Coaches' Weekly Blog Archives
Week 20 - 5 March 2018

It was with pleasure we teamed up with Jen Benbow to deliver a health education week for all the pupils at Seaton Junior St Pauls School. As we strive to engage and enthuse children to be more active it's vital we also educate the children on the amount of foods and drink required to support this lifestyle. It was a great week at Seaton and we hope to get the opportunity to work with Jen again in further schools and groups.

Jen Benbow

Recently I had the pleasure of delivering nutrition sessions at Seaton Junior School, years 3 - 6.

I was pleased with the high level of engagement I experienced with each of the year groups, all inquisitive and asking questions. The groups already showed some understanding of the topics we covered which included, good sources of protein, the 5 food groups and some bad foods such as sweets. They were also able to demonstrate some knowledge of vegetables, fruits and carbohydrates.

The groups were enthusiastic about learning new facts, such as the fact that crisps and chocolate are not unlimited food sources even though crisps are made from potatoes as one group argued and chocolate had dairy in it.
The groups thrived during the engaging activities we delivered, becoming more enthusiastic as they learnt more facts about nutrition and how it relates to their snack & drink choices as well as meals prepared by their families.

Some of the comments that stuck with me from the week, from the children and highlights the need for nutritional education:

  • One child mentioned that often she would ask for fruit however her parents would offer her sweets when out as they were easier to pick up.

  • Fizzy sugary drinks are okay to drink regularly as they give you a boost of energy, especially diet drinks as they have no added sugar.

  • Many children only knew a few common vegetables such as carrots, peas & broccoli. A vast majority had never hear of spinach or kale.

  • Many of the children, although not knowing many vegetables, did know that they could be eaten regularly.

  • Many students understood the effects of what fat does to the body, such things cause obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

  • Students quickly picked up on what foods worked well with the body before and after activity, which we were able to relate to the activity sessions they took part in.

3 Top Tips for Family Nutrition

  1. Make meal time a learning time, talk about the colours and shapes of foods ask where their food comes from, for example animals, trees, underground, from the sea. Even which parts of the world foods come from.

  2. Don't eat in from of the TV, this will allow you to slow down your eating, concentrate on smaller bites, chewing food thoroughly and being able to have your food digest properly.

  3. Meal plan so you know what your making for each meal, how that fits in with your schedule, meaning you can cook and freeze food for those busy nights.

After my week in school it was clear to me that there is work to be done to further educate the students and their parents on the benefits of good nutrition. My thoughts on our nutrition is that we take it for granted and instead of utilizing the healthy foods we have available, which do need prep and cooking, as a nation we tend to choose something processed and/or prepared, which is often easier and quicker.

If we are able to educate children and their parents they will in turn be able to make better educated decisions about their food and drink choices and how these can affect their health in the short and long term.

Week 19 - 26 February 2018
Chris Wright

What makes a good coach?

A person who tries to fulfil a number of roles well and is flexible enough in their approach to ensure as many people as possible benefit from their delivery.

A good coach will:

  • have excellent knowledge of the content they are delivering

  • use different communication methods to engage all

  • use different delivery styles to reach the same outcome

  • will be very persistence and install physical skills

  • will ensure the core values of their organisation are at the forefront of their actions

  • will be a motivator, a reliable person, a psychologist, a first aider

  • and many more roles as and when are required

A good coach will always say the right things at the right times, a good coach will know what makes their team/athlete tick, a good coach will have a long term goal but will adapt on the short and medium term plans to suit their team/athlete. A good coach will be RESPECTED by the team/athlete and will ensure their participants gain success, enjoy what they are doing and want to come back for more.

Should a coach care about winning, teaching or giving everyone the chance to play?

All three are interlinked and will change depending on the situation. Within team sports when talking about juniors, it is vital that good teaching/coaching is provided to ensure all players have a chance to play and understand how to win and lose (performance and reaction). At a senior level, although winning becomes more of a focus, this philosophy should not change with the coach ensuring the whole squad are of a high standard and can contribute to a winning season.

Rob Jefferson

What makes a good coach?

A lot of coaches have their own style when teaching. However we all have the same aims. That is to inspire children to play and enjoy sport. I believe all good coaches have the following qualities.

One is knowledge. A coach needs to have an in-depth knowledge of the sport they are teaching, so that they can pass on the correct technique when teaching the fundamental skills needed to play the sport. They also need to understand the tactics and strategies needed in order to be successful when playing the sport.
A coach also needs to have really good communication skills. This is really important when expressing ideas to athletes, giving feedback, or reinforcing key points in order for them to improve their performance. I think all coaches need to be enthusiastic during their teaching. Having a positive attitude can rub off on an athlete and inspire them to excel in their sport. A final quality that I think is important is being creative. Completing the same activities/ drills all the time can become tedious for an athlete so I think a coach needs to have lots of different ideas in order to keep training fresh and athletes motivated.

Should a coach care about most: winning, teaching, or giving everyone a chance to play?

Personally for me, winning isn't everything. Don't get me wrong it's great to see children that I teach be successful in their sports, however I believe it's more important that children are having fun when learning or competing and are motivated to improving their skills. Even though winning isn't vital for me as a coach, I still try to drive and motivate the children I teach to want to win.

I also think it's very important that everyone gets a chance to play. Nobody should ever be excluded or turned away from playing sport. I think that athletes should be competing/ learning in groups that are of a similar standard to themselves. This can help drive athletes to want to improve and get better and also to not get disheartened if they're constantly getting beat.

Ross McGuire

What makes a good coach?

