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Academics vs Athletics

Academics vs Athletics

It is unfortunate that these two critical aspects of education, academics and athletics, tend to be pitted against each other than realized for what they are – pillars that work together to create the moral fibre of today’s youth. 

y past experiences in education (both as a student and teacher) have been drastically different. Growing up and teaching in the United States, students who show promise as athletes are groomed as such and academics fall by the wayside. These student-athletes are enabled throughout their educational tenure because of that promise. Yet, depending on what sport they play, high school athletes have a roughly 2% chance to earn an athletics scholarship in college while collegiate athletes have a roughly 2% chance to make it to the professional level, according to the NCAA.

During my teaching experiences in Indonesia and China, the mindset towards athletics was the exact opposite: athletics are a hobby that can be disregarded for academics whenever preparation for the latter is necessary.  The added value of athletics to an Elementary, Middle, or High School (IGCSE & IB) student’s makeup or their future academic success is lost on many parents and students. While quality marks are necessary to attend universities worldwide, school communities are beginning to slowly understand that participating in athletics, clubs, or service activities is crucial in creating a well-rounded individual that universities seek. 

As a coach and the Athletic & Activities Coordinator at Canadian International School, a top school in Bangalore, I continually strive to find a balance between these two mindsets.  Through the creation of eligibility rules, grounding each program in the athletic department’s philosophy of educational athletics, and continual evaluation of our program’s coaches, academics, and athletics in the school, will work hand-in-hand, not against one another.

For the 98% of student-athletes who do not make it to the professional level, whatever sport they play will almost inevitably turn into a hobby after their secondary or collegiate career. However, doing what they love could get them a scholarship to reduce the overall cost of today’s inflated tuition. Participating in their ‘hobby’ during university gives them an estimated 88% chance of graduating with a degree, according to the most recent NCAA findings. The transferable skills students learn through their playing career (perseverance, adversity, responding to failure, etc.) will be taken into their respective career.  

Research also clearly shows that it is exercise, activity, proper sleep, and a healthy diet that grow brain cells and promote learning – more so than study extra hours after school.  Students need to be physically active to develop cognitively, balance emotional well being, and to be better prepared for the academically challenging environment they have in school.  So the questions should not be academics or sports, but academics and sports that lead to better overall growth and performance all around for learners.

While advocates and avid believers of these two aspects may have conflicting views, the numbers do not lie: finding a balance between the two leads for more successful young people. To learn more about athletics at Canadian International School, a top school in Bangalore, in Elementary, Middle, and High School (IGCSE & IB), visit our athletics page