- In an effort to engage more students in establishing fitness routines, high schools are introducing low-cost alternatives to traditional team sports, including such options as flag football, bass fishing, sand volleyball and ultimate frisbee, District Administration reports.
- Another option is orienteering, an activity in which students navigate an outdoor space to locate checkpoints, combining physical exercise with the development of problem-solving and collaboration skills.
- Additionally, esports, though not a physical activity, is growing rapidly in popularity and uses the attraction of video games to help students develop teamwork and soft skills that will be useful in the workplace.
With the current research about the potential harmful impact of football injuries, many schools are considering whether football is worth the risk. Traditional sports such as football are also expensive. According to an article in The Atlantic, schools in the United States often spend twice as much on a football player than they do on a math student. However, the search for alternatives to football has led to some interesting and exciting new options that can either replace traditional sports or coexist alongside them.
Sports such as ultimate frisbee and disc golf cost much less than football and are accessible to more students. And orienteering's emphasis on problem-solving and ability to serve as a great classroom activity or special event, even if a regular team isn't possible, has led to its growth in popularity.
And a group of students not regularly tapped for team events in the past may find esports an attractive option, with its rise in recent years paving the way for it own leagues, federation and high school competitions. The competitive team nature of the events helps bring many of these students out of isolation and fosters important team-building skills. There are also now college scholarships offered to attract esports competitors — a clever way for colleges to reach out to students who likely have tech skills or an interest in gaining them. By thinking outside the traditional high school box, school leaders can foster inclusiveness for groups that may have been outcasts in the past and build valuable traits in these students, as well.