I believe a good coach should always ask questions of the participants they are coaching and challenge them during each session or game. Challenges are the best way for children to keep practising a skill that they might find boring. Everything that is being coached during a game or exercise shouldn't be easy and should keep their attention focused on the activity. Always asking questions gets the children thinking about the skill or task and may be able to pick up pointers if they are struggling.

A good coach should also be safe, have the correct equipment and the correct coaching badges and certificates. There are many checks that need to be done in order to coach children, DBS check, Safeguarding and who is the safeguarding officer in case of an issue, equipment checks and area checks etc.

A good coach should encourage the children in everything they do; if a coach doesn't encourage and give praise then the children will not stay on task and make them feel good about themselves for completing the task or at least try to complete it.

Should a coach care about winning, teaching or giving everyone the chance to play?

I believe that all of these aspects are important depending on the circumstances. If there was a competition and the team was close to winning I believe sending a strong team is very important as this is to challenge the best players in a difficult scenario. If the team was playing in a friendly or in a game towards the start of the season I believe this is a chance to be able to play everyone to learn about the strong aspects of all players and find things that need focused on in training. Each player will have different strengths and weaknesses. When the children are younger the basics are the most important things to learn as they will become natural when they get older. Teaching and learning should always be on the coach's mind, if this isn't on any coach's mind then the players and the coach wont get any better.

Week 18 - 19 February 2018
Chris Wright

This week our blog takes a different format with our coaches answering the following question:

What do you think is the most important reason in the decline of children's outdoor play?

"Play is fundamental to children's happiness and well being, and the evidence shows that it is also influential in their health and future life chances. If children's opportunities for play are restricted there are likely to be profound effects on their life experience in general and more specifically on their physical and mental health."
(Play England 2011)

The Fundamental change in children's outdoor play is the perception of the adult that the outdoors is not a SAFE place for them to be. Children will always play but adults must provide this time and space to allow it to happen.

I remember in the 1990s growing up on the edge of Cockermouth spending whole days and sometimes even a night out in the woods building dens, building dams in the river to create swimming spaces and playing hours and hours of unstructured sports on the streets and in the fields. I am determined to ensure my children get the same opportunity but quite evidently you don't see anywhere near the same amount of kids OUT PLAYING at nights, at the weekends or during the holidays.

Answering the question posed, I believe its down to the two perceptions of adults:

  1. Independent play in the community is not safe due to the risk of child abduction

  2. Don't allow children to play on the streets or grassed areas as they will create trouble or damage.

Studies have been completed which show the above are major concerns, which is no surprise with the 24 hour news, huge media exposure to child abduction cases. In reality, the number of child abduction cases remains low and children are far more likely to be harmed by a trusted adult in a private setting than a stranger in the local community. As an adult who lives on a town street, with parked cars, we encourage our children out and ensure they have the respect to watch our for neighbours, look after their property etc. Schools do a great job in their education of stranger danger and our children should be provided with the opportunity for independent self guided play in the great outdoors. We have our boundaries set and I hope they are able to get out and fully explore the environment and fantastic childhood experiences within these boundaries.

Rob Jefferson

As a child I spent most of my free time playing sport. However my best times I had as a child was playing outside with friends. I used to love going on bike rides, making dens, climbing trees and having water fights. However this is something that I don't really see anymore. A recent study suggests 75% of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates.

This half term break I asked some children what they got up to during their week off and they all responded with Xbox. I think children can get an easy enjoyment playing computer games without having to use much effort to do so. The same poll suggests that children spend twice as long playing on a computer screen than playing outdoors.
A lot of people argue that children don't have the same opportunities to play outside as previous generations had. However looking from where I've been brought up, children now have the same opportunities that I had. The only thing that has changed in my view is the advances made in computer games and technology.

Ross McGuire

I feel there are many reasons as to why there is a decline in outdoor play. My first reason is social media, it is far easier to get into contact with peers over social media apps rather than going round to see them or playing out at the park. This kills kids' confidence and social skills. Secondly, parents have a massive influence on how kids play -  which is easier putting an iPad in front of them or taking them to a park with a friend? Often parents need a quick solution to a kid's problem and putting them on their favourite game solves nearly everything. Due to this kids become lazy and less socially active which hinders them in future life. Finally I believe fear is a problem, with the media stories of kidnappings and other disgusting acts with kids. Sending a child out on their own or with a friend can sound like a daunting prospect as you have no control over what your child is up to or who they are with, this is part of a child's learning process towards the end of their KS2 phase as they are more likely to walk by themselves to and from school.

Week 17 - 10 February 2018
Chris Wright

A dog's life
It is well known in general, dogs lead a happy and healthy life. They enjoy an active lifestyle with a balance of rest ultimately resulting in happiness. In turn, this makes them resilient to illnesses, such as colds, coughs, and fever. Dogs enjoy social interaction and take pride in the relationships they develop. They have no interest in seeking money and power and therefore feel less stressed and tense at work and in their home life.

At Wright Sport Services and Chance Camp we are firm believers in developing programmes which ensure the dog's best friend (us human beings) prioritise health and activity. As we race through 2018, we now have the following programmes in place:

  • School PE and Sport

  • Coaching Programmes for Key Stage 1 & 2

  • Developing sport volunteers - Playtime Leader's Course

  • School Sport Competitions and Whole School Sport Days

  • Health & Physical Activity workshops

  • School Holiday Gifted and Talented Provision

  • School Holiday Sport Programmes - Chance Camp

  • Active Families, sessions to promote family sport

  • Active Business, sessions to promote activity within the workplace.

