One of the saddest conditions for a child to experience is obesity. The discomfort from excess weight and the limitations that obesity causes are difficult to bear. Unfortunately, we are still a society in which this condition affects children more than it should.
We have the education, knowledge, and ability to do better, but childhood obesity persists. While the apparent consequences relating to cosmetic problems like finding appropriate clothing sizes and looking different come to mind, there are other reasons that we need to combat childhood obesity.
It’s difficult to believe that childhood obesity continues to exist as a health problem facing children, but that doesn’t change the fact that it does. We have the education, knowledge, and ability to do better. Parents, teachers, and students in society today must continue to understand and combat any factors that contribute to childhood obesity.
We may not be able to gather in groups right now, but we can make the best of a difficult situation by planning for the day when we can resume our regular activities. While we have this time outside of the usual routine, we can use it to learn new ideas that will come in handy later. As the saying goes, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. We can use this time to our advantage, so we return even stronger and better prepared.
This is an excellent time to practice what you teach. It’s easy to fall into a lull and become inactive without our routines to keep us going, so you may want to take time and reflect on this process to help relate to children who feel similarly. Children who have been without regular exercise for some time may resist movement that pushes them out of their “lull,” their comfort zone. How do you inspire someone to move more when they are resistant or in the habit of staying comfortable? How do you motivate yourself to get up and keep going?
When we’re in the middle of our daily routine, it’s hard to stop and think about these questions. With the slower pace we find ourselves in today, it can be helpful to be reflective and consider new ways to do things. What has worked in the past? What are you looking forward to trying out?
It is vital to keep going, to keep moving. The more we move, the more energy we create, which allows us to be productive. When we move our bodies, the extra blood flow to our brains and the work our muscles do gives us a boost, and we can get more done. Overall, we feel better and more motivated. Our students do, too.
This motivational boost from exercise and fitness makes movement a crucial part of the learning process. With regular movement, children are energized to face the day. Exercise affects a child’s body by influencing sharper thinking and higher frustration tolerances for challenging work. Their bodies are better equipped to manage the stress of learning.
In addition to the effects on their body, exercise makes it easier for children to concentrate. Higher levels of brain chemicals released during exercise improve the brain’s ability to retain information. Memory is improved, and new information is absorbed faster.
As retention is a significant performance indicator for academic success, the ability for exercise to help students absorb and apply knowledge better makes it a vital component to students’ academic progress. If kids’ brains experience activity and perform better in school, then we must create more movement opportunities to help them develop.
For those children without options to move or ways to be active, we need to create opportunities or provide access. The more we expose kids to physical activity, the more they will stay engaged, ideally seeking exercise activities on their own. As they engage in movement activities, kids will begin to understand their bodies and movements, further developing their awareness of their bodies.
Through kinesthetics, the study of body motion, and one’s own ability to move, children can begin to develop this awareness. Classes like Physical Education or after school programs engaging in physical activities are good ways to build children’s perception of their bodies and how they move.
The goal of developing awareness is to give children an appreciation for their ability to move as well as the importance of exercising. When children learn about the way their bodies react to movement, they will be more likely to engage in physical activity on their own.
For children who don’t readily exercise or have not been exposed to the fundamentals of movement and exercise, they don’t develop the concept of movement in quite the same way. For all children, it is more important than ever to include kinesthetics into their curricula so that they can learn the value of movement and how they can be active.
Creating programs that reach kids and help them develop their physical ability requires engagement and variety so that all children can participate and gain these essential skills. Program plans can build confidence and foster a love for exercise by focusing on skill development and fun activities.
As you plan, remember that the objective is to introduce movement, build body awareness, and scaffold to more advanced skills over time. Break down broad concepts into smaller parts that can become games. Repetition builds muscle memory, so look for ways to repeat the skills but with new techniques; think, “same rules, different game.”
As children interact more with movement, they can begin to experience the positive effects of exercise. They learn better. This is the higher purpose of kinesthetics. While life is interrupted in this way, it can be challenging to focus on the future when the present is so uncertain. However, there is hope to be found in plans for the future, so use this time to look ahead. What can you build when everyone comes back together?
