By Circle Editorial Team
The National School Games (NSG) is the largest annual inter-school competition in Singapore organised by schools for schools. The NSG offers more than 400 championship titles, for more than 55,000 student athletes across all schools (primary, secondary, junior college and centralized institution) in Singapore.
"But I’m not taking part, it has nothing to do with me!" you might say. Well, youth involvement in sports is a crucial part of any sporting landscape. Our sporting heroes (current and/or in the making) didn’t miraculously get good overnight.
Importance of Youth Involvement in Sports
There are lots of benefits to be reaped from participating in sports: physical, social, emotional, even. For youth, the effects of these benefits are multiplied and carry throughout their formative years.
Child development experts note that children become interested in team sports around ages 5-6. Some early childhood educators even assert that if children learn the importance of cooperating with their peers at a young age, they will be more socially ready for kindergarten and grade school.
Sport is useful for teaching youth many important skills. The first of these skills is Competition. Regardless of age, we all have to deal with competition in our daily lives. Adults face competition in their jobs, while children primarily face competition in academics. Participating in competitive team sports at an early age gives children an opportunity to understand the healthy aspects of competition in a friendly environment. Students of all ages who participate in sports have been found to cope better with competition in other areas of their life.
While discussion about the benefits of sport tends to revolve around the physical and social elements, we should not be neglecting the emotional growth that sport can provide.
Sports provide youth with opportunities to interact with a caring and supportive adult outside the family. This is a major protective factor for high-risk youth. The interaction a child has with his or her coach helps to improve self-esteem as well as lower the chance of depression.
Being part of a sports team can also help increase a child's self-worth, especially when the
emphasis is on group or team success, rather than individual achievement. Youth of all ages, including those in high school, are likely to receive an end-of-the-season trophy for participating in the team sport. Receiving a trophy with their teammates is intended to help youth feel a sense of accomplishment, teamwork, and recognition.
A robust youth sporting infrastructure is necessary to maintain the pipeline of local sporting talent. Fortunately, the relationship is often two-way. Youth participation in team sports has been shown to benefit the immediate community, just as the participants benefit from being in a nurturing group setting.
The National School Games provide just that, with aspiring stars looking to make their names in the sports disciplines on offer across multiple age levels. Who knows? We may just see the budding start of a future Joseph Schooling or Loh Kean Yew in this annual competition!
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