SIS on Sports: On Teaching Kids to Be Resilient (An Interview with SIS Football Coach Gareth Jones)
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure . . . than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. —Theodore Roosevelt
More than a decade ago, a young Gareth Jones had to move across the globe to pursue his love for sports. And as luck would have it, he crossed paths with SIS CEO and founder Jaspal Sidhu who was then envisioning a foundation for a football academy in his school. To this day, Coach Gareth is still with the SIS community, overseeing the sports academy he and Jaspal successfully started and built.
It didn’t feel like a walk in the park when Coach Gareth was starting out on his post, with a 15 percent obesity rate and a meager 30 percent sports participation from the student population. Getting help from the School Board, the teachers, and his co-coaches, Coach Gareth figured out that the children were actually more interested when they were given a great variety of sports activity to choose from.
A couple of years later, they saw a 120 percent sports participation from the kids, with most kids doing more than one sport. Now kids from across all levels in SIS are actively participating across the various sports events and competitions held locally and abroad.
When asked what his biggest challenge is with the job, Coach Gareth stated, “I had to educate the parents more and show them how big an impact sports has on their children’s well-being on and off the field and the importance of letting the kids know that it’s okay to fail.”
And rightfully so, as a physical, social, and psychological activity, getting kids into sports has substantial benefits. Studies show how sports helps inculcate discipline, develops self-esteem and confidence, encourages teamwork, boosts social skills, and most importantly, helps them understand that it’s okay to fail.
“I don’t expect kids to be the next Kobe Bryant or Lionel Messi or pressure them to be anything but the best they can be. They can get depressed when they don’t meet that expectation, and in some cases, drop out of sports altogether. I want them to feel like they are in a supportive environment where they are free to make mistakes and express themselves while trying a variety of sports. The resilience and intrinsic motivation they get out of a losing experience will eventually mold them into better players.”