Chris, Rob, Ross and Amy look forward to leading an active and happy 2018 to all who join us and we are keen to hear from any organisations or families interested in our services.

Rob Jefferson

As it was the final week of the half term, all of my P.E. lessons were based on competitions. This was to give the children an opportunity to put the skills they've been learning into practise. In my SSP schools and Silloth Primary we held mini tennis tournaments. In Dean we had Quicksticks hockey matches. And in St Bridget's we had gymnastic routine performances. All of the children did a superb job and it was great to see how the children have progressed with their skills throughout the weeks.

As a child playing sport, I loved entering tennis/badminton competitions and playing in football matches. I loved the feeling of achievement after victories. Although I was disappointed when I experienced defeats, it didn't stop me wanting to compete.

I read that more than half of primary schools now hold non competitive sports days that fail to announce winners. This is so children don't have to face the disappointment of getting beaten.

I believe competition is important as it provides children with the motivation to achieve a goal. In life children will face different kinds of obstacles and challenges to overcome. Competition allows children to demonstrate determination, creativity and perseverance to overcome that challenge.

Chance Camp returns this week at Netherhall. In the mornings we will be practising the skills required to compete in the afternoon sport competitions. The perfect environment to learn these skills. We still have spaces available. For those interested - just turn up on the day.

Ross McGuire

That's another term over, opening up to a different feel for my half term week at work with my new Active Saturday morning club starting up and leading a Chance Camp for KS1 children around the Cockermouth area, both being held at Fairfield school.

My new Saturday morning club is aiming at bringing children together with their parents, practising and learning new skills and ideas aimed at improving coordination, balance and agility. It also gives the parents ideas on how to coach their kids using specific movements and helping them understand the benefits of exercise at such a young age. The first session was a Jungle Journey, which tried to get the children pretending to be their favourite animals that could be found in and around the world. Trying to identify how each animal acts, sounds and moves. Using their body to stretch as tall as a giraffe or slither like a snake which they might not initially practice in life. Next week is a stability and balance session which will focus on how well the children can keep steady on wobbly and challenging equipment. To book on to the next session please use the link below.

The new Chance Camp is to start this week on the 14th February and is to provide the Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children in the Cockermouth area. This will be a 2 hour session which will include many different activities in order to improve and learn new skills through games. I believe children learn most during games, as practising a skill through a drill doesn't always get the best results as it's not performed under pressure and in different scenarios. Each game can be different as children always have different ways to perform in games using creativity and awareness. These are two of the main aspects I use from a program my rugby coaching and the RFU have brought forward called CARDS which highlights the main learning points for children in rugby. These are Creativity, Awareness, Resilience, Decision making and Self Organisation. All of these together are opening children's mind as to what is important in rugby as well as all of the basic core skills. During these Chance Camps I will use these aspects to try and create a fun environment whilst learning and thinking during the games. Please look on the page if you would like to book your children onto the camp.

Amy Lawless

My First Half-Term at Wright Sports Services and Chance Camp
This week marked the end of my first half term as a member of the Wright Sports Services team. Today's blog post is a roundup of some of the activities that I have been a part of during the past 5 weeks.

Eaglesfield-Paddle School Dodgeball Club:
This week we finished a highly successful 5 week block of afterschool dodgeball with the club growing in attendance each week. The children got to try out playing different games that helped develop their catching, throwing, movement and teamwork skills that were then applied to mini dodgeball tournaments each week. The children have progressed well over the 5 weeks, working well with children of different ages that they may not usually play with, showing maturity, teamwork, care for others and great communication skills, all allowing us to play some high quality dodgeball matches.

Seaton Juniors Gymnastics programme:
During the programme so far we have been trying to incorporate some science into our gymnastic lessons. We have discussed the importance of a warm up and the effects it has on the body, the role of core stability and how our muscles help us to move, the importance of protecting our necks and spines when we perform gymnastic movements and even investigated our centre of gravity when performing balances. This week the children worked in small groups working with different apparatus as they moved around a circuit. At each station children had to use the apparatus provided to create a themed group routine, the themes were a warm up routine, with a focus on stretching and raising their pulse, the second routine was based around flexibility and the third focused on strength. Over the past 5 weeks all children have really impressed me, they show high levels of creativity, are starting to grow in confidence and are working well as teams.

Victoria Infants School Year 1 Physical Education:
Year 1 children have been working on their coordination and ball games this half-term, learning the different ways to pass a ball, catching and movement/spatial awareness. It has been great to see the children progress each week to be able to now play some small sided invasion games based around benchball and netball. It has also been rewarding to see some of these children picked by the school to take part in the multi-skills festival at Lakes College this week where they were able to show off some of the skills they had been working hard at to develop.

Healthy Movers at Seaton Academy:
This half-term I have run 6 Healthy Movers sessions with reception and nursery children at Seaton Academy, developing physical literacy in early years children. The programme has been a huge success with all children engaging well with every challenge they were set. The programme is helping to nurture the whole child through games based to develop the children's physical abilities as well as their cognitive development in an environment that is fun and friendly. We will be continuing to work with Nursery children during the next half-term to develop their agility, balance and coordination skills further.

This half term has been great and I look forward to seeing what the second half of the term provides!

Week 16 - 4 February 2018
Chris Wright

This has been another fantastic week with my own teaching going very well, with some excellent results. As importantly great feedback on the work of my other coaches as well.

This week's focus is to review why we chose to be a PE teacher/Sports coach.

