Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Girls and sport: My thoughts

This morning, while checking the news, I came across an article from the BBC about girls and PE classes. The article makes the argument that schools should offer more "feminine" sports such as rollerblading and Zumba in order to get more girls to participate in fitness activities.

While I agree that schools should offer a wider variety of fitness activities, I don't think that schools should only offer them to girls.

I remember when I was growing up, I loved sports. I loved being able to compete (and beat) the boys at boys' sports. Flag football, lacrosse, basketball, softball. You name it, I loved it. I competed in gymnastics and was on my junior high's dance team. PE was awesome to me.

However, I remember most girls didn't think PE was so awesome. They thought I was crazy for wanting to sweat and to show up the boys. They didn't like running or doing any activities, so they essentially failed PE.

When I look at most of those same girls now, unfortunately they are all out of shape and I am positive they don't have any fitness routine. I think that's a shame. We should be helping young girls find some sort of fitness activity that they love and will stick to for the rest of their life. We should be instilling in them that fitness is fun and doesn't have to be a chore, and that it's ok to sweat.

I'm definitely for adding more variety to PE classes, like including Zumba and rollerblading. But what about pilates or yoga? How about tai chi? What about martial arts? Obstacle courses? And I definitely don't agree with seperating the classes based on gender. What if a boy wants to try pilates or zumba? Or a girl, like me, wants to play flag football or lacrosse? Let them all try the new activities, but don't force them.

So I'm gonna go into a "what if" of if I was a director of the PE department at a school. I would say three days a week, let them have the freedom to make a choice from a selection of 3 activities. For example, for a whole week, offer yoga, flag football and Frisbee golf. Offer these same 3 for the whole week. For the other 2 days, do some sort of running/walking activity. The goal is to just have the kids move, not to make them hate fitness. Some kids will run, some will walk. As long as they are moving a lot, that's what is important. For the whole year, rotate through a list of activities, giving the kids lots of variety.

I believe that adding more variety and letting kids try new activities will help set them up for fitness successes later in life. The current system is failing the next generation.

What are your opinions or ideas on this article and on girls and PE?

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