Alternative sports to Physical Education

Conventional sports are activities known throughout the world. However, alternative sports are often left out when it comes to physical education. It is necessary to know that, although they are not as well known, it does not mean that they are less beneficial and, in fact, incorporating them could motivate everyone to participate in the exercise.

When talking about sports activities and the different types of sports, we all think of the same things. Extreme sports, water sports, board sports, etc. On the other hand, if we are asked about the sports that are part of physical education, we will all begin to remember our educational stage and we will probably answer the same thing: soccer, volleyball and basketball.

However, with the advancement of knowledge about education, more and more people are trying to add alternative sports in primary and secondary schools to the physical education curriculum. For this reason, they opt for more didactic activities that can be adapted to all students, since they are usually heterogeneous groups.

But exactly what are alternative sports?

According to Hernández, J. M (2007) in “The pedagogical value of alternative sports”, this term refers to the “set of sports that, in contrast to commonly accepted conventional models, seek to achieve a greater participatory character and/or a explicit development of social values, through regulatory modifications and/or the use of new material”.

In other words, they are sports activities that are not very well known or that may even be sports invented at the time, which manage to work on different important aspects in the development of young people in an integral way.

Alternative games are often quite beneficial for handling large groups, promoting a level playing field, avoiding the confusion that comes with the complicated rules of certain conventional sports, focusing on fun, and developing cognitive and emotional skills.

Why add original sports at the time of Physical Education?

Adding little-known sports at the time of physical education is something quite beneficial that many teachers should take into account. This does not mean neglecting conventional sports, as they are also necessary activities to perform; however, changing from time to time and playing physical education games could bring many positive things.

To begin with, children who usually prefer not to participate in class may be more motivated to play if presented with new options. In addition, as they are alternative and innovative activities for everyone, children will not feel so much pressure to “do it right” in order to play.

Alternative primary and secondary games usually also promote cooperation and socialization. Therefore, they encourage students to collaborate with their peers and have fun.

5 alternative sports that students will love

1) Fortnite EF 

One of the most original and creative activities on this list is the one created by Professor Víctor Arufe in 2019: Fortnite EF.

Being able to be considered as one of the rare sports in Spain, this is a quite ingenious idea, since the basic principles of the most famous video game of the moment among young people have been taken and turned into opportunities to exercise.

In a large space, the participants will have to run at the moment the teacher indicates it to a “battlefield” full of balls and defense objects. Players will try to eliminate each other and, if playing as a team, they will also have to save each other.

This is a good mix between cooperativeness, competitiveness and fun. Therefore, it is an activity that has been awarded for its qualities.

2) Goalball 

This alternative sport is an activity that was invented for soldiers who, due to the Second World War, lost their vision in whole or in part. It started as a therapeutic activity , but is now considered a Paralympic sport.

Two teams of three players are needed, who must cover their eyes with a mask. Using a ball with bells, they must score goals by rolling the ball like bowling, while the others defend.

It is played in silence and this, in addition to serving as a physical exercise, will help train the senses and make the students much more empathetic.

3) Bijbol 

Among the alternative sports games, Bijbol is one of the simplest. To play it you need a giant ball and two teams, who will try to score goals in the opposite goal.

Children may kick, throw and touch the ball, but never hold it in their hands. Which will cause them to move a lot, while improving their coordination and agility. This game was invented in Madrid by the teacher María Teresa Miña.

4) The donut 

Invented in Spain by Professor Manuel Rodríguez, the donut is a game that consists of a confrontation between two teams that must go by throwing a small hoop, catching it and scoring points on the opposing team’s court.

Everyone can play this sport, regardless of age, and the best thing about it is that it is an activity that makes participants improve their coordination and promotes teamwork.  

5) Korfball/Korfbal/Balonkorf/Korbal 

Since its creation in 1902, this alternative sport has managed to expand to the point of having a federation and millions of players around the world. One particularity that it has is that, even in the professional field, the teams are mixed, so equality is promoted.

To play you need a ball and a basket, a little lower than what a basketball hoop would be, and instead of bouncing the ball, it is thrown making passes to score. It is really a very complete sport , fun and that, in addition, invites players to try everything, since the roles within the game change over time.

As you can see, to practice any of these alternative sports, you just need to have good sweatpants and want to have fun. Therefore, it is always a good idea to add these activities to physical education, achieving a more dynamic and inclusive class that will benefit all participants.


The pedagogical value of alternative sports

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