There are a wide variety of unique individual sports that students will love to try. Team sports are great because they teach kids how to get along and relate well to others, but individual sports have many benefits too. They can breed independence and confidence in children and adolescents, among other qualities. Individual sports allow the athlete to progress at their own pace and set personal goals that won’t affect teammates. They can compete against themselves without worrying about disappointing anyone, which can be a great relief for students. The importance of physical activity to children’s health is important to note, too. This article will explore the following ten individual sports, some of which might be fun to try in your next physical education class:
It’s easy to see why many kids are picking up martial arts and sticking with it. The sport is all about codified systems and traditions of combat practice, with various levels (signified by the different colored belts in karate, for example). Martial arts has mental and spiritual components and physical aspects, making it popular for kids who are looking for something different than the average sport. They also offer lessons on self-defense, which every student should know. Students would be excited to learn some martial arts moves in their next gym class.
Kickboxing is an outstanding individual sport that you can introduce your students to during physical education classes. It’s a great option because you don’t need any materials or equipment to participate in kickboxing, and it will get your students’ heart rates up. Kickboxing, like martial arts, is also an opportunity for students to learn some self-defense techniques. Moves like jabbing and uppercutting will give them physical strength while clearing any thoughts that might be distracting them.
Fencing is a lesser-known individual sport, but chances are your students will love trying it. Fencing requires more equipment than the other individual sports mentioned so far because you’ll need to make sure your students have padding and helmets to wear since swords are involved. There are various strategies and techniques associated with fencing that will stimulate students mentally, and they will be eager to learn more about the sport. Fencing is fun because it’s a competitive sport, too, though you’re only competing against one other individual.
Swimming is a classic option in the world of individual sports. There are chances, of course, to make swimming more of a team effort with relay races. But for the most part, swimming is for individuals to compete against each other and their best times. Getting a personal record, or PR, is always something fun to strive for because you’re competing against yourself. Swimming is also a great life skill for students to learn because they will be safe whenever they are near water. Knowing how to do basic strokes, tread water, and float could come in handy if they ever find themselves in a body of water in an emergency.
Another excellent individual sport is tennis. Of course, you will need a court to play an actual tennis game, but you can start by teaching your students the techniques in any gym or large outdoor space. Like many of the other individual sports mentioned, tennis is a lifetime sport. Starting students young is a great idea because they can continue to play it for the rest of their lives. Tennis can be played in pairs, but it is considered an individual sport for the most part. Teach your students how to score correctly, what the different lines on the court mean, and the various racquet techniques, and they’ll be well on their way to becoming tennis pros.
Wrestling might not be for everyone, seeing as it’s most popular with boys and young men at the moment. But that could change if women are introduced to the sport at a younger age. Wrestling is typically done in a room with special mat floors to cushion any injuries that could occur due to the physical nature of the sport. If you’re trying wrestling with students, make sure they have a handle on the rules, etiquette, and techniques before you start. Pair students by size to make sure there aren’t any uneven match-ups, otherwise, it won’t be fun for all the students.
Whether it’s cross country or track, running is another excellent individual sport to introduce to your students. It’s so simple and easy, too, because most students are natural at it. Training only requires a good pair of tennis shoes and a track. If your school doesn’t have a track available, try using the gym or playground and set up a course for the students. You can start by having them run a certain distance or for an allotted amount of time. Running is another sport that will age well because it’s a great stress reliever, so it can help students’ mental health. Getting your students’ heartbeats up will help them physically and mentally.
Skiing and snowboarding are individual sports that can be done in the wintertime if you live in the right climate. Though not the most inexpensive sport, it’s a great option for individuals who would rather compete against themselves than their teammates. Skiing and snowboarding require different skills and techniques, but they both provide great physical exercise and a mental reprieve from everyday life stresses. Students might enjoy trying cross country skiing first because it’s a less expensive activity that can be done at a nearby park or golf course.
Cycling is an individual sport that you might not think of initially. Students can compete in cycling competitions or even triathlons, combining the skills they’ve learned in swimming, running, and cycling. It’s a great individual sport, mainly because students can enjoy leisurely bicycling or do it for sport. The workout will accelerate their heart rate and work their muscles.
Like tennis and swimming, golf is an individual sport that many people recognize as a lifelong activity. Not many people get into it at a young age, but it’s a sport that requires a lot of concentrated practice to improve. Try introducing golf to your students and see if it interests them. You can teach them the basics of swinging a golf club, the variety of clubs and when it’s appropriate to use them, and the etiquette that goes along with the sport.
Helping your students discover new and exciting individual sports could be a great benefit to them. They will learn how to be competitive and challenge themselves to do better at each match, race, or meet. There are so many unique individual sports to try, and your students will have fun trying them out to see what they like!
Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes. The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits. These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.
The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.
Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.