Why Is Physical Education Class Only Directed Towards the Small Percentage of Athletes?

In traditional physical education class, educators are only teaching how to stay physically active through basic sports, which is great for the athletes, but what about the students who do not become professional athletes? The NCAA posted data on the probability of a high school athlete playing in college and eventually going pro. Comparing men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, men’s soccer, football and men’s ice hockey, the data shows that the easiest sport to turn pro in is baseball. For baseball approximately 0.44% or 1 out of every 225 high school participants reach the professional ranks. Since that number is so low, why are physical educators continuing to teach these sports? There is a small future for these sports and the obesity academic is growing at a fast pace.

Elementary physical education should be focused on learning the basic fundamentals of each sport to help the children develop physically. There are many youth leagues for children to get involved with and stay active for that age. You always see many children involved in sports in youth leagues, but the number dwindles immensely as they get older. We need to stop teaching traditional sports in secondary education and provide the students with knowledge of lifetime physical fitness in order to be healthy. There are minimal amounts of adult leagues for sports, so teaching to the small percentage of athletes is not going to help America with the obesity epidemic. Physical education in secondary school should emphasize different kinds of exercises that are needed to stay healthy such as exercises that improve muscle and bone strength, exercises that improve joint and muscle flexibility, exercises that improves endurance and stamina, and exercises that enhances balance and coordination. The students should be able to understand and demonstrate different work outs to improve and maintain their health as they get older.

The teachers should give the students a variety of fun ways to work out. One way of exercising may appeal to one student, but not to another. They should start the quarter off by doing a preview of different ways to exercise and then give the students options on what they feel best suits their needs. Some options could be zumba, weight lifting, circuit training, boot camp, yoga, kickboxing, resistance training, track workouts, marathon workouts, etc. All of these options can be used lifetime and the physical educators can make it fun to show the students that working out does not have to be dreaded. Many of these suggested workouts are also great because the student can perform based on their physical abilities. Both, students in bad shape and students in great shape can do these workouts and make it as challenging as they want. For example, in circuit training if you have a student doing mountain climbers for 30 seconds, the student in great shape may be able to do it for the entire 30 seconds while the students in bad shape may only be able to do it for 10 seconds, but both still get a work out from it. Also, students would be less embarrassed because everyone would be focused on their own exercise they are performing and would not have time to look up and worry about what other students are doing.

All in all, changing the way secondary physical education is taught can help change the obesity epidemic by giving students practical exercises that they can enjoy and perform for the rest of their lives, whether it is at the gym or in their own homes, to stay healthy. Many students are not educated on different workouts that they can do and think that exercising means vigorous activities that they could never perform or want to perform. Physical educators have a chance to teach students how to stay healthy and active throughout their lifetime, while facing reality that all the students are not going to become professional athletes.