'School sports days put children off sport – MP'

A place to talk about your experience of living with Dyspraxia

Moderator: Moderator Team

Posts: 868
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:16 pm
Location: London

'School sports days put children off sport – MP'

Post by Daniel » Thu Dec 14, 2006 9:34 pm

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/latest/ ... ort_mp.php

I for one wish I could have been given an alternative to participating in team sports at school and found the PE lessons a source of torment and negativity each week.

What does everyone else think about the MP's comments?

Power poster
Posts: 392
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 8:26 pm
Location: Birmingham, UK

Post by Greg » Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:49 am

I think the FAs comments about team sports can only be made by someone who's never seen the "teamwork" on display in the average school team.

Personally PE was good for me. Helped me develop low cunning, ways of thwarting systems, stealth and teamwork skills. I spent most of them playing games with my friends at the LAN cafe or playing cardgames with John. Got away with it almost every time, good lifeskills to have.

I think competition is necassary, it's going to be there when they leave school, a lack of preperation for it will be damaging, I wouldn't advocate the elimination of competative sport. However mandatory sports days suck. Also doing about 1/2 competitive sport 1/2 activity sport might not be a bad plan.

Regular Poster
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2006 5:52 am

Post by jme » Sat Dec 16, 2006 7:29 am

I agreed with the article but the comments in response to that article got me so riled, I had to stop reading them!! #-o #-o It’s so unfair. #-o #-o

People don’t realise how tough it is when you have a disability that makes you unable to participate on an even vaguely level playing field. To continually come last, be chosen last, bullied and teased just because you have a different level of ability is simply unacceptable. And you can’t ignore the fact that this behaviour ultimately overflows into the class room and leads to very real social ostracism. It causes a high level of anxiety and stress for the kid.

It’s not just team sports that are the problem it is the entire sport and PE program and schools. They are not inclusive one bit. I wish I didn’t have to go through that misery, and ‘yes’, it is publicly humiliating. My lack of ability was always on display for people to gawp at.

It would have been great to have been made to feel part of a team, to have people give me a fair go, and to feel included. If I could have been with a group of kids around my same level of ability doing activities that catered for my level of ability, I’m sure I would have loved it. But it was the opposite experience. I was made to feel hopeless and pathetic. There are so many ways to learn how to be part of a team that don’t include sport. The whole sport culture and mentality is unacceptable and lacking in empathy. People pretend this issue isn’t real or doesn’t exist. There is a serious problem with the whole sport and PE culture at schools.

so true…
“ If a child cannot read, they are not put on a stage and made to stumble through the alphabet or a passage of Shakespeare, yet little thought is given to the children who do not excel at sport."
Sorry for the rant but it’s something that really touches a chord… I think this is a serious issue.
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

"Normal refers to someone who hasn’t had enough tests!"

Posts: 438
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:38 pm

Post by Pooky » Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:28 am

I remember I used to be made to do sit ups, as I couldn't hit the shuttlecock when serving. She thought I was doing it on purpose all the time ](*,) I still can't manage it nowadays.

Ironically I did use to be on teamsports, I played netball at Junior school and Hockey at Secondary school (altho' I only ever played goalie...more so because they couldn't find anyone else to do it :( )...Then I played a bit of Rugby at college, which was enlightening.

I might not be very good but I always try...

One of my more recent memories is from a wedding last summer (boyfriends friend), they were playing croquet on the lawn. Unfortunately I couldn't get hang of it and starting lifting all the turf. Got several evil looks and even my partner had a go at me and told me to stop messing about, even though he knows my problems ](*,) Just upsets me when I try so hard, yet get put down :(

On a much brighter note I went to one of my school friends wedding this summer, and that was great. Was playing all sorts of ball games. However the difference is they know what I am like...so I normally get the laughing at me, etc in a fun sorta way. I am always made to feel inclusive though, what ever my skills.

I have always found outdoor pursuits to be one of my loves. If they are some people on here who still have an aversion to sport then I can seriously reccomend it. Walking, climbing, kayaking, sailing, etc. The reason why I enjoy outdoor pursuits so much is you can do everything at your own pace and are responsible for yourself. It is far more enjoyable.

Posts: 868
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:16 pm
Location: London

Post by Daniel » Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:49 am

jme you put it perfectly and your experiences exactly mirror my own.

PE of all the subjects at school is the one that makes the least allowance for those with limited abilities. Imagine struggling in Maths or English lessons and being ignored by the teacher in favour of those more able and being heckled and derided by your peers because of your difficulties. It doesn't happen, but this is the weekly tale of torment for those with physical inabilities in PE lessons. It fails the individual and as jme correctly identifies can be the source from which wider bullying stems.

Whereas all other subjects are tiered into ability groups the same isn't true with PE. The surrounds of a group of football-fanatical lads is like a vipers nest for someone like me who can't control the direction I kick a ball in irrespective of how many times I try; not that any of the teachers had any interest in spending time with me to see if my poor skills could be bettered.

