Development in sports goes beyond learning new physical skills. It teaches children how to cope with successes, failures and general life challenges. When participating in sports, children learn how it feels like to lose, as well as how to win.
These are some of the life lessons they can take into adult life. Losing teaches children how to cope with disappointment, which is an important aspect of resilience.
Playing sports helps children learn how to control their emotions, channel negative energy into a positive one, as well as how to develop patience, which is an important aspect of life. This in turn can be of great benefit for their physical skills and their schoolwork.
In essence sports contribute immensely to development in children, hence they should be urged to participate in sporting activities from a young age. These benefits include emotionally and socially.
“Sports can develop life skills for young athletes as it keeps them busy, fit, learn and abide to the rules. One main advantage of sports is that it develops kids holistically,” Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mokeresete Mokeresete observed.
The BONA PRO said sports development and human growth go hand in hand. Sport can mould a child’s behaviour as it exposes them to different challenges. For him, the development of kids through sport cuts through the social development to independence, teamwork, discipline and even physical development.
“Losing makes them tough as they get used to the notion of winning some and losing some. This prepares them emotionally. Obeying rules in netball will also make them good citizens as they will know that there are rules in life to follow.”
He went on to add that as kids stay away from their parents and guardians while camping or during trips, they also learn how to make their own decisions. They also learn societal values like Botho, teamwork, cooperation, sympathy, respect etc during games and this contribute to their good behaviour,” Mokeresete noted.
Socially, he said sport helps kids ‘to create friendships and learn teamwork strategies.’ “Mentally, playing sport relieves boredom and reduces stress. Physically, sport is an exercise and this will burn the stored fats in their bodies and this enables their body systems to work more efficiently and effectively.”
Mokeresete’s view is shared by his counterpart at Botswana karate Association (BOKA) Isaiah Ramontshonyana. The BOKA PRO noted that ‘a kid who is developed from an early age is likely to grow with the discipline taught at karate which shows and guides them on what is good or bad.’
He said this year alone, their priority at BOKA is development. “We started with a training camp in Maun on the 19 February. Our main target is youth because our study shows that all our best karatekas started sport from early ages, hence it is our priority to catch them early.”
Ramontshonyana noted that sports can mould kids’ behaviour. “We have seen kids doing well, in good shape and well behaved while active in sport, only for them to lose focus when they leave sports.”
In view of this, he said the government ‘needs to do a lot for development of sports in Botswana. “When we look at the issue of teachers and employers over sports, you will see that it has been dragging for a long time now. Most of the development is done at school because that is where there are resources.”
He however said the government alone should not shoulder the responsibility, adding that ‘private companies and other stakeholders should also engage themselves for development of sports in Botswana through their community social obligation.”
Ramontshonyana opined that there is a great need for high performance centres across the country and their school of excellence should be up and running with proper coaching staff.