From the headmaster’s office: Teaching sport

Four pre-teen girls starting to run on track

Four pre-teen girls starting to run on track - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sport teaches so much more than fitness, says Fred de Falbe, new headmaster at Beeston Hall School in West Runton

Recent stories of giant-killers in the footballing world – Leicester, Iceland and Wales – are ones which we have loved. They inspire us all. This is because they have a human narrative that appeals to the heart, beyond the reach of the millions of pounds we see washing through professional football. It is proof that, however rare, the indomitable spirit of successful teamwork is more noble than the filthy lucre. It confirms for us, too, the importance of the mental state and preparation for a physical undertaking which is – of course –so much more than this.

How does this apply to prep school sport? Just like the professionals, we would always welcome more kit, more people, more players! But the business of a preparatory school is just that: preparing children to confront their fears and limits, their mental as well as physical challenges. The very best players who win scholarships have to learn how to get the best from their less gifted team mates, just as the weaker ones strive to exceed their own expectations – or others’ assumptions. In the small scale of an independent prep school like Beeston Hall this happens all the time in sport and nurtures the values we prize on and off the field: flexibility, support, mutual respect and co-operation. Sport helps children learn about themselves as much as the game and these are therefore lessons for life, forever.

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