Tutor HuntFoundation

Tri-school dodgeball tournament

Primary schools

Tutor Hunt has been sponsoring the sports department of woodcraft junior school for the past three academic years. It has supplied the funds for a sports coach to provide weekly lessons in `dodgeball` to year seven students. This coaching is in preparation for the Tri-School Dodgeball Tournaments, which are held twice a year, and allow the children of three schools, Woodcroft, Goldbeaters and The Orion, to pit their skills against each other.

Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health, published a report in 2014, entitled `The link between pupil health and wellbeing and attainment.` This report clearly outlines the benefits of regular exercise upon a child`s physical and cognitive development. The report cited the chief medical officer of England, who made the point quite clearly:

`Promoting physical and mental health in schools creates a virtuous circle, reinforcing children`s attainment and achievement, that in turn improves their wellbeing, enabling children to thrive and achieve their full potential.`

A study conducted by the University of Strathclyde found that exercise has a definite positive impact on the academic performance of teenagers. This 2013 study consisted of 5000 teenagers, and concluded that exercise had a lasting favourable effect on their exam results in English, maths and science. The study pointed out that the exercise had to be conducted regularly, with at least 60 minutes of sustained daily exercise being required to yield a positive academic result. Presumably a single trip to the gym just before an exam wouldn`t guarantee a C grade student an A* performance then.

Despite the abundance of evidence linking physical activity to cognitive development in children, exercise amongst children its thought to have significantly declined over the last 30 years. One reason for this fall in exercise could be an increased wariness of parents to let their children play outdoors; another could be the ubiquity of televisions and video games amongst households. Why should a child go outside and play football on a small park field with three friends, when they can stay at home, and compete at Wembley Stadium on their computer console?

Realising the importance of physical education, and concerned over the decline of regular exercise amongst children and adolescents, tutor hunt decided to sponsor the PE department of Woodcraft Junior School. Many people will be unfamiliar with the game of dodgeball. I must confess to not having heard about it before Tutor Hunt began its sponsorship. It doesn`t sound like one of the common games played in schools across the country, such as football, netball, or rounders. The game has been popular in America for decades, and over the last few years has crossed the Atlantic, becoming ever more common in the sports halls of British schools.

The premise of the game is very simple - two teams of players attempt to throw soft sponge balls at members of the other team; a strike by a ball means you are out, and must leave the playing area. To be hit and designated out from the game a player must be struck `on the full` by a ball. This means the ball must hit them before it bounces off any surface, such as the floor, walls, or ceiling of the court. A dodgeball game is usually an extremely frenetic, almost feral event! Spectators watching a game will initially witness a calm scene: the players of each team dutifully lined up on the baseline of their side; the sponge projectiles all arranged on the midline dividing each side. The whistle is blown, and every player rushes forward, eager to acquire as much ammunition as they can! From that point the mayhem truly begins! The air is filled with sponge missiles, the pitch populated by players who, if they aren`t throwing projectiles with all their might, are dodging them as earnestly as they can. The game is over when everyone from one side is out, something that rarely takes more than two or three minutes. At the most recent Tri-School Dodgeball Tournament Woodcraft Junior emerged victorious, beating Goldbeaters and The Orion.

5 years ago