From an early age I have loved competition and at times needed to be taught lessons on how to deal with winning and losing. Once learnt I loved the thrill of winning and on the other side working out why I had lost. In my home time I was lucky enough to have four quality clubs and coaches who supported me to reach sporting potential. Cockermouth Swimming Club (Cumbria Honours), Cockermouth Water Polo (North of England trials) Cockermouth Rugby Union (England Trials) and Cockermouth Rugby League (Semi Professional contract offer).

These experiences made me decide to study Sport and Business Management at University alongside my rugby career at Sale Sharks/Manchester Rufc. Unfortunately serious injury led to my retirement from the game at 22 years old and a quick decision to get back to West Cumbria and start my next career in the area of school sport. My driving desire for this work is to try and keep providing opportunities for our young people to help them be competitive, learn important lifelong skills and be directed to a sporting pathway which will help them reach their full sporting potential.

My teaching highlight of the week was with 5 Ennerdale at Victoria Juniors in Workington. After 5 weeks of attempting the endurance award set which required all class mates to complete without walking they finally managed it. This was down to the more able children showing fantastic teamwork and running around with the less able children providing additional support. This is the core to sport and I hope to be able to continue proving that additional support to school children for years to come.


Ross McGuire

Why did I choose to be a PE teacher and sports coach?

I chose a career in sports coaching because when I was younger I loved playing sport and trying to get better. Now when coaching I can use the skills i gained throughout my childhood and adolescence with my main focus trying to get children to enjoy playing sport and to educate the children about how important it can be for life skills and development for the future.

Whist finishing at college I realised that coaching would be the perfect option for me, everything about the coaching modules brought me out of myself and started feeling really confident talking in front of people which was a big step for me as I used to hate it. This lead me to applying for my university degree in sport, again another big step for me as I had never even considered going to further myself in life. There I thrived and loved the environment and learning around many people who had the same interests as me, from then onward I knew coaching was definitely the path for me and I have never looked back.

My Coaching highlight for the week:

This was very hard as there were lots of moments this week that really impressed me. During my last sessions of the week at Fairfield we were practising our tennis skills and had moved onto returning the ball over a net. Before the session most of the class couldn't return the serve, however by the end everyone managed to hit at least one good shot over the net and into the court by understanding how to hold the racket and to use one hand instead of two. The timing was also very crucial, the main coaching point I gave was to hit the ball when it's towards the top of its bounce as this is when it's at its slowest and they really started to understand the best way to play.

Amy Lawless

Why I chose to be a PE teacher/sports coach and my highlight of the week.

Throughout my whole life I have always had an interest in sport and exercise, whether that be taking part or spectating. My earliest memories are from when I was 3-4 years old, learning to swim, going on a reception school trip to Anfield, riding trikes around the nursery playground, going down the "big" hill on my bike with no stabilisers and spending weekends with my dad and older brother watching the Bradford Bulls play. Throughout primary school my head teacher/PE teacher encouraged me to take part in a wide range of sports/activities, providing me with the opportunity to compete in junior swimming galas, orienteering, outdoor/adventure sports, cross country, netball, hockey, tag rugby, Kwik cricket, gymnastics, and dance. This exposure to such a variety of sports meant that when I moved up to secondary school I was able to start competing in a number of sports in school, district and county competitions.

When I went on to study Physical Education at university I began to understand the full extent of the childhood obesity epidemic and both the physical and psychological development problems children now face living in a world surrounded by technology, social media and obesogenic environments. I wondered what could be done to start reversing these issues and began working with Leeds Sport Academy, This Girl Can and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation. In doing this I realised the true amount of power schools had to encourage healthy behaviours in children. From this I carried out a research project into the effects of the Healthy Schools programme, a study that showed me where schools are succeeding and where they are failing in promoting healthy lives for children. I saw that many children weren't provided with the wide range of sporting opportunities I was as a child and their out of school physical activity levels were much lower than I expected. Seeing the rising trends in unhealthy behaviours in children, the positive impact outsourcing sports coaches is having in primary schools and experiencing working with children in a PE and sport setting all led me to be where I am now. I want to get more children involved in sport/physical activity by creating an environment where they can have fun, try new things, develop their knowledge of the importance of physical activity on the body and mind, hopefully creating healthier behavioural habits that will carry on through their lives.

My coaching highlight of this week was working with Year 4 and 5 pupils at Braithwaite Primary School. The children took part in their first Playtime Leaders session learning how to become effective leaders of sport for their school. During the session the whole group had to take part in a cheerleading activity led by their peers, an activity that often doesn't receive a warm reaction from some children on the programme. However, all children joined in, they showed enthusiasm for what they were learning, respected their peers as leaders and demonstrated a real display of maturity and responsibility for their learning.

Rob Jefferson

This week's aim in my P.E. lessons was to get the children ready for the end of term intra school competitions. In my Allerdale SSP and Silloth Primary schools we were developing tennis serves leading into mini matches. In Dean we started learning the rules of Quick Sticks Hockey and began to play mini matches. And finally in St Bridget's Primary, KS2 created their gymnastics group routines, ready to perform next week to the class.

Why did I choose to be a PE Teacher/ Sports Coach?

From an early age I've always had a passion to play and compete in sporting activities. As a child weeknights would be spent at football, tennis and badminton training with matches and competitions at the weekends. As I got older and started volunteering at my tennis and badminton clubs, helping to deliver training sessions, this was when I knew that I wanted to become a sports coach as it gave me great enjoyment.

My highlight of the week?

