Thursday 15 February 2024

Sport : A vehicle for character development

One would seldom find a medium, so well integrated into the life of a child, and that could have such an impact on their evolution. Every young person is a canvas for success; very often one which has far greater potential than they believe. But rather than aiming to create an Olympian of tomorrow, our scoreboard of success should be, I believe, heavily focused around the development of character and of the physical and emotional wellbeing of children. Sport is merely a tool to achieve this.

Research published recently by the Youth Sport Trust in conjunction with HMC Schools supports exactly that. It states that participation in sport is a significant predictor of self-belief and mental toughness. The paper also reported that greater sports participation in school is directly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.

Every sports coach has the desire to develop ability, but it is not the technical ability that we should focus on solely. While this should certainly play a large part in the journey, it is really the development of character that should underpin practice. The ability to communicate, deal with challenge and adversity, work with others and believe in one’s own strengths whilst being aware of areas for improvement are fundamental. We need children to recognise success but reflect on potential avenues for personal development.

As sporting practitioners working with young people at such a vital time in their lives, we should appreciate the unique position we hold, coming to work every day with the opportunity to inspire the next generation, add value to and nurture these fantastic young people. We have a collective ambition for sporting excellence and engagement radiating across students and staff alike at St Joseph’s College. A particular focus is the creation of a thriving sports programme that acts as the foundation for an all-through school of sporting excellence. This broad, balanced sports programme is delivered in our exceptional facilities, encouraging a lasting love of sport for a healthy and happier life.

We aim to deliver a programme that allows players to participate and persevere, whilst providing a platform to perform. We believe that no student has a sporting ambition too great and we aim to foster and support the highest of goals for our young people. My mission is to raise awareness and develop responsibility, providing the knowledge and confidence for pupils to make good decisions in life and on the pitch, and I’m incredibly lucky to have the chance to do so.

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