There’s nothing quite like a School Sports Tour. Travelling away from home can open a door to the world for young people. And when that trip offers the chance to live and breathe sport, it’s a winner all-round.
With specialised training and matches, students will accelerate their sports skills. The result? Bolstered stamina, confidence and teamwork. And when the whistle blows, there’s time to discover local culture, landmarks and landscapes they’ve previously only read about.
There are countless options, from cricket in New Zealand to rugby in Japan and soccer/football in Malaysia. Or how about netball in the UK or basketball in the US? These international trips can help young people develop both their game and their personalities and return home with skills and experiences that will last a lifetime.
The advantages of sending students on a School Sports Tour are far and wide. Here are 8 benefits of doing it.
- They will develop their sports skills
The most obvious benefit of going on a sports tour is that students will develop and improve their sporting skills. From ball control to batting, hand-eye coordination to match tactics, they’ll bolster essential qualities needed to raise their game, both on and off the pitch.
A sports tour can incorporate training from elite athletes, plus pre-planned fixtures and matches they wouldn’t get at home. So, whether your students are budding soccer/football stars, rising rugby players or cricketers-in-the-making, the opportunities for developing essential skills are endless.
- Experiential learning
The classroom may be an effective place for students to learn – but it can’t replicate the experiential learning gained outside its walls. When learning shifts from the classroom to real-life situations, it becomes far more powerful. Memorable experiences, like those offered on a School Sports Tour, prepare students for life.
Kirsty Grace, the Regional Manager for Curriculum & Sports Tours for World Challenge, says: “The greatest moments in life come from discovering what we’re capable of, from testing ourselves in foreign environments. Sports & Curriculum Tours allow students to do this in a safe and secure way while promoting positive thought patterns and developing physical, mental and also emotional personal growth.”
- Playing sports can improve mood and bolster resilience
Another major perk of participating in sports is that it can improve your emotional state. Kirsty Grace says: “Physical activity triggers a release of dopamine and serotonin, which can improve mood, and there’s no better mood enhancer than being part of a winning team.”
Even a losing streak can have a positive impact. Kirsty adds: “Failure also plays a crucial role in mental wellbeing, inviting resilience in individuals and teams to strive for success and to overcome adversity.”
School Sports Tours can help young athletes learn how to manage pressure, created by the desire to return home as a successful team. And with every triumph and loss, the team becomes more resilient and learns how to overcome challenges as both a team and as individuals.
A School Sports Tour can also hammer home the message that hard work pays off. Your students will realise that all the pre-tour training was prepping them to rise to the challenge.
- Sport has a positive impact on health and wellbeing
According to research by academic Donna Merkel, the benefits of young people engaging in sports include a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes, improved weight control and less psychological dysfunction. The study shows that there is even a reduction in suicidal thoughts and tendencies as a result of the social support provided by being part of a team.
The report, published in the Sports Medicine Journal (2013), also reveals that students who participate in sports are “more likely to reach higher academic goals, and more likely to demonstrate improved self-confidence and body image”.
- They will make new friends
Sport provides an excellent opportunity to forge new friendships. Working as a team, your students will get to know their peers better. When sport is involved, even if students are on different teams, they share a common interest with their opposition.
- They will strengthen existing bonds
Spending time together and sharing unique experiences can solidify friendships. School Sports Tours not only create stronger bonds between students but can also increase the bond between students and teachers. Back home, this can translate into students who are better motivated in the classroom thanks to improved connections with their teachers.
- They will develop a richer understanding of culture…and the world
With globalisation happening at an ever-increasing rate, it’s crucial for children to increase their understanding of the world they live in. Outside of their comfort zone, they learn to appreciate unfamiliar cultures. And yet, sport is a great leveller, allowing two different cultures to unite under the common goal of their love of the sport.
- They offer career options
During a School Sports Tour, students get the chance to meet some incredible people, from all over the world. This can inspire them to become global citizens with international ambitions. When students meet successful people – particularly when those people work in the industry of their favourite sport – it can ignite a passion to achieve a similar objective.
What better way of understanding their future prospects and making connections than by getting out there and experiencing it first-hand?
Written by Ellie Ross