On Target
February 28, 2014

Going back to basics

There is an ever-growing concern of students entering the secondary school system without the necessary attributes to apply structured training in the various sporting disciplines.{{more}}

This is because, generally, in the primary schools, there is not a defined programme to get students to become cultured sportsmen and women.

Additionally, such a programme cannot be fostered, as the primary schools are not outfitted with physical education teachers, but with teachers who carry out the physical education sessions.

Unfortunately too, the lower tier of the schools’ system, the pathway for physical education and sports, in many instances, is left to the whims and fancies of the respective heads of these institutions.

Schools then become academic based, while the benefits of sports are kept hidden, sometimes through ignorance and other times, decidedly, for keeping the status quo intact.

Hence, some principals see physical activities as obstructive, counterproductive and meaningless.

Conversely, those schools which are doing well in many of the disciplines have principals who understand and accept that sports are integral to their students’ holistic development.

Therefore, what occurs in many schools is a superficial pretense to simply satisfy the time table and the requirements of the Ministry of Education.

Of significance too, is the natural upbringing, whereby children, through their methods of social interaction, develop motor skills, body co-ordination, hand eye co-ordination, muscle development, increased bone density, increased metabolism, improved cardiac function, among other prerequisites which would automatically act as traits necessary for sports.

Among the visible results of the absence of sports is the inevitable over weight and obesity which occur with students, as the opportunities are not afforded them to stay trim and supple.

With such deficiencies, in the main, much of those who emerge, do so naturally or by their community organizations.

Thus, when students enter the doors of the secondary schools, the process of teaching students basic movements has to begin from scratch.

And, by that time, many would have lacked the interest to take them to the next step and enjoy the benefits of the wide and wonderful world of sports.

Plyometric then becomes an arduous task, as the foundations were never built or were poorly constructed.

These leave the assigned physical education teachers at the institutions frustrated, as their programmes are disrupted by the students who come to them.

However, one cannot continue to bemoan such shortcomings, but look towards a stemming of the trend.

What has to happen is for our communities to once again pick up the slack and ensure that activities are tailored to encourage participation in sports and other physical activities.

And, working with those primary schools which have put sports near the front burner, we can envisage resurgence in the quality and quantity of potential sportsmen and women we reel off.

The vibrant community organisations have to get back to the basics, by engaging in the traditional games, such as the ring games, the hopscotch, the dodge, sack races and the likes.

Activities such as skipping, village road relays and other forms of races must get back on the calendar of events which were once staples of the Vincentian society.

Mass participation should be the key objective; hence, all age groups should be catered for.

This should then spin off to the schools, as the students would understandably force and drive the process.

Schools could have their internal skipping competitions and other traditional games, to help fuel and fan the flames.

And, national associations will eventually have to take the baton and run with it.

Also, the governmental agencies charged with the responsibility of guiding the destiny of sports and physical education and activities in St Vincent and the Grenadines will have to buy into the ideas and sustain the efforts.

Narrowing the gap from potential to stardom can be propelled by simply getting back to the basics.