September 25

Children should play with softer balls charity says as girls switched off

first_imgChildren should play with softer balls and failure should be “celebrated” in order to encourage more children into sport,  a charity has claimed.Youth Sport Trust (YST) said “negative experiences” of children’s and youth sport, low self-image, academic pressures and lack of encouragement meant children were turning away from organised games.They recommended a number of changes to school PE lessons, including using softer balls and changing traditional ball games to make them more appealing for students who are frustrated by their lack of frequent involvement.YST’s chief executive Ali Oliver said children were suffering from a “decline in empathy and resilience” and that sport could help them to develop these values.Teachers should aim to “create enjoyable repetition in games” and play “net/wall games in the sports hall using foam balls and wall/floor targets. Use traffic cones as striking tees to accelerate progress,” as part of new guidance on encouraging more children to play sport, the charity said. The Girls Active initiative, which is in place in over 200 schools, with another 250 joining this year, also involves giving girls “leadership positions which give them influence over the PE curriculum, making it more appealing and relevant to their everyday lives.”The charity says it hopes to end the stigma many girls feel about PE, with bad experiences putting some off sport for the rest of their lives. England manager Phil Neville during the Women’s World Cup Qualifier between England and WalesCredit:Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. England’s gold medal-winning netball players celebrate after beating Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth GamesCredit:Getty Images England beat favourites Australia to win the competitionCredit:Getty Images “I think with this new project you can be saying ‘if you want to go on to be a doctor’, which a lot of them aspire to be, ‘you do need your communication skills, you do need your resilience if something goes wrong’.” The charity found that girls were “switched off” by competition in sport and many were also discouraged by “painful periods, issues with confidence and self-consciousness, the pressure of academic school work, and lack of encouragement from teachers and parents”.   England manager Phil Neville during the Womens World Cup Qualifier between England and Wales Womencenter_img Leanne Sharples, head of PE at Lancaster Girls Grammar School, who has worked with the Youth Sport Trust, said the school’s PE lessons include “impossible” tasks which are designed to make the pupils more resilient.”We keep the competitiveness but the focus is on ‘you can get something more out of this subject than competition and just being good practically,” she said. Canada’s Charity Williams breaks through the England defence during the women’s rugby sevens bronze medal match at the Robina Stadium during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Credit:William West/AFP/Getty Images Canada's Charity Williams (R) breaks through the England defence during the women's rugby sevens bronze medal match at the Robina Stadium during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games  Research released last week by the Prince’s Trust concluded that today’s 16-25-year-olds were the unhappiest they had been since its research began a decade ago.Schools are also introducing workplace skills to PE lessons to try and persuade career-focused pupils that they are relevant to later life.  Research released last year by the NSPCC suggested that children in their early teens were increasingly worried about exams and getting a job, with the charity seeing an 11 per cent rise in counselling sessions on exam stress. Netball Netball YST, which has reached thousands of pupils as part of a Government-funded pilot called My Personal Best, also suggests allowing pupils to referee their own games and make up rules which promote “safety, fairness or inclusion”.Teachers should ensure that “failures are celebrated as trials that create opportunities for constructive feedback and learning”, while striving to “remove negative experiences from children’s and youth sport” and is focusing its efforts on improving girls’ experiences.last_img read more