It is a systematic failure stemming from the sporting culture that is imported into PE lessons which serves only the able. Schools have to be all-inclusive; every last pupil must be catered for but this is not happening. I've also blogged on this subject to anyone interested.


Posts: 438
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:38 pm

Post by Pooky » Sat Dec 16, 2006 11:16 am

jme wrote:I agreed with the article but the comments in response to that article got me so riled, I had to stop reading them!! #-o #-o It’s so unfair. #-o #-o
I actually hadn't read the article or comments when I made my first post. However from reading them it is quite obvious that the people making the comments have missed the point.

The argument is that sports introduce competition in to your life and prepare you for adulthood.. However so does most academic subjects. We all want to do better than our peers in english and maths, at school, etc.

We may all experience competition in life...job interviews for example. However few of us will be trying to compete in something we know we will never be good at it.

Regular Poster
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:22 am
Location: Poole- Dorset

Post by gomababe » Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:06 pm

Funnily enough I was never tormented because of my poor PE skills at school, it was more to do with the overactive imgination and the poor social skills thing. I think a lot of kids got jealous during sports day when I was at primary school actually as our teachers put the effort into making sure I didn't hurt myself half the time {like putting the benches for the assault courses the other way around for me so I wouldn't fall off and break something if I tried it the way al my peers did}. Then again I just might have gone to a school that tried its best to be inclusive {we did things like dance for PE and not just sports alll the time}. As as result I'm not alll the uncomfortable with the idea of taking part in a game of football or badminton, I'll just laugh my poor abilities off and make jokes about it {like 'if I tried doing this while drunk I might actually hit the stupid thing!'}

I guess I just can't imagine schools *not* being inclusive since I seem to be one of the few lucky ones with a supportive network of PE teachers throughout my school life.[/u]

Getting settled in
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2006 6:21 pm
Location: Nottingham

Post by Rosel » Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:31 pm

I think sports was about the only time that sport was fun for me. It was always about fun and supporting your "House"
ordinary sport lessons were less fun though. i didn"t like those and how people who naturally good at stuff were loved by the teachers.
But at our school for a while we used to have quizzes after PE and those were great.

Getting settled in
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 7:44 am

Post by Page » Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:43 am

I hated PE. I got tired so quickly that I was not much use to anyone on a team. I could never catch or kick a ball, and I had social difficulties so I was not really able to effectively be part of a team.

Regular Poster
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2006 5:52 am

Post by jme » Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:56 am

pooky, thats spot on!
pooky wrote:However few of us will be trying to compete in something we know we will never be good at it.
Yes, it seems we had a very similar experience Dan. I read your blog and nodded. Most people just don’t understand. A lot of people think they are bad at sport or unco, but then you find out that they actually can play certain sports, they’re just not stars. In all my 5 schools, I was always the worst by a long shot and felt very lonely always being the one in that position. There were more kids who had learning problems.

I am surprised that most people so far didnt have too bad a time during sport.

I think I really needed the equivalent of a “special class” during PE. If you are bad at sport you can kind of struggle though but when you have a real difficulty it’s impossible.

The teachers were aware I had a motor problem (was sorta obvious during sport that I had a problem!). I still had to ‘try’ but all the activities were never at my level (regardless of whether it was competitive sport or not). ....................The older I got, the larger the gap got between me and everyone else and the more embarrassing and stressful it was. I always was thrown in with everyone else. My gross motor ability is very very basic.

It’s like making a person with an intellectual disability go to senior school maths class weekly because that’s what everyone else his age is doing. Every week he has to start at the same level and only when he fails do they lower the bar. You see, he has to at least try, right!? But the gap is too large and even when the bar is lowered the kid still fails. When the gap is that large the kid needs a special class with totally different activities and an environment that is non-threatening. The same applies to kids who have motor problems but people just can’t understand this. I also had to work very hard to just achieve this basic level, I had intense early intervention and began physiotherapy at the age of 2. Nobody had a clue how hard I had to work to just be where I was. That’s why I do use the word disability when referring to my motor ability. I really have a problem that’s more than just a difference in ability.

I did have some positive experiences and people who did understand, but they were rare.

when it is obvious you can’t do something it’s unpleasant when you are made to prove that point every week. It’s cruel. In the senior years of high school, all the girls were decent, no-one made fun (except one teacher who actually physically dragged me across the room in disgust with my ability)… but it was stressful being in the same class when you just can’t do anything. After the dragging incident my Dr gave me a certificate saying that I am medically unfit to do sport. I wish I got that years earlier.

It’s very hard for people to understand that I am this bad because I look ‘normal’. or for people to understand that even non-competitive sports with my peers just wont work. Like telling a severly dyslexic person to just read the magazines... when you cant read, you cant read regardless of the thing you are reading.... :Eek: it’s only when they actually see me attempt a physical activities do they ‘get it’.