As children engage in activities that get them moving, there are significant side effects that participating has on their lives. From better health overall to long-term benefits into adulthood, childhood fitness has some great byproducts beyond just fun.
Fun should be a main driving factor in getting children to participate in physical activity. Having fun with fitness continues to drive motivation for children. However, the following are 20 hard facts about the benefits of incorporating fitness into the lives of youths:
Any one of these would be reason alone to get kids active but imagine the collective advantages that come from all twenty working together. Children will be healthier and stronger, both physically and mentally, for their childhood as well as adulthood.
The healthier we grow as a society, the more we can develop culturally and individually. It’s a benefit to the world we live in when everyone has better health.
The financial costs alone for managing poor health are astronomical, not to mention the tragic loss of lives from preventable diseases or emotional suffering on relationships from the strain of caregiving. All these detract from our quality of life.
As society finds more reasons to be sedentary, from our workplace functions that require sitting at a computer to our advances in technology that make it less necessary to budge from the couch (order dinner, groceries, and clothes, all online!), it’s even more important to get moving early and often. Small movements grow larger over time as fitness transforms body strength and allows more opportunities to handle greater exercise.
While a simple game of catch seems like a small gesture, maybe meant to occupy a child’s attention, the movement does more good than just keeping them busy and having fun for a bit; it has a greater impact on the wellbeing of that child and their place in the world. The simple movements like that game of catch with a ball transform into bigger opportunities to move, like group sports or activities centered on ball play.
The facts of the matter are clear: fitness improves the quality of life, and it’s hard for anyone to argue against that. The sooner we accept our ability to improve life through movement and activity, the better we will feel in life.
Students today experience unparalleled pressure compared to previous generations. The stakes are higher for education and college entrances, a college degree likely won’t be enough preparation for a career, and technology has increased speed and decreased privacy which can be for good but also the bad.
Kids today are under a microscope, held to high standards, and not only expected to outperform their peers but also their past performance. Even kindergarten, when school is supposed to be sweet and fun, has picked up its game. Now, full-day kindergarten combined with much more stringent standards for math, writing, and reading has created a new, more challenging experience.
It all trickles down from the competition for jobs experienced at the end of their academic careers, but that means kids these days push up-hill against academic and life pressures from the very start of school until the finish. It’s hard and arduous, and kids need help. How can we keep students healthy and active so that they succeed in life?
Coping skills for stress are crucial for a successful academic career, but too many children fall into using unhealthy methods. From overeating convenience foods and processed snacks to absorbing themselves in sedentary worlds of too much screen time, kids have options to soothe away the stress that are easy, but often unhealthy.
Children need to recognize the connection between their success and their health. When we choose to exert ourselves and exercise, we create added benefits beyond just weight loss. People who move are more likely to cope with stress better. They will feel stronger because realistically, they are stronger at the biological level, and that will impact their brain. There is a highly identifiable connection between an active lifestyle and improved cognition.
For this generation of children who experience more confined and structured play, they may need to seek out an activity. They may not gravitate to sports or exercise on their own, so it’s best to build in movement and activity within their lifestyle.
For these children, they will benefit from learning skills and ways to be active that they can apply throughout their lives. Instead of choosing a sport to master, children today can learn the fundamental skills required to be active. By breaking down sports into skills, we can provide opportunities to gain the foundation for movement that equip this generation to find and participate in activities throughout life.
When kids enjoy themselves while being active, they are more likely to return to the same activity or springboard to another one. The feeling of accomplishment from participating will motivate and inspire more of the same behavior. As they grow, this sense of enjoyment and accomplishment from exercising will grow, too, so it’s essential to instill the joy of exercise as early as possible rather than coerce kids to move.
No one wants to feel forced into exercise or activity. If kids do feel this way, then they usually abandon the project or task as soon as they feel frustrated or unmotivated. The best way to engage children in an activity is to make it fun so that they feel enjoyment. The overarching goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle that inspires children to seek out exercise and movement. Making the development of skills into a fun experience ultimately helps foster the established goal.
You can get your students to fall in love with the idea and actuality of activity. It requires adults who inspire, motivate, and demonstrate a passion for exercise in such a way that kids see the movement as fun, not fearsome. Children are afraid to fail, and too many children who fear failure will avoid anything that feels too risky. When we break down barriers and create safe places to explore movement, then children will respond.
It’s tough today to break kids out of their comfort zones, primarily the screens that occupy them. Screen time offers safety; when they’re watching television or playing a video game, no one witnesses any failures. We are tasked with convincing these children to learn new skills and take risks in ways that rival the security of a screen.
Adults must provide a level playing field, accessible games, cooperative environments, and consistent reassurance. Having this responsibility can feel like a tall task and may be overwhelming. What can compete against the screens?
Providing programs that exist to build skills using play can break the dependence on screens and create healthy and active students. From the youngest to the oldest child, all children enjoy playing. When you layer in skill development with just enough challenge to keep kids’ interest without intimidating them and provide a supportive environment in which to enjoy movement, then kids finally have a reason to put down their screens.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or www.skillastics.com
(Common Core, Physical Literacy and Standards Based Physical Fitness)
My favorite Skillastics® kit is Tennis Skillastics®. It is no surprise that I have a true passion for Tennis. I am a 28-year veteran High School Tennis Coach and played Tennis myself since I was 8. We as teachers may give our students the opportunity to learn and play tennis. Like anything else, the more skilled students become the more they will enjoy the sport. It is an activity, which may be played throughout their lives. It may be played at any level, gender or age. Teaching Tennis in school has never been a question for me, with or without a court. I have seen the bonds made between families and friends, which has such an amazing impact on their lives. Tennis stimulates the mind, body and emotions. It involves cooperative engagement as well as skill development. Tennis decreases the risk of chronic illness, increases social skills, improves mental focus, and discipline. Participating in tennis activities is an excellent way to relieve stress.
Skillastics® works on skills while increasing MVPA in a game situation. It works well for a warm-up/fitness lesson in a Sport Education Season or as a full lesson.
My favorite way to use Tennis Skillastics® is to divide students into teams as in a Sport Education Unit. Students must first learn the terminology, skill and fitness task for the game. This may be done within their teams covering a few skills/terms each day. When using the Sport Education model teams will be awarded points for fair play, fitness, warm-up, completion and order of finish. This is a great activity due to the fact that students are responsible for their own learning and what a great way to include the standards. Using stations may add a common core component and make students responsible for their own learning. Students work together to improve skills and knowledge needed to live a healthy lifestyle.
Secondary Stations for Tennis Skillastics®
1. Teams begin with their home base station grid.
2. Read the task card and perform the skill together. This could be considered a common core/physical literacy activity. Students are responsible for their own learning.
3. Perform each station for a time limit. (Example: 3 miinutes each station) When the music stops (using Tabata Pro) move to the next station.
4. Continue until all stations have been completed.
After completing the stations, students will remain with their teams for a fun Skillastics® game. Teams send a player to the mat to roll the die and get the number of the activity to be performed. Students are given the level to participate for the game activity. The game may be played for a time limit or when one team gets around the mat once or twice.
If you would like more information on ways to incorporate Tennis Skillastics® into your curriculum feel free to contact me at email@example.com or view my website at charlaphysed.com.
Bottom line. “Love what you do and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Recently I’ve been receiving e-mails from athletes confiding in me that they have lost their self-confidence. They were doing so well and then it seems like they can’t do anything correctly on the basketball court. They wonder, “What went wrong?,” “How can this happen when I was doing so well?”
First of all, I’m here to tell you this happens to EVERYONE! All the greatest athletes in the world have felt this way at some point in their lives. “Slumps” are a normal part of athletics. The key is how you handle that slump and what steps you take to get yourself out of it! Below I’ve outlined some steps to take in order to get out of a slump and build your self-confidence back. Whether you’re worried about making a team, or just feel like you’re in a slump with your practicing — applying these steps will help you regain that self-confidence and get you back on track.
