Education Matters

The link between sport and academic excellence

Posted by Trinity Grammar School on Apr 23, 2019 6:00:00 AM

The link between sport and academic excellenceA number of researchers have raised concerns about the steady decline of time spent participating in physical activity at some schools. One particular concern is that removing or reducing physical activity in school may be detrimental to a child’s physical health, as well as their academic performance.

A study from the Department of Sport and Recreation in WA highlights the correlation between physical activity and academic achievement. It was found that a decrease in physical activity is directly related to a decline in academic performance. The link between sport and academic excellence is well founded. Here are three ways that sport contributes to academic performance.

1. Better results
A study of 757 primary school students across 29 primary schools in Australia, found that physically active students achieved higher NAPLAN scores than those who were less active. Further research on the link between physical activity and scholastic achievement found that when compared to their less-fit peers, students who engage in more physical activity develop larger volumes in the areas of the brain associated with cognitive control and memory.

With greater capacity in thought, memory, creativity and problem-solving, children who take part in sport are more likely to achieve greater academic success.

2. Increased brain development
A child’s brain doesn’t keep itself healthy independently. A healthy, moving body contributes to improved brain performance and stimulates the production of chemicals that affect the health of brain cells. The human brain is not fully developed until the third decade of life, so encouraging your son to engage in sport and physical activity is essential to developing his brain structure and function from an early age. A lack of activity, on the other hand, can lead to negative cognitive consequences.

3. Improved mental wellbeing
Boys who regularly participate in sport experience significant psychological benefits, including decreased rates of anxiety and depression, increased wellbeing and improved body image. As your son goes through the pressures of school and everyday life, having an outlet like sport can help to minimise the negative effects stress can have on his mental wellbeing, and positively influence his academic performance.

As parents, your encouragement is essential. One globally recognised study found that primary school students’ level of cognitive function increased following just 20 minutes of walking immediately before being assessed. These students achieved better results in an academic test and demonstrated improved attention. Encouraging your son to participate in sport can play a significant role in his academic performance. Here are some practical ways to encourage greater physical activity at home:

  • join a local sports club
  • sign up for physical extracurricular activities
  • cycle or walk to school and after school activities
  • enjoy physical activities together as a family over the weekends, such as hiking, cycling or even indoor rock-climbing.

At Trinity Grammar School, sport is not simply an adjunct to a boy’s education but an integral part of it. Aside from the benefits to academic performance, sport impacts character development and fosters respectful relationships and integrity. You can learn how sport is encouraged at Trinity in our blog.

Among our graduates are seven Olympic athletes and many students who compete at a national level in a wide range of sports. In 2015, Trinity became the first school in Australasia to be an accredited World Academy of Sport Athlete Friendly Education Centre. This initiative was launched to provide greater flexibility and support to exceptional student athletes, enabling students to combine challenging training schedules and commitments with their academic studies. This is testament to Trinity’s ability to foster the talents of world-class athletes as well as our commitment to a strong sporting culture.

For over a hundred years Trinity Grammar School has educated boys in mind, body and spirit. Fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, we aim to know, understand and nurture each student to help him realise his potential, passion and purpose in life.

Trinity is a non-selective school that aims to provide the best environment for boys to flourish and succeed. To learn about the Trinity difference and to discover why we’re on of Sydney’s top boys’ schools, subscribe to our newsletter.

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Topics: Physical education, Raising boys, Sport and boys, Academic excellence, Improve learning, Mental health