Why Your Lesson Plans Should Include Non-Traditional Sports


two high school students throw a disc back and forth

Many schools across the country have relied on the same sporting activities for their PE classes for decades. But, while traditional lesson plans get children moving, they might not be keeping them interested in sports and fitness in the long-run.

By incorporating non-traditional sports into your PE classes, students are exposed to a whole new world of physical activity. This can help them stay engaged in class, become more interested in their health, and even find the sport they want to practice for the rest of their lives.

If you’re a physical educator looking to shake up your lesson plans with non-traditional sports, here are just some of the advantages for your students, plus some great tips for your next class.

Benefits of Breaking from Tradition

Even the most active kids in the class can grow tired of the same old PE classes.

An injection of non-traditional sports might be just what you need to keep your students on their toes. Not only will a new activity guarantee a more varied and exciting lesson, but it will also broaden children’s knowledge of sports (and even cultures if you try an activity from a far-flung country).

In fact, non-traditional sports are more than just another way to keep your students physically active – they also train different parts of their bodies. While classic games such as kickball and capture the flag boost cardiovascular strength, more unusual activities like yoga can teach children balance, breath control, and how to engage muscles that aren’t always trained. There is also an opportunity for students to develop their minds with non-traditional sports like geocaching and team juggling, because of the aspect of problem-solving and teamwork involved. The huge variety of sports you can try ensures something for every student – regardless of their capabilities – which is key to keeping your PE classes inclusive and fun for all.

Another benefit of introducing a range of activities into your PE lessons is that students have a better chance of becoming acquainted with their perfect sport. If a child finds an activity they really connect with, they will want to practice it regularly, and even into adulthood. That’s good news for their health at school and in the years to come.

Non-traditional sports can do more than just change up your PE lesson plans – they can change children’s whole approach to fitness and their appreciation of physical activity. Besides a bit of research, they’re not even very difficult to implement. So how can you set this kind of change in motion?

Non-Traditional Sports to Try in Class

There are a number of routes you can take to incorporate non-traditional activities into your PE lessons – it all depends on the skills you want to help your students develop.

World Sports for Cultural Awareness

World sports aren’t just fun to play, they’re a great way to learn about the culture of other countries. As well as discovering a new sport and working on new skills, you can also introduce the country of origin and a few fun facts for added geographical education. Your students will love the challenge of Sepak Takraw and the concept of Kin-Ball.

Problem-Solving and Teamwork Activities

Get kids thinking while they exercise with problem-solving and teamworking opportunities. Working with others is an important life skill to learn and traditional sports often pit students against one another instead of fostering collaboration and communication. What’s more, the gentler nature of this kind of physical activity is ideal for all students.

Creative Sports for Self-Expression

Dancing is an excellent way to keep kids active. Try playing school-appropriate hit songs – or even take requests – and teach your students the dance routine. Learning the moves is excellent brain-training, and you can even add an opportunity for freestyling to allow children to individually express themselves. The best part of this activity is that you only need speakers and a playlist.

Popular Fitness Movements

Let children safely practice non-traditional sports they’ve probably seen outside of school. Stunts and tumbling and ultimate flying disk are exciting activities that are sure to make your PE lesson a hit. It also provides students with a chance to try a sport they’re really interested in, which boosts in-class engagement.

Technology-Based Activities

Although students can get bored of the same PE routine, they still enjoy elements of the familiar. Gaming is a common hobby among many children today, so why not integrate technology into your PE class? Active gaming allows your class to apply their tech skills to a wide variety of interactive sports. It’s also the ideal PE activity for a rainy day.

Check out SPARK’s PE lesson plans today for more inspired PE activities to improve the long-term health and well-being of your students.

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