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5 Life Skills That Schools Should Equip Children W

“How do I equip my child to handle the pressures of life?” is a question which troubles parents. The answer to this is a healthy and mindful start. We must try to nurture critical life skills since the very early childhood. Sport is an excellent medium to promote them. Here, we’re going to discuss 5 life skills that every sportsman possesses and how to nurture them in our children.

5 Life Skills Developed Through Structured Sports!

1.    Self-Discipline

All players have one thing in common—time-bound goals. And achievement of that goal is quite a function of the self-control and will power each individual possesses. Setting realistic goals that further break down into short-term & long-term milestones aids them to accomplish the bigger target. For instance, if our child’s long-term goal is winning a basketball tournament, his/her short-term goal could be improving dribbling skills. Which can only be improved if the child disciplines himself/herself to practice dribbling regularly for certain number of hours without any excuse.

Helping kids create a ‘vision board’ (with cut-out photos representing their aspirations) or ‘weekly bucket-lists’ (for tracking progress), etc. can improve concentration and also develop organisational skills, ultimately leading kids towards excellence.

2.    Positive Value System

Our attitude is the choice we make. Having a positive attitude & a strong value system helps sportsmen see negative situations in a hopeful light. The ability to bounce back from the fear of losing (resilience) stems from the belief that we can still win. We’ve often seen runners desperately focusing on the finish line, despite being wounded. It gives them the strength to persist till the end. It’s difficult to achieve any goal without integrity, resilience or optimism.

When kids face their fears for 2-3 minutes every day & give themselves a quick pep-talk, they develop a positive attitude (E.g., “It’s okay. It’s just a 3-feet deep pool, I can easily swim through it.”). This way, they shall consider their fears as mere obstacles and find opportunities to improve.

1.    Emotional Intelligence

Fear to lose, anger over unfair play, anxiety over power equations are some of the few emotions that could trouble children in the competitive world out there. As facilitators, we need to nurture emotional intelligence in children and prepare them to tackle these challenges & solving problems.

We need to nurture their self-awareness and self-confidence by extending our moral support when they expect it. E.g: Recap the last games with your child and talk about factors that helped them perform or not perform on the field and question them to help find solutions.

Power equations will change from time to time and that should not affect a child’s performance. We must nurture the faith that if we keep giving our best, the best will come back to us. That way we could channelize strong emotions into productive efforts.

Capitalising on emotional situations as ‘learning moments’ builds self-confidence, self-motivation, resilience, and creativity in children. Gradually, kids understand the meaning of sportsmanship, which prevails over other aspects of life.

2.    Critical Thinking

The better your thinking skills are, the better your physical strength and agility. Critical thinking skills are important in professional sports because the differences in physical abilities or strength among players are often very minor. What varies is how they analyse situations, make choices & play in a team.

Evaluating the problems by reversing or forwarding steps develops critical thinking during the game. E.g., when a player gets stuck when playing chess, retrace their steps back to the move that went wrong, helps them evaluate their opponent’s move, leading them to victory.

When children practise critical thinking, they develop other functional skills like orientation, direction, sorting, pattern recognition, motor integration, analysis, synthesis, abstract sequencing & field discrimination.

3.    Management

Management skills (teamwork, communication, organisation, leadership, etc.) are a staple to sports. Any athlete who wants to excel in life learns the value of managing time, resources and people.

As a parent or educator, we can set examples by demonstrating good management skills at school and at home. Model how you manage important tasks and let kids practise them. Allow children to set their own schedules, expectations & goals for manage time and space, providing inputs occasionally. Learning to juggle academics with daily training sessions, home & social life develop maturity and a sense of responsibility—skills that are important for maintaining a healthy work-life balance in the real world. Noticing the pattern of child development helps us determine whether our kids are moving in the right direction or not. Schools can develop a growth mindset and relevant skills in students with appropriate training, preparation & exposure to different kinds of pressure. We, at The Infinity School, run a structured sports programme to help children develop a strong character and age-appropriate skills through sports. You can read more about it here.



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