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High schools maintain opportunities and support excellence.
High school is an important time for teenagers to keep fit and explore opportunities in a broad range of sports and physical activities. Regular activity will help to maintain healthy body weights. It’s also a chance for some to pursue excellence and achievement in sport.
Ideally, all high school students will have acquired physical literacy and fundamental skills during their elementary schooling, and they will have developed physical fitness during their middle school years. These skills and capacities are needed to participate in sport and activity at high school, and they are essential to stay active for life.
During high school, students need to have opportunities to participate in a variety of sports and physical activities for a variety of reasons:
- Regular physical activity is essential to maintain healthy weight, regular sleep, and overall physical development (muscular and cardiovascular).
- Regular activity and healthy lifestyle habits will contribute to positive overall physical, emotional and psychological development.
- High school may provide the only opportunity for some students to participate in structured sport and physical activity programs.
- Combined with the growth of video games and other “screen time” sedentary pursuits, the need for physical activity programs becomes even more acute.
- High school programs can help students to identify one or two favourite sports and encourage them to take up a lifelong pursuit.
- Some students may show talent and want to begin specializing in one particular sport.
The challenges faced by high schools:
- Constricted school budgets often limit program options, instructional capacity, and participation numbers.
- Community collaboration with partners such as recreation and sports clubs is limited or non-existent.
- The importance of daily physical education is not recognized in all school districts.
- Many school sport teams deny access to youth by insisting on competitive tryouts and “cutting” participants.
- Many students arrive at high school without having developed physical literacy in the elementary and middle school grades, so teachers are forced to teach fundamental movement and sport skills in a remedial setting.
- If students have had unhappy experiences with physical education at the elementary and middle school grades, they often have negative attitudes towards physical education in high school, so they participate with reluctance and half-hearted effort.