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Not every boy is interested in sport, so why should they have to play it? For some parents who have a boy who isn’t showing interest in sport or who may not have played sport themselves, the question “why should school sport be compulsory?” may arise.

At Scots, Sport is compulsory for every boy with the expectation that they take part in one winter sport, one summer sport and College Athletics and Swimming if selected. This is an important part of the life of a Scots boy and something that we feel strongly should be a part of all boys’ lives.

Why do we feel so strongly about this? Here are 10 reasons why we believe school sport should be compulsory for all boys:

1. Sport exposes boys to strong role models

Boys are influenced by adults who are strong role models. Often times, for a boy, the person he looks up to most is his coach. The relationship between coach and athlete is an important one and if your son is involved with transformational coaches, the impact that they can have on him is substantial.

There is a reason I started with role models first. With strong models who understand the importance of teaching boys values through sport, the rest of this list takes care of itself.

2. Sport helps boys to learn, to win and lose with grace

Most boys enjoy competition of some sort; this may be through playing sport, playing games with their mates at recess and on the weekends, or even competing for a higher grade on a maths test. With strong role models leading sport, boys can be taught to win and lose with grace. The most important part of this is learning respect for the competition. Once boys are taught that it is impossible to be great without great competition then they have the ability to remain respectful of their opponents in both victory and defeat.

3. Sport builds self-esteem

It is often thought that being good at something builds self-esteem. Don’t get me wrong, being good certainly can give a boy a certain level of self-esteem, but I would argue that the most important aspect of building self-esteem in boys is teaching them that they are in control of their environment and that the results they obtain or the improvements they make are a direct result of their commitment and effort. Sport is a great vehicle to teach this. Often the results of training are measurable and for the first time a boy has the opportunity to see the relationship between the two.

4. Sport teaches boys how to work as part of a team

An important part of the journey from boy to man is teaching boys that others are as important as themselves. Through sport, a boy will need to make choices that potentially require self-sacrifice to benefit the team. These skills are important in all areas of a boy’s life and can help build the skills to work in a team that he will carry with him throughout his life.

5. Sport helps boys build long-lasting friendships

Striving for a common goal with teammates, boys will often build friendships that last a lifetime. It is not so unusual to find grown men who still regularly keep in contact with their high school teammates for this very reason.

6. Sport provides boys with the exercise they need to stay healthy

The Australian government recommends at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise daily for boys between the ages of 11 and 17. In Australia, it is estimated that greater than 50 percent of boys in this age group lead a sedentary lifestyle with little to no exercise daily. School sport provides an opportunity for boys to get the physical activity they require to stay mentally and physically fit.

7. Sport helps boys succeed academically

The effect of sport on academic performance is both physical and mental. Physically, when boys get the required amount of exercise, it has been proven that it increases their ability to concentrate in class – leading to better performance. Mentally, the self-esteem built through teaching a boy that he is in control of his environment can be carried to the classroom where he will see that the amount of effort he puts into his studies equates to better performance and result.

8. Sport teaches boys commitment

Rarely does success or improvement come without commitment. Not only will a boy see the direct result of his own commitment through sport, but a good coach will note the achievements, and more importantly, the improvements of other players and how they are directly linked to commitment. Once a boy has learned this, he can take it to other areas of his life.

9. Sport show boys the value of hard work

Commitment and hard work go hand-in-hand. Simply “showing up” is not enough to improve or to become successful. A commitment to working hard in every aspect of training both on and off the pitch will lead to the greatest improvements.

10. Sport develops healthy lifestyle habits for life

One of the toughest parts of being a high school coach as opposed to a club coach is that you work with a group of boys, and dedicate yourself to helping them transform, both physically and mentally, into fine young men through sport, and then at the end of year 12 they are gone.

As a high school coach it does make me very happy to see that boys continue to achieve in sport even after they leave Scots, but it makes me equally as happy to see an old boy jogging down the street, or coming back to the College asking for advice on how to build a weight training program.

Sport gives boys the opportunity for healthy competition and teaches them the training techniques and skills required to continue to exercise and play throughout their lives, which is why school sport should be compulsory for every boy.

Learn more about a Scots education by downloading a copy of our Prospectus now, and find out how you can give your son the Scots Advantage.

The Scots College is a proud member of the following associations.

The Presbyterian Church (New South Wales) Property Trust T/A The Scots College, Sydney Australia
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William Elder


Mr Alan Elder was born in Scotland and migrated to Australia with his parents at a young age. He attended The Scots College for all his schooling, graduating in 1944. He played 1st XI Cricket and was a member of the College Cadet Unit. After leaving school Mr Elder studied accountancy and retained a life-long love of the College, especially the Pipes and Drums. Mr Elder never married, however the significant bequest he left will allow his Scots family to remember him through the Lang Walker Business Centre.