Tuesday, 6 December 2011

school sport

So yet another article came out today about school sport, and it has caused an up raw on twitter and the like.
When will people see school sport, or PE at least, sucks!
At my school PE classes were 55min. take out 10min for getting changed, take another 10 for the teacher taking the register and dealing with people who havent got any kit, take another 10 for sorting out teams, explaining the drill etc. And suddenly its 25min of ity bity sport (twice a week). Most drills arent carried out correctly, games are won by the team who cheats the most. Teachers had little control over large classes and it pretty much turned into a free for all. Occasionally we would do something like the beep test, i won every time. But i would only go two levels more than the last person who dropped out. Just enough to assert my authority as the best runner/fittest person in the school. The teachers would congratulate me on running well, but actually i hadnt really pushed my self that hard, was no where near my record and didnt deserve congratulations. This in turn leads to good sports men and women believing that they can get away without giving there best. I have seen this in two junior cross country skiers from great britain. By far the fittest at school, by far the strongest, by far the quickest. But nowhere near the standard to compete internationally. They basically got told they were awesome, went abroad to race and got thrashed.
That is my first problem with PE. Dont get me wrong, i enjoyed PE, and the dirtiest football games known to man, or hockey matches where the goal was to simply hack away at your opponents shins but this doesnt produce athletes.
My second problem is the content of school PE. Out here in norway i happened to walk into the gym hall when a primary school class was taking PE. They were doing a core training circuit. Similar to what i do once a week from ski training. The difficulty of the exercises was immense. And the kids could all do them flawlessly. The could hold a good plank position for a minute. They could do 60 sit ups in a minute, and there was nobody sat at the side. Everybody did it. Even the fat kids tried everything! Including push ups.
If you got even a group of kids from a town with 4000 people in it that were as good as these guys then you would be from the sportiest town in the Britain, let alone a whole school.
My third problem with PE is similar to my first. I was not the best rugby player, i wasnt the quickest runner, i could hardly play football, and in hockey i was only a lump swinging a stick. Yet i represented my school in all these sports. Why? The best rugby players took up smoking and drinking from about the age 15, the best footballers refused to play for a school side as it conflicted with their club contracts and by the time i was a senior there were only a few people willing to play sports so i got called into every team for every sport. Eventually the footballers realized they werent going anywhere big, and most have quit now. A few of the rugby players have returned to sport, but lack the skills they had at ages 13 and 14. But generally there are less than 3 people i know of from my year at school that continued and compete in a sport regularly. Why is this? I believe it stems from PE. They get taught to play sport badly and so this gets ingrained in their competitive play. Then they arent good enough to make club sides or regional sides, get dropped and quit. They are also taught PE is training, which for elite sport it is far from. I didnt count PE as training from the age of 12 as i pretty quickly realized it was crap training.
For PE to work in schools, the content of what is taught, the class size and the attitude of students towards PE must change. I do not hold the teachers accountable for what happened at my school, most of the time they were as good as they could possibly be under the conditions and the curriculum. They supported me when i was training seriously and combining school and for that i thank them.
I would be in favour of removing PE from schools, but encouraging out of school or after school sports. When i started secondary school nearly everybody in the year did a sport. More time and effort to enhance the quality of youth sport, the quality of training, and the enjoyment for all involved will bring about new tallent. I believe anyway. I also think that people coming into secondary schools who are talented in a sport will receive better support, training and encouragement in their sport without PE but a bigger focus on out of school sports. This i believe will bring about the athletes of tomorrow.

It does not tackle the obesity problem. I am just putting this out there. i dont truly believe this, but why not encourage bullying of fat kids? Enough saying "there, there, your just big boned." tell them out right they are a porker and need to lose weight? if the attitude towards fat people changed then we wouldnt have so many. If people learn from a young age that it is not acceptable to be fat, then they arent going to get fat?

im just putting it out there. of course i having nothing against fat people. Thats who they are.

sorry if i have angered anyone out there.
But this is based on my experiences in school.
all for now.


  1. Balance is the key. It can so easily go the other way too. Many athletes struggle with anorexia. Tim Bennett's experiences are very poignant http://www.kondis.no/veien-maalet-og-vekta.4903242-182528.html

    By the time kids get to secondary school it's too late. Kids have to be educated at an early age about health. It doesn't necessarily have to be sport to be healthy

  2. You may have struck a point here, that balance is the key really. Sports people take it probably too far one way and "normal" people too far the other. But a balance in the middle somewhere is whats needed to lead a healthy life.
    I wrote this blog, as there has been talk about the "importance" of school spot a lot during 2011. And i was very angry to see people that work for the BOA for example or who are world class coaches arguing for school sport. It is a long time since they have participated in school sport, and its very easy to "stage" a good PE lesson if someone from the BOA for example was visiting.
    I dont believe school sport in the uk is run effectively. But you have touched on something, that PE is exactly that, only sports. If it were supplemented with education in a healthy balanced lifestyle for instance, then i could see it as a worthwhile piece of education.
    When it comes down to it, im just a little angry that older athletes and people in sporting organisations are having the say. They dont actually seem to have asked any athletes not long out from school, or indeed any high school athletes or sports enthusiasts still at school. I can only speak for what happened at my school, but i have already had two people from other schools agree with me and say the exact same happens there. So i think the people who make the decisions about sport need to have a good look at it, rather than make uneducated decisions.

    In a complete aside note to this, as i mentioned in the blog, i walked into a PE class for the primary school here in Geilo, as i was helping one of the coaches with something in the games hall. The fitness level or standard of the kids here was much higher than back home. This is both better for general health of the population, and also anyone of those kids who did take sport seriously would have a big head start on any kids from the UK.

    Sorry for the long comment.