Utilizing Sports to Support P.E. in Christian Schools
The benefits of physical education are not a hidden fact, as sports often serve as emotional and physical outlets for athletes. However, the pressure to perform is increasingly taking away the joy of sports. Yet, one school found a way to integrate organized youth sports to support their P.E. curriculum, creating an enthusiasm for sports beyond a typical class rotation in their school day.
Angleton Christian School in Angleton, TX integrated Upward Sports into their elementary P.E. curriculum. “Sports programs have only been offered in the past to middle and high school students, leading younger students to transfer to other local schools in hopes of playing organized sports,” said Coach Jensen. In an effort to bridge the gap, Brent Jensen, coach and P.E teacher at Angleton Christian School, brought up the innovative idea to utilize Upward Sports to support their P.E. curriculum and to offer after-school sports for his elementary students.
Coach Jensen’s 19 years of coaching experience aided his decision-making process, as coaching for Upward in the past at a local church had been a positive and fun experience. After discussions with his principal and leadership team, he knew the school would benefit from this offering. After conversations with Upward Sports, a timeline and a starting sport of flag football was ready to go. He determined that Upward Sports would be a great tool to integrate into Angleton Christian School due to its Christian fundamentals, culture, and the desire to serve current students while attracting new families to the school.
“The greatest benefit of using Upward is the flexibility it provides. By choosing only the materials that would support our school plan made the roll out smooth and kept all costs within budget. Everything is packaged for ease of distribution, online materials are there, and coaching materials are well laid out for teaching,” shared Coach Jensen. “If I were to leave and turn over the position, the structure offered by Upward is still in place, allowing a smooth transition. I applaud Upward on their structure and organization, as they have really thought things through. They truly serve as a support to what we are trying to achieve through sports at Angleton Christian.”
Incorporating Upward Sports into the school curriculum went beyond just P.E class. The key memory verse provided for weekly Upward practices and games was shared with teachers to reinforce in Bible Class each week. Furthermore, the student media team at Angleton Christian School helped film practices and games every week, gaining out-of-class experience in the process. “By offering an Upward Sports league, the entire school was able to be a part. This created such a great atmosphere of team work,” said Coach Jensen. Fusing sports beyond P.E. class promoted school unity and created excitement around school spirit.
The responses from current students further proved the new program’s success, as 116 out of 292 elementary students decided to play in the flag football league. With almost half of the elementary students participating in the sports program, kids who had never participated in sports before or not played in fear of not performing came out to be a part. In order to emphasize comradery and the importance of having fun, Coach Jensen grouped young athletes with one or two friends when drafting teams through the system provided by Upward. This further increased involvement, as kids signed up to play sports as a new way of hanging out with friends.
“I wanted to get the whole school involved and excited around sports…I had no clue the turnout that would take place and the school spirit that would be seen. It was such a great sight”, said Coach Jensen.
By offering sports at a younger age, Angleton Christian School helped children who never played organized sports before participate in flag football in a fun, uplifting way, while putting the Gospel on display. “By offering Upward Sports as a supplement to our P.E. curriculum, and allowing kids to play after-school sports, we offered a safe place for sports to take place. We also attracted new families to our school. Our goal is to make families and kids feel welcome, and sports opened the door for this to happen,” said Coach Jensen. Angleton Christian School is beginning to evaluate how they can work with the community to offer new sports through the school in the coming months!
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