Can playing a sport help your child in life? Yes!
If you ever won a nail biting match as a child, the memories remain eternally fresh. Why then do we never think about the importance of sports for our children?
We spoke to two people from the world of sports. Anshul Kothari is a professional swimmer who has represented India at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games. Bob Babick, an entrepreneur and sports consultant, has had a career spanning sports, counselling and poetry.
“Sports are as important as lessons in the classroom, and lessons from sports stay with you for your entire life.”
Anshul and Bob spoke about the lessons they learnt as sportsmen and the habits they adopted in life. Anshul spoke about dealing with failure and learnt discipline and resilience. Playing a sport is a lesson in teamwork because you play alongside others who don’t always have the same temperament.
Bob, who now coaches students, emphasizes to them the need to incorporate things they learn on the field into and beyond their career, whether they play on a professional level or not. The courage to confront adverse situations and staying open to change are some of the values that you can learn from being actively involved in sports.
Anshul and Bob reminded us that the choice is not between sports and studying. In fact, other than being a competitive swimmer, Anshul is also a BTech in Computer science from NIT, Surat and an MBA from ISB, Hyderabad.
When he was in school, teachers always thought of it as sports versus studying. He had to fight them to find time for practice and competitions. School authorities weren’t keen on investing time or money in sports for students.
Anshul also pointed out that in the USA it’s natural for people to pursue education and sports in parallel at the highest level, which isn’t the case in India. Maya DiRado, who won four medals at the 2016 Olympic swimming event, was also a double major in management and engineering at Stanford.
Bob threw light on how academics and sports are intertwined in the USA and how it helps the country put out quality sportspersons every year. "Everyone wants to be a star player, although they might not have that kind of potential,” he said.
Most students don’t end up playing at the highest level, but they still embibe lessons from the field and hold on to them for life. Bob himself realized that he couldn’t be a world class player but the passion for sports has remained a constant in his life.
Students don’t have to choose between sports and academics. They can do both. It may even be better if they participate in both. Anshul found that though he was physically tired from swimming, whenever he sat down to study, he could focus well.
“The current IG generation moves from one thing to the next every few minutes. And that's why in a 45-60 minute class, keeping the learner engaged like in sports is a challenge that Openhouse is addressing."
Yash Poddar, co-founder, Openhouse
He says, sportspeople are aware of how to keep their mind active and persevere through hours of practice, which is an element that's missing in education.
And that’s his vision for Openhouse. A learning environment that’s active and consists of collaborative tasks that are fun to engage in for learners. Yash believes inculcating learning from sports in today’s classrooms will encourage kids to take an interest in the subjects rather than having to force them to study.