How can high school sports serve students better?

Despite the growing body of evidence that shows how essential physical activity is to health, well-being and student engagement, high schools today offer fewer opportunities to compete and play than they did a few years ago.

The Aspen Institute’s Sports and Society program recently published the results of its year-long research on high school sports. The report stems from a wide range of roundtable meetings with scores of field experts; Student, sports and high school data analysis; And additional interviews to complete the picture.

Overall, a minority child is active in school through sports or physical education. The report included this information:

  • In 2017-18, an average of 38.8% of students in public school played high school sports. The percentage was lower for urban school children (32.6%) and higher in rural areas (42.2%). More high school boys (42.7%) played sports than girls (35.1%).
  • Since 1991, the number of children participating in physical education for one day or more per week has been declining rapidly. Only 35% newcomers, 26% sophomores, 22% juniors and 20% seniors will be employed in PE in 2019. In 1991, the percentage of students by grade was much higher: 66%, 52%, 27% and 21%, respectively.
  • Between 2011 and 2019, the overall rate of children’s physical activity decreased: 29% of children reported being active for one hour or more a day in 2011, 23% in 2019.
  • The opposite was true of online activity. In 2009, only 25% of students reported spending three hours or more on their screen. Ten years later that number rose to 46%.

The most surprising finding for Tom Farry, who runs the Sports and Society program and who co-authored the report with John Solomon, is that “the sports experience provided by high schools does not meet student needs.”

This “1970s model” of sports, as Fari puts it, is the old জন্য for 2022 Kids want all kinds of athletic options, sports that schools typically offer – such as football, basketball and off-track and field. Adolescents have expressed interest in other activities, including biking, yoga, strength training and archery, suggesting that more children will participate in sports and PE if schools are open to expand their options.