How sports helps develop cognitive ability?

From problem-solving and leadership skills, to thinking on their feet, students learn a lot from participating in different sporting activities.

Simply put, cognitive development means being able to explore, evaluate, analyse and essentially ‘figure things out’ independently. This is a process of knowledge acquisition, embracing and mastering a variety of skills, working out cause-and-effect by learning to solve problems, and representation of ideas as they emerge, because of this process.

Traditionalists may think that this can be achieved by classroom delivery of different subject areas. However, the creative and performing arts and sport play a pivotal role in making this development process more enjoyable, relatable, and also more seamless. Look at how sports plays a leading role in developing a student’s cognitive ability effortlessly.

For starters, participation in sports involves an active engagement and works as a one-stop shop for different types of learners. This can include music (especially fitness routines) and listening to verbal and non-verbal instructions. Linguistic ability also plays an inter- and intra-personal role especially in team sports. Be it individual or team sports, indoors or outdoors, students tend to discover the naturalistic side to themselves as well. Sports, therefore, caters to all kinds of learners simply because of the dimensions it offers. Often, it is thought of only as a physical engagement meant for those who have the talent but with the right planning, every child can use sports to add to its learning story.

Given the multitude of options available today, be it physical or e-sports, allows students access to chess, swimming, gymnastics, soccer, cricket, and more. Thus, they can engage as individual participants in a competition or team sports, think of viable solutions and work out where they need to focus more to build their capacity. This will enable them to develop the skills required to condition their cognitive development. Sports is not just about playing a particular game. It involves understanding the rules and how these can impact a particular decision. It is about learning the right techniques to be able to sustain a long career, understanding injuries, and how to manage the body. It is not only about nutrition and how to manage workload so that your body is always fresh, but also about handling the mental aspect of participation and being a team player. These days, it is also about communication and representation in social media.

Apart from the range of opportunities for cognitive development, sports also helps students develop abilities like Maths skills to work out the angle at which a particular fielder should be positioned to cut off the advantage of the batsman. Communication skills are developed because it is important to effectively pass on key ideas to a variety of team members. Split-second decisions need to be made on the ground while the game is in progress, so decision-making abilities get a boost. Technology, science and environment all come together making sports seems like an education in itself.

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