Many children will engage in some form of organised sport at some point in their school lives, whether it’s a summer camp sports programme held by their school during the holidays, or private lessons taken with a coach. Some even represent their school in school teams and varsity teams.
There’s no denying the obvious health benefits of sports. They remove children from the sedentary lifestyle that’s been contributing to a global pandemic of obesity, and they help manage stress and provide an outlet for frustration.
However, team sports in particular have many unique benefits that separate them from just any regular exercise regimen or solo sport.
In recognition of this, SISD maintains an array of team sports programmes for our students to allow them to participate in, including basketball, football, golf, karting, tennis, swimming, and track and field. Thanks to our world-class facilities, every team sport except golf is organised right on our campus! We even have a school mascot, the IBEX, a Swiss mountain goat.
To qualify for a school team, students must first try out. Once they’re in, they’ll have to attend mandatory training sessions every weekend and after school. Throughout their time in our school teams, students will participate in matches and training with other schools in Dubai. Every match is announced on our calendar, and the whole community is invited to watch and support our athletes!
What makes team sports so special compared to other sports? Let’s break it down.
The essence of all team sports lies right there in the name – team. Every team sport requires an enormous amount of collaboration and coordinating with others, in order for any kind of success to occur. Sure, there are elements of individual achievement in team sports, as shown by the existence of celebrity basketball and football players, but in the end, any team victory boils down to the combined accomplishments of a group that has learned how to work together.
This kind of effectiveness in teams will be highly useful in the future workforce, where our students will find value in being able to collaborate effectively in groups.
Whether it’s calling the shots in an actual game, or being able to discuss strategies and areas for improvement with teammates, team sports foster effective communication among players. It’s not enough to be a passive recipient of information; one must always be able to speak up and get better at doing so. Such communication skills will eventually become another useful tool in your child’s arsenal as one of their most important soft skills for the future.
Team captains and coaches aren’t just there for show. They’ve proven themselves to be important figures of authority in the game, and respecting them is key for any team sportsman to learn effectively. Team sports treat respect for authority as a given – the most senior, effective members are the ones who teach junior members how to elevate themselves. It’s a fascinating kind of meritorious authority that feels different from the authority assigned to teachers in the classroom, whose authority stems from the system and their superior knowledge of what is being taught.
Exposure to different kinds of authority and learning how to respect them will be an important life lesson for any child.
Just as team players are called to develop their respect for authority, there will be those among them who must rise to the occasion and develop their leadership abilities as well. Leaders can’t just be people who order their subordinates around; they need to have accountability and ownership over their decisions, and work together with their teammates rather than just expecting to be listened to. Team sports allow for the development of these skills in a way that will extend into the future workplace.
Team sports are inherently centered on everyone working together at the same time. That means attending practices and training sessions and making time for matches. This isn’t something you can do on your own time – you need to work around the schedules assigned to you, and that means that students must develop strong time management skills to balance schoolwork and team sports.
A cornerstone of great schools is having great pride in your school. Team sports are a great opportunity to develop this pride – players are competing in the name of the school, after all, and every victory is shared by the community.
In this way, a concrete sense of ownership in school pride is developed among students. They see their friends playing, they cheer their teams on, and they see trophies and medals awarded in the name of their schools.
At SISD, it is our goal to use competitive team sports to take the values, lessons and instruction that are taught in the classroom, and extend them to the playing field.
Our Head of PE, Rob Duncan, has this to say about our team sports programmes: “As a whole, team sports at SISD have helped us build our community and have given students, parents, teachers, and admin a common bond to cheer for. More importantly, team sports have benefited our student athletes by giving them the opportunity to build their relationships, enhance their communication skills, develop confidence and self esteem, improve their time management, and push themselves.”