Sorry for the long post!
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

"Normal refers to someone who hasn’t had enough tests!"

Super poster
Posts: 829
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:59 pm
Location: UK

Post by Liz944 » Sat Dec 23, 2006 1:29 am

I have to admit I enjoyed sports at school... running, swimming, netball, badminton and hockey... funnily enough not tennis!

Even when older did marshall arts for 4 years... I guess it helped with the balance!

Having said that I did not know at the time I was dyspraxic... and I don't think anyone noticed...


Post by robyn » Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:12 am

I enjoyed sports at school too, my coordination isnt my weakest point and I was so hype that keeping active suited me. by the time I was in high school I wasnt good at team sports anymore, too much info going in at once for me to deal with, and some of my coordination problems became more evident as I was older. It didnt bother me much, I was allways bunking off with my pals or off cause of a horse riding related injury anyways. Kids getting to pick there own team mates is v cruel, the weaker kids are allways left out that way. One of my friends at school had spina bifida and although it wasnt bad she found sports difficult, when we were kids she was as active as I was, we used to go on bike rides and swimming together and she taught me to play badminton and tennis and sometimes came to the stabels with me. other that a slight limp there wasnt much difference between us but by the time we were in high school it was more difficult for her to participate on the same level as her peers, the schools solution to this was to have her sit out during PE!!! It was so horrid, just cause she couldnt manage the level they expected they ignored her entirely, she was never offered other options to be active and participate in PE in a way she could manage. Shes now very active again and happy for it but during school she saw herself as useless and became very unfit, unhealthy and depressed, mainly cause of this.

Power poster
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:59 pm

Post by rah » Sun Dec 24, 2006 11:20 am

i enjoyed pe in primary school, although i was always upset that i seemed to be the only one who never managed to hit the rounders ball and that i always seemed to get a hand ball when playing football!

i loved running though, i guess because it didn't require specific skills at that age and there was no teamwork involved, something that i always struggled with.

once i got into secondary school i carried on with the running for about a year but i had an awful pe teacher who seemed to think that everyone should be capable of doing pe. i remember her doing a lesson designed to improve co-ordination and i was terrible at all the activities, she was quite horrible about it. i found the teamwork even more of a struggle too.

from year 8 onwards i didn't do pe, as i was suffering from severe pains in my legs and hips (that was never specifically diagnosed. it was put down as "growing pains" but considering that i stopped growing some time ago and still suffer from them i think they were wrong there!). i think that if i had really wanted to then i would've been able to do at least some pe, but the doctors note also served as a "get out of teamwork" note to me!

anyway, i don't see why pe can't be differentiated just like any other subject. in the school i work in some of the kids have physio lessons aswell or instead of pe with activities designed to help with balance and co-ordination issues among other things.

Power poster
Posts: 272
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:48 am
Location: Dudley, West Midlands

Post by donnaf » Mon Dec 25, 2006 8:00 am

I always hated PE and dreaded sports day every year so much. I was rubbish at it and was always in the last 2 to get picked for teams. Luckily the thing that saved me from being completely last was that I was friends with everyone so they picked me based on that alone!
When I was 11 I managed to start getting out of it cause my bow legs caused me so much pain. When I went to senior school, my mom wrote me a letter excusing me from PE whenever I said my legs hurt too much. Funnily enough, they seemed to cause me most pain when I was due to play team sports or athletics (aherm),I did try to do both but found my inability humiliating and hardley did any PE in senior school at all. If I did try, I would sometimes have to endure a teacher taking me aside and showing me how to do stuff by myself (being shown how to do the hop skip and jump part of long jump was one occasion....I was really embarrassed that I just couldn't "get" it, no matter how hard the teacher tried)
I was only good at one thing, and that was running! I can run really fast, but thats literally the only sport I am any good at!
I was always in the top classes academically, and I never saw any of my less able friends in lower sets get humiliated for not being able to "get" a maths problem.
I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never ever gonna keep me down :D


Posts: 896
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 10:24 am
Location: Bridgend, South Wales

Post by Shadwell » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:07 pm

I used to like PE in junior school, apart from rounders, but was surprised when I actually got to hit the ball,

but then in comprehensive, the teacher used to like rugby, even during the winter, done up in about 5 layers of clothes, and a coat! well I got fed up of it, and after trying my best, could see nothing was going to change, so either made a doctors appointment, went to see the nurse, or written myself notes just to get out of every PE lesson being rugby.

mainly as it is a full contact sport, and requires hand eye co-ordination! mainly the full contact I really hated, and if you weren't injured in some way then he wasn't happy!

my parent's didn't find out about the sick notes, until the end of year reports, then I explained that it was rugby 24/7 with him, and they knew how sensitive my body is, and knew I had something wrong with me, but we didn't find out for definate until I was 28 years old

Post Reply