Excellence in the classroom starts with taking care of a student's physical and mental health. There are plenty of tools to achieve the goal of helping a student learn better in the class, and sport, whether it is an organized sport like football or basketball, or a more individually-focused activity like swimming or cross-country running, helps equip students with mental skills for success in the classroom.
Swimming as a Tool for Better Classroom Outcomes
While every sport and physical activity provides benefits for students, there are some specific reasons that I love competitive swimming as a tool for better outcomes in the classroom.
Here are just a few of them:
Swimming teaches students to be hyper-organized. The competitive swimming schedule is chock-full, bordering on merciless. Early morning workouts, weekend-long swim meets, a season that stretches across the span of the year. Swimmers need to be on top of their schoolwork in order to balance training and studying. While challenging, students come to respect the grind later on in life.
Swimming is a break from the real-world stressors. Social media, an unending news cycle, and smartphones: the combination is a perpetual stress machine relentlessly tugging at the attention of young people. Swimming, because it is done in the water and away from screens, social media, and the 24-hours a day news cycle, provides young people a break where they can find some mental calm.
Swimming provides unparalleled health benefits. Baby swimming lessons have been shown repeatedly in research to promote greater motor skill development, improved cognitive function, and even a greater sense of self-esteem and autonomy. Later, the benefits continue for preteens: stronger lungs, full-body exercise, and low impact exercise means young students can get a truly complete workout while reducing the risk of common overuse injuries endemic in the higher impact sports and physical activities.