The best part of my job is being able to help children and see them improve their skills when playing sport. This week at Silloth Primary, Year 3 and 4 were trying to develop hitting a serve. After listening to my teaching points and practicing, by the end of the lessons both classes were able to hit either an underarm or overarm serve consistently into the serving boxes. Knowing all of the children improved, developed and progressed with their serve skills was great to see

Week 15 - 28 January 2018
Chris Wright

Slow Down

We all know the world is a super fast place with everyone trying to cram lots of things into a day and thinking they can get everything they want. Recently watching my daughter I have realised that even a two year old believes everything can be instantly received and this is down to the internet and world of technology, which amazes me how naturally in tune she is with this.

The consequences of this, it is even harder to install patience and working hard, constantly to achieve what you want. Patience is a key skill to development in sport and as coaches we spend a lot of time trying to motivate children to stay on task and find ways to overcome problems.

At Chance Camp, which is back in Feb half term at Netherhall Community Sport Centre and Fairfield Primary School, we are also big believers in using board games. Taking turns, figuring things out and losing all help to developing a patience mindset.

I have started to listen to this advice as well, within my business my excellent staff are now taking on more responsibility to develop their own work programmes and increase our offer. At my rugby club the empowerment of the senior players to take more of a lead over the team tactics has resulted in good form. The results of this have meant I have slowed down and am much more productive with a better work/life balance.

Amy Lawless

Long Term Athlete Development

Each week I work with a wide range of children and young adults aged from 3 to 17 years who all have very different development needs. To better understand these needs I have been carrying out research into Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD). The LTAD model puts the children I work with into 3 categories, Active Start (ages 0-5), FUNdamentals (boys aged 5-9, girls aged 5-8) and Learning to Train (boys aged 9-12, girls aged 8-11).

Active Start encourages children to use a variety of body movements to develop their fundamental movement skills, coordination, balance, posture and gross motor skills. Along with increasing brain function, imagination, confidence, social skills and emotional control. Knowing that social skills play a large role in developing confidence, I am looking to increase the amount of time children spend interacting directly with one another during their Healthy Movers sessions and hope that this will also help to improve their communication and teamwork skills.

The FUNdamentals stage of development has a main objective of developing the child's physical capabilities and fundamental movement skills. For this to happen it is important that children participate in as many sports as possible, helping to increase speed, power and endurance. Fun games that promote the correct running, jumping and throwing techniques along with introducing rules and ethics of sports allow the children to become more physically literate. It is also important that children are introduced to strength training during this stage of development, using body weight exercises to create stronger joints and bones. During my multi-skill sessions I try and provide children with a variety of activities that aim to improve their agility, balance and coordination skills.

Learning to Train provides children with more sport specific skills that increase strength, endurance, fundamental motor skills, flexibility and speed. At this stage of development it is important to start teaching the children the importance of looking after themselves during physical activity and exercise. Providing the children with the knowledge of warm ups, cool downs, stretching, hydration, nutrition and recovery will help to develop their broader understanding of physical literacy and make them more aware of how their bodies function. It is important at this stage that competition is encouraged however the ratio of training to competition should be kept at 70:30 and you mustn't fall into the trap of over training children/athletes as this may lead to burn out and/or injury.

Hopefully by applying what I have learnt during my research of the LTAD I will create a more positive learning environment for the children and young athletes I work with, increasing their physical and cognitive development and their all round enjoyment of sport and physical activity.

Rob Jefferson

This week in my Allerdale schools tennis lessons, we were learning about the ready position and finding out why it's important during tennis matches. The children were then tasked with playing a mixture of forehand and backhand shots, trying to remember the technique from the previous week's learning.

I also had the opportunity to observe Amy lead one of my tennis lessons. I always enjoy observing other coaches as it gives me an opportunity to see how other people lead the lessons and gives me lots of ideas as to what I can implement in my own teaching.

In Silloth and St Bridget's dance and gymnastics lessons we practiced and looked at different rolls, learning the technique of forwards, backwards and sideways rolls. I'm really enjoying teaching both groups as it gives the children real ownership in their creativity when performing.

Benefits of P.E. and Sport
P.E. and sport play a vital role in a child's development. Participation in sporting activity allows children to learn the key values of:

  • Honesty

  • Teamwork

  • Fair play

  • Respect for themselves and others

  • Adherence to rules

It also provides a forum for young people to learn how to deal with competition and how to cope with both winning and losing.

At Chance Camp we base our activities and sessions that allows children to develop the values listed above. During February half term we are back at Netherhall Sport Centre, running a multi sport camp. With access to the sports halls, 3G pitch, grass fields and tennis courts it's the perfect environment for children to develop and participate in sport. Spaces are still available to book or turn up on the days.

Ross McGuire

Another great week with Fairfield school as we have finalised the Active Family Program. We have plenty of families signed up to start this program, this will be a chance for families to work together to gain an insight into what your child experiences at school and helps towards their future development in sport and activity. There aren't many places so if this is for you please sign up asap as there are limited places available, to book please follow the link below:

Whilst all this has been happening I have been training the Year 3 children for the up and coming Hockey tournament that was held at Lakes College, Lillyhall. It was a very hard decision to pick the best players from this group as they are very talented and have really good hand-eye coordination. Due to being a bigger school it really is important when picking the players for tournaments to focus on their ability to cope with winning and losing. However picking the best children doesn't always work as they need to be able to work together in order to achieve their goal. My aim in school is to help children focus that a team sport is all about working together rather than doing it all by yourself. It is very hard to get across to the children this skill but by playing games and putting them into different challenges and scenarios it eventually gets through to them that we all need to work together in sport and in life to move forwards to our goals.


