British versus German tradition
Two traditions played a role here, namely the British and the German. In the British tradition, with sports such as boxing, football, hockey, cricket, and athletics, the competitive element was paramount, and the goal was to be the best, the fastest, or the strongest competitor. Within the German tradition of physical education and gymnastics, which very much followed in the footsteps of ‘Turnvater’ Jahn, the most important values promoted were order and discipline. The British saw sport primarily as a means of developing personality and character, whereas for the Germans, the main goals were a sense of community and national consciousness.The Dutch gymnastics teachers were great advocates of the German style of gymnastics instruction and physical education, and they expressed their dismay at the British sports. In their eyes, these sports were not designed to improve the proper functioning of the body.