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Coaches' Weekly Blog

Headteacher's feedback on this week's blog:

"Wow Chris, made a fantastic read. Didn't know you were challenging the kids like that but so pleased. You know me and food and the change to pupils when diet and exercise is improved. If schools have behaviour issues they need to look at these two factors first. Keep up the good work, you should be proud of your impact on Cumbrian pupils. Our schools would be a very different place without this. Thanks."

Week 21 - 12 March 2018
Chris Wright

Physical Education and Sport at forefront of developing adults of the future

"Millennials don't stay very long in jobs" Robin Koval

"Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion and Pluck Take you from Ordinary to Extraordinary" Title of Robin Koval book.

Since Christmas in Victoria Junior School, Workington, I have been taking time out of the PE lesson to deliver our Endurance Run. In the initial weeks we were aiming to support every Year 5 and 6 child to run 2 minutes without stopping. People outside of this sector might be shocked to hear this was a daunting and difficult task for some children. However we are now 10 weeks down the line and with perseverance and support from me, grit and passion from the children, they are now loving their running, extending the time weekly and loving telling me about the extra running they are doing in their own time.

Success in PE and Sport will never be instant, you have to work consistently hard. Another reason why I believe it should be used so much more in society with so many more people.

Rob Jefferson

Why is a demonstration so important?

In this week's tennis lessons, in my Allerdale schools, we were working on the ready position. In previous weeks we developed the technique to play forehand and backhand shots. This week the children tried to remember that technique when playing a mixture of both shots. This then led into mini matches which produced some great rallies!

I always find that children find this week the most challenging when teaching tennis. This is because children don't know which side the ball is coming to them on. They have to try to remember the correct technique for whichever side the ball bounces on. This ends up with them having to process a lot of information in a short space of time (before the ball bounces twice).

According to Atkinson and Shiffrin (1971) short term memory lasts for 15-30 seconds. In order to transfer the technique to long term memory I believe a good demonstration is vital. This is so children can get a good picture of what they need to do to be able to perform the skills correctly. I also back up the demonstration with clear teaching points. I try to make the teaching points meaningful so that children understand why it's important to do something. For example bring the racket back straight away, so it gives them as much time as possible and are therefore not rushing the shot. Finally I ask questions to see if they can remember the information before they can practice the skill shown. Depending on how the class gets on I might stop and re-demonstrate. This week can be frustrating but definitely rewarding once the skills are engrained.

Ross McGuire

Importance of Creative Leaders and Creative Children

After another great week in schools, I have managed to think of new sessions and test out new ideas. I challenged myself last week to try and create 3 new lesson ideas or games with different ideas and practice different skills in the process. Being creative in your lessons is the fun part and it helps to gain new ideas, challenges and skills for future lessons/activities. It's not always about being creative as a coach, I also learn so much from the creativity of kids and the ideas they bring to the games when I give them the chance to be creative.

Follow the link to reasons why being creative is so important in coaching:

My Challenges

Firstly I was asked to help the kids at Allonby school by coaching some Tri-golf, which I had done before at Chance Camp but never in a school. So a lesson plan was written up to teach the children the basics of golf and the rules of playing. This lesson worked really well and the children were fully engaged into practising and completing challenges set.

My second challenge was to try and get kids to stay in games whilst still gaining points for their team rather than having kids who are out due to the traditional rules set. So during an after school dodge ball game at St Gregory's I came up with a system so that each player collected a cone after being hit, this meant no player was out and came straight back into the game. The winner was identified by having the least cones.

My final session was my Active Families session based at Fairfield School on Saturday morning. The challenge for me was to try and find different ways of using the same skill and to practice the skill at different levels and in different ways. Knowing this I tried to engage the kids by making the skill progressively harder and using benches to move the ball along rather than just on the floor. The kids being 2-4 years old meant that the activities needed to be engaging, fun but needed to move on quickly as they can lose concentration a lot quicker. This creativity and progressing the challenge, moving to a bench, kept them interested and ensured the skill could be consolidated with a helping hand from mum and dad.

Amy Lawless

Psychological Benefits of Physical Activity

Most of us know that being physically active is good for our health, it helps build our strength, improve our cardiovascular system and prevent chronic disease, but how much do we know about the effects physical activity has on children's psychological wellbeing?

Research has shown direct links between physical health and mental health in childhood and adult life, highlighting a positive correlation between physical activity and a sense of psychological wellbeing. The more active a child is during their early years increases the likelihood of them being active throughout their whole life. Children exposed to sport and physical activity at a young age develop an understanding of social skills faster than their non-active peers, we call this social capital.

A high sense of social capital leads children to have a greater understanding of others, builds relationships/friendships, improves social skills, social acceptance and inclusion, creates an understanding of right and wrong and reduces the likelihood of the child being involved in crime/juvenile delinquency.

Along with an increase in social capital regular physical activity in childhood can lead to an increase in emotional capital. Emotional capital refers to improvements in how we feel about ourselves, this can include rises in self-esteem, self-efficacy (our belief that we can succeed), body image and intrinsic motivation. By increasing our sense of emotional capital we can help the prevention/treatment of stress, depression and anxiety.

As a coach who wants to help develop healthy and happy individuals creating an optimum environment for development is key, the use of play in physical activity can help children and young people to reach key development milestones and promote the adoption of healthy physical activity behaviours throughout their lives. I have just teamed up with Jen Benbow a local nutrition expert and can't wait to get out into local schools and organisations to promote physical activity and the need to fuel our bodies accordingly.

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