Week 14 - 21 January 2018
Chris Wright

This week I was fascinated to listen to Olympic athlete Ewan Thomas on the morning news.

A school somewhere in the country had banned their children from dressing up as the superstars they wanted to be when they were older. Reasons included they didn't want children to set pressure on themselves with unrealistic, non attainable goals.

My reaction to this was the same as Mr Thomas. A passionate response which was the other end of this belief. We need to listen to children's long term goals, motivate the children and identify challenges which can help them on their way. In Ewan Thomas's case, he remembers his school proving extra races at his sports day and after competing in five events he knew athletics was his destination and he worked very hard over the years to achieve.

Our business motto is Champions, Believe and Achieve. The Allerdale Multi Skill Academy taking place at Easter, information circulating this week, is our programme which encourages schools to select and signpost talented performers to us and we certainly will be listening, supporting and motivating the children during their time with us.

Amy Lawless

Key Stage 2 Gymnastics: Understanding the Biomechanics of Movements

I am currently delivering a Key Stage 2 gymnastics after school club to children at Seaton Junior School. This week we looked at breakdown of forwards rolls and headstands, two complex moves that require a lot of focus to be successful. During our sessions the children have shown me that they already have quite an in-depth understanding of the biomechanics surrounding exercise and movement for their age group. This has meant we have not only been able to create fun and energetic gymnastic routines but we have also been able to explore different physiological elements of each movement we have performed.

During the process of learning these gymnastic elements it became apparent to the children that they had to engage particular muscle groups at different times to be successful. During the winter half term all these children covered the importance of core stability within their PE lessons, whether that be in sprinting, jumping, or gymnastics. This meant that they were able to identify the need for a strong core to improve the stability of their headstands. This led to us working as a group on some basic core strengthening exercises that tested the children both physically and mentally. Although this may all sound very full on for a Key Stage 2 after school activity, research has shown that teaching primary school aged children the biomechanics surrounding movements in a fun and safe environment makes them more receptive to healthy behaviours throughout their life. It helps them to understand how the human body works and the positive effects physical activity can have on our bodies, including building stronger joints and bones, a healthy heart and lungs, increasing a sense of happiness and reducing stress.


Rob Jefferson

Super week of P.E. in all of my schools. In Silloth Primary with Years 5/6, we set the theme of our dance lessons as Superheroes. We discussed what superheroes do, how they move and act, and put those movements into paired routines.

With Years 3/4 we continued with our tennis, developing forehand and backhand shots before leading into mini matches. It's great to see the children picking up the technique really well and it showed with some great matches played out. After February half term, 2 teams will represent the school in a local inter schools competition. It will definitely be difficult when choosing the teams as everyone is doing so well.

It's great to see Kyle Edmond flying the flag and playing brilliantly in this year's Australian Open. He's through to the quarter finals for the first time in a grand slam in his career.

After playing the sport for 3 years, Kyle moved away from his family home at the age of 13 to further his coaching, with his mum and dad investing tens of thousands of pounds into his tennis before the LTA provided funding for him.

His success is definitely well deserved for all the sacrifices he and his family have made.

Ross McGuire

Following on from last week's blog:

After watching the documentary 'No Hunger In Paradise' I was shocked at some of the situations kids had been through in football. First things first, I want you to think about the next two scenarios:

Having a 9 year old child earning £24,000 a year.
Having a 13 year old child earning £45,000 a week.

Unbelievable statistics, can you imagine either of those scenarios, your child has made it onto the football ladder without even playing a game for the first team! One of these scenarios was confirmed to be true and the other was gossip and was never proven to be true.

However this sort of thinking/scenario is everything that is wrong with the English football system. I can't imagine what I would do with that kind of money at the age of 9 and to have all that pressure to keep to a high standard at such a young age. To be signed up for a huge club like Manchester City and have all the pressures of an adult footballer, this must be ruining the child's development and education without even knowing they could be dropped and shown the door at any moment if they aren't surplus to requirements.

This is where the parents of the child need to switch on and help the child to understand to enjoy what they have been offered with the understanding of the likelihood of making it to the top of football. 0.12% of football players make it to the top, next to nothing, and the next scenario shows just how much any opportunity and the chance of stardom can affect a family without this thought.

Zack Brunt a player with great talent who has lost every chance of ever making it due to money and choices made by his father. This is his incredible CV that any top premiership footballer would have been proud of towards the end of their career:

Sheffield United - 5 years old
Manchester United - 6 years old
Aston Villa - 8 Years old
Manchester City - 10 years old
Atletico Madrid - 12 years old
Derby County - 14 years old
Matlock town - Current Club

Unbelievable to think a child at such a young age can move clubs that many times and even move abroad to play football and chase the childhood dream. He was pushed and supported by his father to follow his dream, however this was to be the families downfall. His father knew how important the situation was and the professionalism needed at these clubs however as a child Zak didn't understand. His father would often tell him off after Zak had a poor training session or showed a lack of passion for the game. His dad freely admitted that he forgot his son was still only a child and is being pushed into something that an adult can only understand. Now Derby County expect £80,000 from a team that sign Zak if he manages to get back into the league which has almost ruined his chance of ever playing for a 3rd or 4th tier team in England.

Joey Barton an ex-international footballer stated that "Players need to start in lower leagues rather than worrying about leaving a huge club and missing their opportunity."

