Team sports breed more resilient kids

To gain an edge in the Direct School Admission scheme, many parents have invested heavily in developing their children in sports and the arts.

But these activities are usually individual-centric and the process can be very stressful for the children.

We should try to promote teamwork and a strong work ethic in school by having more team sports.

Team sports help children develop physical skills, have fun, make friends, learn to play fair and as a member of a team, and improve their self-esteem.

They also teach essential life skills, such as how to handle stress and get along with teammates they may not necessarily like.

Children will learn that in the real world, life is not always fair, that their team will not always win, and that every call by the referee may not always be fair.

Learning to deal with disappointment will only make our youngsters stronger as they grow older.

I notice that many primary schools have team sports only as stand-alone co-curricular activities (CCAs). If a child cannot be part of one CCA, he may have to choose another, which may not be team-based.

The Ministry of Education should encourage all primary schools to create a Team Sports Club where all team sports, such as football, netball, volleyball, basketball, tchoukball and hockey, fall under its purview.

This will allow the club to create as many different sports teams as necessary, for the maximum participation of its members.

We should not have a model that breeds "kiasuism", where the school participates only in the sport that it is likely to win or because it is a school tradition.

Ivan Goh Sian Lung

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2016, with the headline 'Team sports breed more resilient kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe