Thursday, 21 February 2013

Children: Play vs Exercise

"Childs Play" by Jon Bratseth
I was startled recently after seeing a story on Prime7 News about fitness classes being introduced into some childcare facilities to ensure toddlers are physically active.

It made me think, what is our world coming too? What has happened to the days of children actively playing independently? Whatever happened to self initiated games such as tag and hide and seek that provided many hours entertainment and well as physical activity with children concentrating in finding finding their missing classmate and being none the wiser about the amount of energy they are burning.

Replacing free play time with structured physical activity and dance may be damaging to children both mentally and physically. Free play allows children to develop imaginative skills, sharing and problem solving ability, all of these skills are developed at a young age and become vital life skills. Also children that are slow developing and may not have the rhythm or coordination of their peers may not feel comfortable participating in an organised session and may shy away from the idea of anything associated with physical activity.

In saying this I do understand where the idea is coming come from, yes a group fitness class ensures children are participating in physical activity on a regular basis and yes physical inactivity in children is a huge problem in Australia, and children are participating in physical activity in a fun and safe manner which are all positives. I just feel such classes are unneccesary, by setting up a learning environment that allows children to create their own play while still allowing their imagination to flourish and learning valuable skills from one another is surely a better option. Exercise should not be a chore for children it should be a way of life!

Friday, 15 February 2013

A Coachable Moment

"Coach Boeheim Lays Out a Plan" by MattBritt00
A coachable moment...This is a phrase Keith used in our first practical tutorial and he continues to use it throughout the semester. It is a phrase that has really stuck with me.

What does it mean? I believe it is referring to optimal period of time to covey information to athletes. Opportunities arise during both training and games, it may be during a time out or after a skill has been poorly executed in training. While the skill or play is still fresh in an athletes mind is the perfect opportunity to provide feedback to them.

Working children over the past few years I see what this phrase is referring to and witnessed it on many occasions I guess I just never put a name to this particular period of time nor realised how crucial it was for athlete development. A coach has a very important role in nurturing athletes particularly young athletes to become the best they can be and athletes have faith in their coaches that they will strive to provide the best opportunities for an athlete to excel. So why than would a coach not take advantage of such an opportunity when an athlete is at a heightened state to understand the information, retain it and then practice again.

I believe one of the most important attributes of any coach is to be able to identify these kind of moments and use them to their full advantage to provide the athlete with the best opportunity to master the activity.