So this is where I believe parents need to think about the full picture, don't live your life through your child, they are still learning every day and to put pressure on such small shoulders will ruin them in years to come as the likelihood is that your child wont make it. Let them enjoy the opportunities they are given, let them play wherever they like, how they want and don't put them down when they do something you don't like. Football is a great sport and is the biggest sport in the world, just remember about the statistics and enjoy life and welcome the benefits.

One last thing to think about, Manchester City have a huge amount of scouts in the country looking for the best talent. They have more scouts in Huddersfield than Huddersfield Town FC do. So just imagine how many kids are picked up and dropped by these bigger clubs as they strive to find the next best superstar.


Week 13 - 14 January 2018
Chris Wright

On behalf of Wright Sport Services and Chance Camp I would like to wish you all a healthy 2018.

We have got off to a fantastic start and I am really looking forward to 2018. To ensure we can improve the quality of our programmes further our staff are now managing certain programmes as follows:

Chris - Overview of whole business with specific focus on the Allerdale Multi Skill Academy and a new facility.

Rob - Chance Camp holiday programme and promotion activities

Ross - In partnership with Fairfield Primary School establishing family activity sessions and a new Chance Camp Key Stage 1 programme for the holiday periods on their school site. He also now manages our birthday party programme.

Amy - Promoting and delivering a new Youth Sport Trust Programme, Healthy Movers, aimed at our youngest pupils to help ensure a positive start to physical activity. Amy has then designed a fundamental skills programme to follow this on to help build their ability to compete in Key Stage 2 Sports.

Personally I was delighted that one of our Schools, Seaton St Paul's C of E Junior School have managed to be crowned Allerdale Sports Hall Athletics champions and qualified for the Cumbria Finals for the fifth time in six years. In 2011 the school empowered me to set their whole school PE plan, based on my skills and sport development knowledge and I am delighted with this success.

As always we want to support Allerdale and West Cumbria to be a healthy and successful place to live and work and look forward to hearing from any schools, organisations or families we can support.

Amy Lawless

Over the past two Fridays I have been working with Seaton Academy to deliver the Youth Sport Trust's new Healthy Movers scheme. The scheme uses fun physical activities to help develop the whole child during their early year's experiences of physical literacy.

Physical literacy can be defined as "The motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to maintain physical activity throughout the life course" (Whitehead, 2011)

Using imagination games such as moving like jungle animals and pretending to be a train on a long journey has helped the children to begin developing their body control, coordination, agility, balance, creativity and social skills. We have also looked at how we can use different parts of our bodies in isolation. This week we worked on using only our feet to move various balls around the playground. Children could roll, kick, push and stop their ball as well as switch their ball with another child. They tried using footballs of varying sizes, rugby balls, tennis balls and sponge balls to see which ball they found easiest to move and why they thought this might be, highlighting that the rugby balls were the most difficult as they weren't as round as the other balls.

By teaching children physical activity through fun and interactive games like these during their early stages of development increases the likelihood of growing up healthy and strong, strengthening cognitive abilities and developing their understanding of how their bodies can move, all contributing to a higher level of physical literacy as they advance.


Rob Jefferson

This week was my first full week back and it's great to be back teaching again. This half term I'm delivering a variety of different activities to a wide range of ages.

I started my new block of Allerdale schools delivering tennis lessons as part of the School Sport Partnership. This week we looked at developing a forehand shot, improving technique and control you the children are able to consistently hit the ball over a net.

In Dean Primary, Key Stage 2 had their first Quick Sticks Hockey lesson. Again we were developing control of the ball when dribbling, passing and receiving of a ball.

Finally at Silloth Primary with Year 5 and 6 we had our first dance lesson. This week was an introduction. Working in partners, using a task sheet the children chose a series of different moves, put them in an order and performed them to music. In the weeks to come, team colours will create their own dance routines and in the final week they will compete against each other in the dance off "Silloth Come Dancing".

Dance is probably the one subject I have the least experience in delivering. However I really enjoyed our first lesson and can't wait for the rest of the half term. Dance can be defined as a series of different steps or movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music. The benefits from taking part are:




improve spatial awareness

allows self expression and communication through the body

improves creativity, problem solving, risk taking and making judgements as an individual or when in a team.

Well done to both classes for a great first lesson.

Ross McGuire

Great start to 2018. Hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year.

Fantastic to start back this week with brilliant news to how my coaching has affected a class at Victoria Junior School. After 7 weeks of tough coaching, in the cold when needed, or in the indoor sessions I managed to get a 20% rise in their fitness levels during this period. We were practising indoor athletics events each week with an added fitness 5 minutes. Each session being only 1 hour long and for 7 weeks, this doesn't sound like much but this shows what a difference it can make to children whilst learning in the vital stages of life. This has been evidenced by an external company who the school are using to monitor fitness levels, motivate the children and impressively setting them online fitness support at home.

I also came across a video that I felt was really important for all parents to understand and learn from. Here is the link from BT Sport:

The video talks about a documentary called 'No Hunger In Paradise'. This is all about how the English football system is letting the youth of today down by signing children as young as 3 to play football for a professional team and parents pushing them down the football route without focusing on school and other aspects of life as a child. Watch the video and see if you agree or disagree.

I will follow this up in next week's blog to talk about 'No Hunger In Paradise'. If you get chance, WATCH IT!!

Week 12 - 20 December 2017

On behalf of Chance Camp and Wright Sport Services we would like to wish all our schools, community groups and families a huge Happy Christmas and all the best for a healthy and sporty 2018.

