As said by Jacques Rogge, former president of the International Olympic Committee, “The world of sport is not separate from the rest of the world. Sport breaks down barriers, promotes self-esteem, and can teach life skills and healthy behavour.”
At OneAfricanChild Foundation for Creative Learning, we believe that through sports, children and youth learn values and skills that will serve them well as they prepare for the rest of their lives. These life skills must be transferred to learners as early as possible in order to make them proactive and valuable to the society.
On the International Day for Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) organised by the Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace Working Group, OneAfricanChild Foundation, represented by Ms. Victoria Ibiwoye, facilitated a working group discussion on Enhancing Life Skills Through Sport for Children and Youth.
Life skills are those skills that enable individuals to succeed in the different environments in which they live, such as in school, home and in their neighborhoods. These skills can be Physical for example, throwing a ball or jumping roles. It can also be Behavioral for examples, effective communication with peers and adults or respect or cultural and religious difference. It can Cognitive, for example, making effective decisions.
Some important life skills which sports can teach us include: dealing with difficult situations in life, building self confidence, learning to make sacrifices, learning to work as a team, learning discipline, making good choices and much more. Sports can also build children to become proactive leaders, addressing real-world problems with their critical thinking and problem solving skills. These life skills are important to ensuring peace coexistence and prosperity in the world.
One must note that it is not the physical activity itself that transfers life skills but the application of the principles learned through participation to other areas. Thus, engaging in sports can enhance leadership competencies and promote human capacity development throughout the life span of the learner because of the application of lessons learnt to life situations. For such transfer to take place, it is necessary to help children recognize and apply important skills that they have acquired through sport in other life areas.
In Nigeria, sport needs some high-level advocacy. We must help people, especially parents see that it is not a waste of time. Beyond taking on sports as a professional career, it can also play important roles in the live of children and youth, preparing them to be active and responsible citizens.
“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”
-Muhammad Ali (World HeavyWeight Champion Boxer)