1) Recognize that ALL athletes have slumps. If you understand that this is a part of being an athlete, you won’t think, “Something’s wrong with me.”
2) You can grow strength and confidence out of physical hardship, frustration, deprivation and failure. Recognize these uncomfortable situations for the CONFIDENCE-DEVELOPING opportunities they are and seize them. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”
3) Physical Preparation. The foundation of confidence is neither glamorous nor mysterious. It’s boring, grueling, dirty, and monotonous. It hurts and it is very lonely. It requires constant sacrifice. If you want to feel like champion, then start training like one. Your secret to self-confidence is a four letter word: WORK.
4) Strengthen Your Weaknesses. Everyone loves to practice something they are good at. Because we succeed. The true test of a person’s character is if they work on their weaknesses. For instance, if you are really good at dribbling with your right hand and terrible at dribbling with your left hand, start practicing dribbling with that left hand. Before you know it, you’ll build confidence in using that left hand.
5) Set Up Your Training Environment to Boost Self-Confidence. Motivational signs should be up in your bedroom, reminding you to stay focused and help keep you motivated. My book, Off The Rim: Thoughts and Observations of the Game, was written for this purpose. Just reminding and reinforcing all the positive things about basketball. If you have a favorite saying or poem, hang it up in your bedroom or in your locker. Read it every night. Surround yourself with positive things!
6) Catch Yourself Doing Things Right. Keep track of all the gains you’ve made in your journey toward your ultimate goal. By focusing on the things you’re doing right, instead of dwelling on the things you’re doing wrong, you will begin to see that you have, AND are making progress.
*Some information excerpted from Sports Slump Busting by Alan S. Goldberg
How’s your basketball unit going? Ready to try something new? Here is an activity that integrates basketball fundamentals, basketball terminology and spelling in one! First, Copy each of the 26 letters of the alphabet on 26, 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets of paper. If possible, laminate each sheet.
Copy each of the 42 basketball definitions on a piece of paper (see below)
Scatter all 26 letters throughout the playing area. Place a Basketball Skillastics® Task Card under each of the 26 scattered letters.
Scatter the 42 basketball definitions in an area away from the letters.
Every child has a basketball or a ball that bounces.
On the signal, each student retrieves a basketball definition, reads the definition and remembers the word associated with the definition. The child can either place the definition back down on the floor or take it with them.
The objective is then to spell the word. When he or she finds the letter (dribbling the ball to that letter), they look at the Basketball Skillastics® Task Card under that letter.
The student does the activity the number of repetitions that were determined prior to play (blue, red or green). When the student completes the repetitions, he or she then searches for the next letter in the word they are spelling.
When a student finishes spelling the word, they jog back to the “word definition” area, replacing the last word spelled and retrieves another basketball term to spell and repeats the process.
The length of play is determined by the instructor.
o Each team is told to spell a word (each team has a different word, but has the same amount of letters in the words. For example, assist and center).
o The first team to spell the word first and dribble to a designated area, wins.
Assist – A pass to a teammate who scores a basket immediately or after one dribble.
Air Ball – An unblocked shot that fails to hit the rim or backboard.
Alley Oop – An offensive play in which a player throws the ball up near the basket to a teammate who jumps, catches the ball in mid air and immediately scores a basket.
Backboard – The rectangular platform behind the rim that supports it.
Backcourt – The half of the court a team is defending. The opposite of frontcourt.
Bank Shot – A shot that hits the backboard before hitting the rim or going through the net.
Baseline – The line that marks the playing boundary at either end of the court. Also called the “end line”.
Block – To tip or deflect a shooter’s shot, altering its flight so the shot misses.
Carry – A penalty when an offensive player is deemed to have held the ball excessively while dribbling. Also referred to as palming.
Chest Pass – The ball is passed from the chest
Center – one of the three standard player positions. Centers are generally the tallest players on the floor.
