Guidelines for Specific Sports and Physical Activities
|24 November 1999|
Regular participation in physical activity during childhood is associated with a range of physical and mental health benefits both in childhood and in adulthood. Active children become healthy adults and schools play a key role in contributing to that outcome. In New South Wales government schools, 760,000 students participate in planned sport and physical activity at various levels on a regular basis.
Participation in a safe environment provides opportunities for students to enjoy the experience and excitement of physical activity, to develop skills, interact socially and achieve personal goals. Participants who enjoy and are satisfied with their experience are more likely to be physically active. This document will assist schools promote quality participation in physical activity through safe and enjoyable activities.
In preparing and organising sports events, excursions or camps involving aquatic activities or other sports, walkathons, fun runs, gala days, special focus activity programs and sport programs, the following policies and procedures are relevant:
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Physical Activity in Schools
Physical activity is defined as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure” (Caspersen, Powell and Christenson, 1985).
For the purposes of this document physical activity is an umbrella term that includes exercise, fitness activities, active recreation and sport with supervision provided by teachers and instruction provided by either teachers or other adults who are appropriately qualified.
These activities will usually be engaged in during teaching/learning situations and whole school
It is not intended that the guidelines be directly applied to playground games initiated in recess and lunch time sessions which are usually informal in nature and arranged by students for their own pleasure and recreation. The school’s supervision plan will clearly indicate the supervision arrangements and the nature and structure of activities and games engaged in by students during daily breaks. These activities can become very competitive and whilst appropriate competition can be accommodated and encouraged, games or activities engaged in by students should be assessed taking into account the size of the playing area or field and any rule and equipment modification that may need to be made to suit the age, number of students, special needs and maturity levels of the students to enable safe participation.
Guidelines for the Safe Conduct of Sport and Physical Activity in Schools alerts teachers to the need for vigilance particularly where there is a potential hazard that may lead to injury. The safety conditions for specific activities apply whether the activity is taken as part of school sport, physical education, within school excursions, or on any other occasion where planned physical activity is to occur.
The safety conditions for specific sports and activities in these guidelines must only be varied where experts in the particular sport advise accordingly. Physical education teachers in physical education lessons may vary the conditions considering the nature of the activity, the teaching-learning processes employed and the experience and physical development of
Physical activity in the school setting takes place in a variety of contexts and includes formal inter and intra-school competitive sport, physical education, formal and informal recreation activity,
Effective prevention measures are based on an understanding of the inherent nature of the activity or sport, its players or participants and the external environment.
Injury rates and types vary markedly between sports and the development of prevention strategies needs to occur on a sport specific basis. The key strategies for injury prevention are described for the information of teachers who may be appointed as coaches, instructors, supervisors, officials, activity organisers or trainers. Best practice, sound practice and experience in the field indicates that injury countermeasures have a very significant role in preventing injuries.
An important injury countermeasure is the use of protective equipment. Protective equipment ranges from helmets, eyewear and mouthguards to shin padding, gloves and genital protectors.
Protective equipment used to prevent and control injury is increasing at a significant rate. In many sports such as cricket and baseball, the use of protective equipment is part of the culture and well accepted. In others, it is up to the individual to be aware of the potential risks and benefits of protective equipment and use has therefore been voluntary. Injury to the head, eyes and mouth are important, particularly when the consequences can be permanent head injury or loss of vision.
For physical contact sports, the respective state and national sporting organisations, recommend the use of mouthguards. Cricket authorities recommend the wearing of cricket helmets and Squash Australia has already mandated the wearing of protective eyewear.
Principals and sports coordinators are advised to refer to the section Personal Protective Equipment for additional information and advice to parents and caregivers.
Guidelines for Specific Sport and Physical Activities
Specific conditions for the vast majority of physical activities conducted as a part of school sport programs, physical education or recreation programs are listed in this section. Each set of guidelines includes reference to teacher/instructor qualifications and experience, supervision, equipment, venues and safety in a comprehensive summary of the most relevant matters to be considered.
Principals may wish to include an activity in the school sport program which is not listed in this document. For such an activity to be approved by the principal, a set of guidelines clearly setting out all requirements and safety procedures (eg. supervision, equipment, legislation, venues and safety) is required. The format should be the same as for any listed sport or activity.
Additional guidelines will be issued from time to time, either on request or because new developments are recognised.