by Tanya Thomas on  September 12, 2009 at 12:32 PM Child Health News
 Cricket's Off-Field Benefits: Reducing Truancy and Disruption Among Students
Wondering how to disengage your kids from indulging in disruption and truancy? Well, just encourage them to play cricket.

Researchers from Loughborough University have found that children with a boisterous history act in a more "sportsman-like manner" after being exposed to the game for just a few hours.

And thus, they are encouraging schools to crackdown on unruly pupils - by playing cricket.

For the study, the university analysed the results of a three-year schools programme run by the Cricket Foundation charity, and said that pupils displayed better social skills and teamwork compared with those taking part in normal PE lessons.

In addition, the study found that cricket helped girls to overcome "restrictive gender beliefs" and gain confidence in playing sport.

The results of the study have come at a time when fears are raised that cricket may be under threat in state schools because of a lack of equipment and over-crowded timetables.

Earlier research found that less than one in 10 pupils plays cricket and most schools still do not have proper facilities or expert tuition in the sport.

However, academics have claimed that the game had a positive impact on children, particularly those from deprived areas.

"With football [the boys] sometimes kick you and things but with cricket no one really tries to trick you and cheat. And we clap when someone does well," the Telegraph quoted an 11-year-old girl as telling researchers.

A 10-year-old boy said: "You learn sportsmanship, you can work together and help people out."

The university's Institute of Youth Sport surveyed more than 300 pupils taking part in the Chance to Shine initiative run by the Cricket Foundation and also interviewed teachers and cricket coaches.

A large number of the teachers questioned said pupils' behaviour had been better in the cricket sessions than in regular PE lessons, and that they had seen an increase in children's fitness.

The report suggested that cricket training was also helping to cut truancy.

More than half of pupils questioned said they enjoyed and look forward to school when a cricket session was taking place, compared with a third when it was not.

Dr Ruth Jeanes, who led the research, said: "While Chance to Shine is undoubtedly having a positive impact on general cricket provision and the development of opportunities for young people, its contribution to improving the social well being of many of its participants illustrates that it is much more than just a cricket development initiative."

Source: ANI

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