Double-Dribble – To dribble the ball with two hands at the same time.
Dribble – To bounce the ball continuously with one hand.
Dunk – to score by putting the ball directly through the basket with one or both hands.
Fast Break – An offensive tactic in which a team attempts to advance the ball and score as quickly as possible.
Field Goal – A shot made from anywhere on the court, does not include free throws.
Forward – One of the three standard player positions. Forwards are primarily responsible for scoring and rebounding.
Foul – Violations of the rules.
Free Throw – An unopposed attempt to score a basket, worth one point, from the free throw line.
Granny Shot – An underhand shot taken using both hands, usually as a free throw.
Guard – One of the three standard player positions. Guards have strong ball-handling and passing skills and are typically used to run the offense.
Halftime – The end of the first of play. The interval between the two halves.
Jump Shot – An overhead shot taken while jumping.
Key – The free-throw lane.
Lay – Up – A close-range shot using one hand to bank the ball off the backboard.
Man-to-Man Defense – A defense in which each player guards a single opposing player.
Offensive Foul – A foul committed by a member of the team playing offense.
Overtime – When the score is tied at the end of regulation play, the teams play a five-minute overtime period.
Palming – Referring to the habit of an offensive player to hold the ball under the ball while dribbling. It is a violation.
Pass – To throw the ball to a teammate.
Pivot Foot – The foot that must remain touching the floor to avoid traveling.
Post Up – To go in or near the key, turn so that you are facing away from the basket towards a teammate who has the ball, and try to establish position to receive a pass.
Rebound – to obtain the ball after a missed field goal attempt.
Set Shot – A shot taken without leaving the floor.
Shot Clock – A timer designed to increase the pace by requiring the ball to either touch the rim or enter the basket before the timer expires, resulting in a loss of possession.
Sixth Man – A player who does not start, but is generally the first person off the bench.
Swish – A shot which goes through the net without hitting the backboard or rim.
Technical Foul – A foul assessed for unsportsmanlike non-contact behavior.
Three-Pointer – A shot, worth three points, attempted with both feet behind the three point line.
Travel – To move one’s pivot foot illegally.
Turnover – A loss of possession.
Violation – An infraction of the rules other than a foul, such as traveling or a three-second violation.
Zone Defense – A defense in which each player is responsible for a section of the court to defend.
The team roster is posted. You quickly glance at the paper, hoping your name is there… Coach said he or she would call if you made the team. So you hang around the phone hoping you’ll get “the call”… Sometimes your name is on that list, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you get “the call,” sometimes it never comes.
Whatever experience you may have, the bottom line is trying out for a basketball team is stressful. All you want to do is your best, and hopefully show the coach that you deserve a spot on that team. What can you do to stand out? What will give you the edge? What does the coach really look for?
The logical answer of course is your skill level. Can you play the game? This is the number one factor. But I have known athletes who were excellent basketball players, and didn’t make the team. Why not? Because of their attitude. After skill, having a positive attitude is the second most important factor in determining whether you make the team. Attitude is everything. If you really want to make the team, take a good look at yourself to determine your attitude under the following conditions:
1) You turn the ball over or miss a shot. Do you:
A. Get mad at yourself
B. “Shake it off” and quickly get down the floor and play defense.
2) The referee calls a foul on you that you feel is unfair. Do you:
A. Argue with the ref
B. Accept the call, realizing referees can make mistakes and that it’s just a part of the game.
3) You accidentally knock an opponent down. When play stops do you:
A. Walk right pass the person you knocked down
B. Do you help them up.
4) Your teammate just gave you a great pass. Do you:
A. Ignore that teammate, thinking it’s about time I get the ball
B. Do you “high five” your teammate, thanking him or her for the pass.
5) A timeout is called. Do you:
A. Take your time walking to the sidelines
B. Run to the sidelines to hear what your coach has to say.
If you answered B on all the questions, you’ve got a great attitude. If you answered A to any of the questions, take a moment and think about how you can change your attitude to make it better.
