School sport – skills for life

Senior rugby

Senior rugby - Credit: Archant

The legacy of London 2012 has really fired up enthusiasm for sport and with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year, it is unlikely to diminish just yet.

Ruta Meilutyte Olympic Champion

Ruta Meilutyte Olympic Champion - Credit: Archant

Prep School games

Prep School games - Credit: Archant

While winning Olympic medals and breaking world records are phenomenal achievements at the best of times and even more so by someone who is still at school, for most young people their motivation for participation in sport is very different. The end goal is not necessarily as important as giving them the opportunity to take part and do the best they can whatever their sport and whatever their level, from learning how to catch a ball in a games lesson aged 3 to captaining the 1st team at the age of 18.

While we do all we can to support those who have the potential to reach the top of their game it is also essential that we encourage those who don’t consider themselves to be particularly sporty and help them to find and enjoy their place too. In our community all levels of success are celebrated and through this approach the impact of our high achievers, rather than appearing unreachable, instils an ethos across the school that anything is possible. It might sound a bit of a cliché but success really does breed success and it is important to recognise that this can be from grassroots achievement to standing on world podiums with lots more in between.

Of course it is not always possible to take the ‘something for everyone’ approach as the type and number of sports on offer will be governed by facilities, time and resources – access to swimming is far more difficult for a school that doesn’t have its own pool, transport or expert staff. But we must do what we can with what we’ve got because the benefits of sport are not just health related. The skills harnessed through sport can have a really positive impact on learning, confidence, social integration, team work and leadership. Developing these skills can play an integral part in a young person’s education, helping to guide and shape them into becoming successful well-rounded young adults.

Dr Simon Wormleighton

Headmaster, Plymouth College

www.plymouthcollege.comThis article appeared in the Spring issue of the A+ Education Guide South West. Click here to see the whole magazine.

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