While sports activities are traditionally relegated to the sphere of the “extra-curricular” in schools, there is mounting evidence to suggest that such activities must be regarded as “integral” to education. In fact, many experts are beginning to believe that life lessons imbibed by children through participation in sports outnumber its physical benefits.

So what makes sports so important, and why is it critical for students?

Why Students Must Learn Sports

There is a growing body of research that establishes a link between sports and/or physical activity and improvement in educational performance. Other than the known health benefits, here are some of the key advantages offered by sports to children and adolescents:

  • Intensive exercises improve the performance of learners in subjects that require problem-solving and analysis like Mathematics and Science. This is because physical activity boosts cognitive capabilities.
  • Participating in sports has been linked to improved behaviour, with children imbibing traits like discipline, resilience, persistence, and respect for rules and co-players. They also learn the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship.
  • Regular physical activity for girls at school helps bridge gender gaps as girls gain confidence, become fitter, more active, and grow up feeling at par with their male counterparts.
  • Sports are always fun, providing unforgettable moments of unbridled joy and laughter. The release of Endorphins during exercise triggers positive feelings, promoting a feeling of well-being.

Promoting Sports Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Necessitated by the need to keep transmission of COVID-19 infection at bay, social distancing – arguably the pandemic’s most powerful ramification – has badly affected team activities like sports. In India, any kind of sports activity continues to garner apprehension, even as schools continue to be shut, events cancelled, and training facilities closed. However, these circumstances do not lessen the importance of learning sports for students. While learning has moved online, children are sadly unable to participate in physical activities.

Luckily, renowned educational technology platforms like Unacademy have already begun promoting sports learning as part of its efforts to offer holistic education to users. Under the unique initiative, cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar – who is also the platform’s brand ambassador – will conduct live interactive classes, mentoring and sharing personal life lessons with learners. Such sports learning initiatives promise to provide a learning experience far superior to the one offered by traditional education.

While the pandemic impelled students across the world to make the shift to online learning, the latter hasn’t been able to give children access to elements of sports that are imperative to their holistic development.  However, through a range of innovative sports content, platforms like Unacademy are taking baby steps towards expanding the boundaries of online education, making it richer and more holistic.