Other Factors coaches look for in determining whether you make the team:
1) Get to tryouts early. Don’t show up late.
2) Ask the Coach if he or she needs any help (sweeping the floor, getting the basketballs out, etc…)
3) Before tryouts start, don’t goof around with your friends trying to shoot the ball from as far away from the basket as possible. This is the time to warm up. Work on your skills.
4) Always look at the Coach when he or she is speaking. Not paying attention will not sit well with the Coach.
5) Run, don’t walk to the next drill. Coaches like to see hustle all the time.
6) If you don’t make the team, ask the coach what things you need to work on to help you make the team next year.
7) Have fun!
With an increased focus on test scores, most if not all special area teachers (don’t you love being “special” J ) are being required to show how academic content is included in their lessons. I heard a quote at a conference once that really stuck with me and I use it often because it helps us with this challenge. The quote was “I don’t teach other academic areas, I integrate them”. It’s not difficult for us to find ways to integrate academics into our lessons and still keep the focus on our physical education standards and objectives. On the other hand, with the focus on increasing physical activity during the school day, it’s a great opportunity for us to help classroom teachers see how they can integrate movement into their lessons. Here are just a few examples of how this can work as a two way street!
Reading Common Core Standard, Grades 3-5: Describe relationships and explain events, procedures, ideas or concepts in a scientific or technical way.
Skillastics® Resource: Fitness Skillastics® and Fitness Extreme Skillastics® Activity Kits
Skillastics® Lesson Application Example: Give students a 3 x 5 card and ask them to look at the mat and select one activity that can be done to help improve a specific fitness component. The student must give one reason they think the activity will improve that fitness component.
Mathematics Common Core Standard, Grade K: Identify and describe shapes.
Skillastics® Resource: Halfpint Skillastics® Activity Kit
Skillastics® Lesson Application Example: As students roll the shape die, ask them to call out the name of the shape that the die lands on.
Classroom Integration Activity Idea for Reading Integration:
“Teacher, Teacher”: Give a copy of the task cards to classroom teachers. The teacher has students work in small groups and each group has one task card. Each group reads the directions, practices the activity and then demonstrates it for the rest of the class. This can be done to help students review the activities for that specific activity kit and also helps the teachers learn the activities as well as giving students an opportunity to practice reading and comprehension.
Classroom Integration Activity Idea for Math Integration:
“Roll ‘Em”: Students work with a partner for this activity, with each group having a pair of die. On the signal, they roll the die and then find the “answer” based on what is designated (add them together, multiply them, subtract them, multiply the total by 2, etc.). The teacher calls out one of the Skillastics® activities and the students do that activity the number of times of their “answer”.
Remember, you aren’t “teaching” academics; you are “integrating” academics while you teach physical education!
Happy New Year! What a wonderful time to recommit yourself to becoming the basketball player you know you can become! And it’s really so simple, something you, and only you can do…that’s practice. The key is not how much time you spend practicing, it’s how you spend that time. So many times I’ve seen young athletes practicing with good intentions; however, the way they practice is completely wrong. And what they end up doing is developing bad habits (which are so hard to break). Why not practice all the basketball fundamentals the RIGHT way, so you won’t have to spend so much time later correcting them?
So, with this idea in mind, I want to talk a little bit about becoming an Offensive Threat. And the way you become an Offensive Threat is to develop into a fundamentally solid player. One of the unique and exciting features of basketball is that all players handle the ball. No matter what position you play, you must dribble, pass, shoot, and rebound.
The best way to prepare you to gain your first offensive advantage once you have the ball is to start in the triple threat position. You can use this position to become an offensive threat in three ways — passing, shooting, or driving to the basket. The option you choose depends on the defense and how your opponents are playing you. And the key is reading your defense and being able to react immediately in one of three ways.
Putting the Triple Threat to Work
Once you make a decision to pass, shoot, or drive, you must execute your option.
How do you teach the Triple Threat Position? Help others by sharing your comments below.