Pupils who play sport are less likely to misbehave or miss school and get on better with their teachers, according to a Birmingham headteacher.
Hayden Abbott, of Lordswood Boys' School in Harborne, said he has noticed significant improvement since his school became a specialist sports college six months ago.
He added the experience had convinced him that all schools would benefit from a greater injection of sport in the curriculum.
Currently, they do less than two hours a week on average - a figure the Government is keen to increase, largely as part of a battle to reduce rising levels of obesity.
But Mr Abbott stressed the value of sport was as much academic and in behaviour improvement as it was in improved fitness.
"Students are more motivated. There are better standards. We also found because they are achieving so well in different sports we are getting them more certificates and awards and therefore being positive about school," he said.
"It helps in other subject areas and it helps them have better relationships not only with their peers, but with their teachers."
Mr Abbott is convinced the academic benefits will begin to bear fruit when exam results come out later this year.
"Because we have only been a specialist sports college since September I would like to be able to say GCSE results have improved this much but I can't yet," he said.
" But the benefits are noticed by the teachers. One tangible benefit is that we have noticed an increase in attendance this year."
Lordswood Boys' has been able to bring in additional coaches for sports training due to the extra funding specialist school status brings.
According to Mr Abbott, it means all pupils have been able to find something they enjoy and gain motivation from.
"We found when we became a sports college we were able to offer a wider range of sport to pupils," he said.
"As a result, we have no one who thinks they are no good at sport. A minority of parents have taken a view that a sport college is not necessarily as academic as a school which has a specialism in another area.
"But I say standards in all areas will improve if sport is a vehicle and they enjoy school they will go to lessons with a better attitude and better team-building skills."
Lordswood added he has seen the benefit of using sport as an outlet for pupils with behavioural problems.