Words from an international school: Building resilience through sport | Editorial

When we think of resilience, we think of situations where people have shown extraordinary bravery or can face hardship. The fact is, resilience is commonplace – being able to accept setbacks or having the courage to try again.

For children, the ability to bounce back from anything likely also means they will grow into confident, successful adults.

Resilient people exhibit some typical traits: acceptance, determination, and flexibility. Parents can build resilience in their children by creating opportunities for them to learn these skills. Sport is one way to achieve this.Building resilience through sport, Strategy, teamwork and courage. These are the key ingredients to being good at a physical sport. Regardless of the type of sport, we all know that every player on the team plays an important role right down to the person on the reserve bench. Things on the playing field also change frequently and quickly. As such, children who play sports will often develop a growth and flexible mindset.

Over the years, our teachers at Chatsworth International School have seen this play out among our pupils. We have observed that playing sports can also build resilience in children by teaching that:
1. Setbacks happen
Winning and losing in a sporting event is typical. No matter how much training and preparation, it’s normal to fail in the face of tough competition. Going through the rites of passage helps our students see failures as part of the learning process and embrace them. As a result, they develop an optimistic mindset without being afraid to try again.
2. Hard work pays off
For those who wish to excel in the sport, hard work and dedication are required. Hours of practice are spent perfecting a throw or kick, and students must practice for a certain amount of time. Those who are committed to learning what they can about their chosen sports are usually the most successful. For children, winning a sports competition can also bring a huge sense of accomplishment, motivating them to do even better next time. As such, it is a quintessential example of seeing their efforts rewarded.
3. Communication is key
Holding a normal conversation in the middle of a basketball court is nearly impossible, with all the players scattered around in a tense environment. To decide on a strategy or gameplay, players will need to learn how to communicate effectively. Therefore, sport can also build resilience by honing the collaborative skills that pave the way for connecting with others. Good communication is essential to emotional resilience because it engenders positive rather than negative emotions.
4. Physical health is golden
You may think resilience is a matter of the mind, but the truth is that physical health is just as important. A child who knows how to take care of himself by eating well, sleeping well and drinking enough water will have the will and the motivation to maintain all the other pillars of resilience. Sport builds resilience by completing the healthy package, and we all know that a healthy body breeds a positive mind.

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For more, see the Spring 2022 issue of Think Global People.

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