Opinion / From the Readers

Why China needs soccer and team sports

By TedM ( Updated: 2015-05-28 13:12

What benefits do team sports bring a country?

Leading on from my comments above, each person is an important cog in the team machine. If every person is educated to be a valuable member; trusted, respected, honest and with good social skills, then a country benefits from that cooperation, that initiative and that shared achievement.

Regardless of politics or social or economic problems, sport is a way that any country can show its importance in the world. Even the smallest and poorest of nations can feel pride in participating in world competitions.

China's leaders have clearly shown their desire to achieve a high status in team sports. Their initiatives start with soccer. There is now a drive to have soccer introduced into the curriculum of thousands of schools with trained coaches. A text book is to be issued! (Though my views about this are contained in another blog post I have written.)

It will take a very long time for soccer to become a leading and successful sport in China. It needs massive investment, but this is easily arranged. The big difficulty lies in the culture of individual, and not shared, success. Training in soccer goes far beyond the sport. It begins in the early years of a child's life. Children and their parents need educating in the value of cooperation, honesty, sharing and trust. Attitudes are difficult to change.

What about other team sports?

I see students every day who are bored and disinterested in the fitness exercises in PE lessons. Sometimes the boys "play" at shooting a ball into a basketball hoop. Sometimes they can play on the ping pong tables. But there is little or no introduction to general sports and no coaching. I rarely see a proper game played, and I know of no inter-school competitions. Some girls are desperate to do some sport, but they have no chance and resort to sitting around talking while they watch some boys bouncing a ball. An interest in sport is destroyed.

Then there is the culture of blame. Sport can result in injury. In China it is the teacher who is to blame regardless of the facts. It follows that there is an unwillingness to introduce any sport that may risk accident. Thereby sport is discouraged.

In conclusion, huge investment is needed in sports education in the early years. Develop an interest and skills in a variety of team sports at an early age with investment in facilities and training by qualified coaches in every school. There should be a school/parent contract regarding accidents and adequate school insurance to cover costs. Then, in fifteen years time China might be able to win world acclaim in team sports, including soccer.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and don't represent views of China Daily website. You can read the original story and comments here: Soccer and team sports in China

Why China needs soccer and team sports

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