Sport has always traditionally played a vital role in the development of children and young adults. Its educational value is often underestimated. These benefits can be seen in a wide range of areas and have been written about for decades.
Physical activity is vital to the holistic development of young people, fostering their physical, social and emotional health. The benefits of sport reach beyond the impact on physical well-being and the value of the educational benefits of sport should not be under-estimated. (http://www.sportanddev.org/en/learnmore/sport_education_and_child_youth_development2/ )
A Council of Europe report suggests that School Sport provides opportunities to meet and communicate with other people, to take different social roles, to learn particular social skills (such as tolerance and respect for others), and to adjust to team / collective objectives (such as co-operation and cohesion), and that it provides experience of emotions that are not available in the rest of life (Svoboda, 1994).
Australian State Governments have also listed the benefits of sport for children including:-
- Mental health benefits, such as greater confidence
- Improved social skills
- Improved personal skills, including cooperation and leadership. (http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Sport_and_children)
Australian Beach Volleyball Schools’ Cup is one of the pinnacles of ‘Secondary School’ Volleyball in Australia. Its educational role as a school sporting event encompasses all of the key values listed above. It provides the opportunity for students of all ability levels in Volleyball, from the virtual beginner to the elite, to participate in a group activity over a week long competition where each day will provide social, emotional and physical learning experiences for each student in each school team both individually and as a group.
For many students the experience of travelling to Schools Cup may be the only major sporting excursion they have the opportunity to be involved in. Due to the various divisions of competition (and their respective ability levels) this event is unique as it provides something that no other National School Sporting event in Australia can – it gives teams of every level of ability the chance to compete at an Australian Championship. As such it is not only the very top group of school Volleyball players who have this opportunity but it is inclusive of students of all ability levels.
Specifically the educational benefits of competing in Schools Cup include the following:
- In the preparation for and participation in these games, students develop:
- Volleyball skills and fitness
- Leadership qualities
- Team spirit
- A sense of belonging -which is vital for the emotional health of young people
The preparation for and participation in this tournament enhances relationships between teachers and students. It also develops a sense of community for the school through the involvement of parents and past students as coaches and team managers. Students can be involved in not only the training for this event but also the planning, budgeting and fundraising needed to take their team away. These are lifelong skills that can continue to be developed and may facilitate students’ lifelong participation in Volleyball in a range of roles.
- During the tournament the educational learning experiences cover a wide range of social, emotional, mental and physical areas. Students can experience and learn about life skills such as:
- Travelling and living together as a team
- Coping with the pressure of competition
- Sharing with and considering others
- Becoming more self- sufficient through the experiences of cooking , cleaning, travelling and responding to timelines
- Appreciating the features of Melbourne, a major Australian city with a unique culture
- During the tournament the students have the opportunity to:
- Be a part of the biggest high school sporting event in Australia
- Appreciate the high standards of school sport
- Compete in the highest level of school sport in Australia
- Possibly compete against teams from overseas schools
- Recognise the hard work needed to compete at this level and to achieve results
- Develop lifelong friendships
Students of all levels of ability have the chance to experience all of these educational benefits. For some students the Schools Cup is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, an event that will create lifelong memories of individual and team experience and achievement. The Australian Beach Volleyball Schools’ Cup certainly has a unique place in Australian School Sport and will be a special experience for all students.