Educating children on careers in sport
Updated: Apr 24
Traditionally PE has been seen as a less academic subject than others at school. Both students and parents have been quick to dismiss PE in favour of subjects such as Maths and English because they are more important in terms of getting into higher education. Even as a child that loved sport, I never considered PE as a GCSE option because the only use it seemed to have would be if you wanted to be a PE teacher. I even chose to skip the last few PE lessons of the year to focus on my exam revision.
Sports has been pushed aside as an extracurricular activity and not something that can be pursued as a career. If we are to teach students that there are options available to pursue in the field of sport then we need to remove the stigma that PE and sports are lesser subjects than the rest.
No one ever needs to be told the benefits of subjects such as Maths, Science and English as they are known as ‘core’ subjects that can be carried over for higher education and work experience. However, both students and parents often need to be convinced of the benefits of PE. Aside from the obvious health benefits, if we look at sports from a more academic perspective, it gives students the opportunity to learn more about the anatomy of their bodies and combine science with physical education. Not only would this translate across to science, but also opens the door to certain sports science career paths.
Likewise, engaging in team sports builds community spirit, teamwork and leadership skills. These are essential not just in sports careers, but also in most other jobs where you are required to work as a team.
There are several options for a career in sport that many students aren’t usually advised on. Aside from PE teaching, there are several other careers available for people interested in sports that could be advised to students. Here are a few options that include:
Strength and Conditioning coach
One of the best things about studying sport is that it can be connected to other subjects. For example, students interested in sports journalism can combine their passions of English and sport. Those interested in sports physiology can blend with chemistry and psychology for sports psychology. These are ways we can implement the idea that sports and physical education are just as vital to learning as other subjects.
In school, some of the ways we are taught about career options include career days, citizenship classes and advice from our teachers. However, most of the time students are told to look into traditional jobs such as nursing, teaching and managerial office jobs. If sports specific jobs are discussed, the only option often recommended is PE teaching. One way of offering more options and insight into the sports industry is by bringing people from different sports careers into the schools to talk to students. Not only would this give them options, but it might always help them to take physical education more seriously.
Another option would be to expand the PE curriculum. Instead of planning lessons solely on the physical aspects of sport, students could also learn about the theory. This may include anatomy and physiology, designing exercise programmes and studying special populations. There could also be the option to tap into areas such as nutrition so the students have a better understanding of how diet can impact performance. On another note, with the growing obesity pandemic, including education of nutrition into the student’s classes might also be a way to help them make healthy food choices and improve their lifestyle.
Physical education for most people is looked on as a secondary subject in the British education system. However, if we are to increase the chances of a healthy lifestyle from our students in the future, and give them more of an insight into the sports jobs available then this needs to be addressed. We need to break the stigma that physical education is less important than other subjects and show students who take an interest in the subject, what options are available to them.