old Girls come back to school more often than not they end up reminiscing about their sporting triumphs. It was a great privilege a forthnight ago to sit between two 95 year-old Berkhamstedians at a special lunch. It was not long before they were talking about their days in the First XV - one played Full-back and the other Lock - and that was some 77 years ago, but just like yesterday to them!

References and Further Reading:

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