Playing sport at school encompasses more than just the benefit of physical activity. Children who take part in school sports and games are likely to have higher self-esteem, improved mental alertness and self-discipline and a greater sense of teamwork. The Australian International School offers opportunities for every child to take part in sport and experience these benefits, regardless of their physical ability. Head of Sport, Justin Teves discusses the AIS approach to sport, and how we make it accessible to every child:
Why is it important for students at AIS to participate in Sport?
The sporting experience at AIS is about more than just playing sport. Our primary focus is to teach our students how to be good, caring people who are responsible members of our community. While the majority of our students are not destined to become elite athletes, the commitment, self-discipline and good habits they develop from playing sport will help to shape their future in whatever path they choose to take. Our sporting program supports students on their lifelong journey by encouraging a mindset of setting goals, working towards these goals, and ultimately achieving them.
How does AIS encourage students to participate in Sport?
We encourage our students to take part in a range of sporting experiences, that way they can discover what they enjoy as well as what they are good at. This also teaches them a range of fundamental motor skills that are transferrable to other sports as they grow older. We run a ‘no-cut’ policy with our sports teams, which means that regardless of a child’s physical ability, if they want to play a sport competitively we will create a place for them in a team that is appropriate for their age and ability.
We encourage students who are highly able in one particular sport to participate in a range of other sports, as we believe it’s important for them tohave a variety of sporting experiences, ranging from being one of the starters to the last player off the bench.
What has been your most inspirational moment during your time working at AIS?
Last year some of our students travelled to Hong Kong to compete in a regional sports tournament. There were high expectations that AIS would be crowned champions and all of our students put in incredible performances throughout the tournament. Unfortunately we were beaten by our rival school in Hong Kong, but in true sporting fashion our students stood up and gave a standing ovation to the winning school. Never in my career have I seen such genuine congratulation and applause from a group of young men and women, and it was truly heartwarming to see such a sense of sportsmanship. For our students sport isn’t about the winning, it’s about being a part of something bigger than themselves.
How to support your child in sport – top tips for parents
- Try not to be a ‘sideline coach’. Be there to show your love and support, but let the coaches do the coaching and referees do the officiating. Parents shouting instructions from the sidelines during a game only interferes with their child’s performance and could cause unnecessary pressure and distractions.
- Keep it enjoyable. The majority of children play sport for fun and to be with their friends. Try not to lose sight of this – it can be all too easy to allow the pressure of winning to distract from your child’s enjoyment of sport.
- Make it varied. Although your child may be good at one sport, they should be encouraged to try other activities too. It’s OK for them to take part in sports they aren’t necessarily the best at, but that they enjoy.