2017 has been another fantastic year with 1000s of coaching hours across the different sectors we work in.
Physical Education lessons, sports coaching programmes, intra and inter school sport competitions, after school clubs, healthy lifestyle workshops and playtime leadership courses have been a great success across our Allerdale Schools.

Chance Camp has continued to build its reputation in providing school holiday sporting opportunities for 4-14 year olds to access a range of sport and build confidence and a love for different sports. Many children then go on to join local sport clubs and in cases like Ellie Brown in girls football go on to fantastic sport specific results; Ellie has joined the professional outfit of Durham's Women's football club after impressive playing in goals for Cockermouth JFC. Fantastic, well done Ellie.

Chance Camp also provides early talent provision for children in school years 2 to 6. The camp at Netherhall in Easter was a highlight and fantastic to see the next wave of sporting potential which will be flooding the Allerdale, Cumbria and national sporting scene soon. Our major goal at these camps is to raise the aspirations of these children and ensure they are working towards some inspiring sporting goals.

In 2017 we have continued to provide community sessions with Ross and Rob working with Barnado's in the holiday times to provide sport coaching and events. Rob has continued to work in Silloth on a Friday night ensuring activities are available for 12 -18 year olds. Ross continues to provide Saturday morning sessions in Cockermouth and Sporting Birthday Parties. We were also delighted to provide some sessions as part of Allerdale Council's drive to increase sporting opportunities for people of all ages. The walking netball we introduced in Cockermouth is now a self sustaining group who play weekly in Cockermouth Sports Centre.

We look forward to 2018 where we will ensure the above continues to happen and look for new ways to help ensure we play our part in ensuring the people of Allerdale are provided with sporting and physical activity opportunities.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Week 11 - 3 December 2017
Chris Wright

Intrinsic/Extrinsic Motivation
This week has been a great week with lots of different delivery including a 3 hour workshop with Dean Primary School to prepare their Year 5/6 students to help us deliver the Cockermouth Sports Hall Athletics competition on Wednesday which I look forward to.

I was lucky enough to be shortlisted and attend the West Cumbria Community Hero's event on Friday night. It was a great evening and inspiring to hear all the great efforts going on in our community. All these winners had something in common, it was their intrinsic desire to succeed, help, support or create. They were not doing it for extrinsic reasons, money, other people's praise etc.

As sport coaches we all have a role to play in trying to ensure our young people are intrinsically driven. Helping them to focus on the process and strive for success in their own performance. Enjoying and celebrating this improvement is very important and the extrinsic rewards will follow.

Rob Jefferson

As we get closer to the end of term, we're putting the skills we've been developing into competitions. At Silloth, Year 5/6 competed in mini Wimbledon tournaments. Some excellent close matches were played with lots of team points won by the children for their sports day teams.

At Flimby the children finished their athletics lessons with the Olympic Games. Again lots of great performances by the class in sprint, jump and throwing events.

In the past I've spoken about competition and how research suggests that children do not like P.E. due to the fear of failure when competing. However when teaching I always try to encourage children through positive reinforcement when successfully learning a skill, answering a question correctly or winning a game or even playing well during a point.

I believe increasing confidence is vital in order for children to enjoy taking part in P.E. so that they look forward to future lessons and then hopefully look to take part in that sport outside of school. This will then lead to children keeping active and leading a healthy lifestyle.


Week 10 - 26 November 2017
Chris Wright

This week we have had a big focus on combining movements in gymnastics and the triple jump from Sports Hall Athletics. It's fantastic to see the active children who easily connect these movements, e.g. hop, skip and jump for triple jump and within this compete against themselves to increase distance with efficiently and effective technique, good form that results in desired outcome (Most Optimal). However at the other end of this scale is the (Least Optimal) inefficiently ineffective, poor form that does not result in desired outcome.

Reference Physical Living, Health- First Fitness. "Natural Movement Doesn't Come Naturally: You Weren't Born Perfect"

These sessions were delivered to approx 350 children last week and observations would suggest no more than 10% of these children would be classed as Most Optimal, this 10% group were children who are very active and access many sporting opportunities who were able to link the movements instantly. Most children at the start of the lesson were certainly Least Optimal but nearly all the children were able to move to efficiently ineffective: poor form that results in desired outcome. Its all about the OPPORTUNITY. We need children to be daily accessing outdoor play and developing NATURAL movement patterns.

From the article referenced above:

"The truth is that we're not born into movement perfection. How ever, we know for a fact that proficiency in movement skills is acquired through diligent practise throughout childhood, youth and adulthood. Similarly. they can diminish WITHOUT PRACTISE".

We will continue to try and motivate and inspire the children that efficient and effective technique across a range of movements will be attained if they are prepared to participate and practise regularly.

Ross McGuire

Another brilliant week showing all skills needed for Sports Hall Athletics and looking to gain the right technique to gain the extra advantage in each event. Running and hurdling was the main focus this week as it isn't often developed from a young age. Not developing these techniques can lead to poor times in races and in increased likelihood of injury. This is backed up in an article by Wendy Shroeder and Marie-Catherine Bruno and this is what they say:

Good running technique is too often overlooked because we think that running comes naturally. Unfortunately, running is not just a fast walk. It is in fact a totally different set of movements, and having proper technique will help you to:

  • Be more efficient: correct technique maximise the economy of running by eliminating unnecessary movement, such as side-to-side and up-and-down motions, thus transferring all of your energy into propulsion (moving you forward).

  • Minimise the chance of injury: during running, the foot strikes the ground with a force greater than twice your body weight. With poor running technique, this force can be multiplied by tenfold. A combination of correct running technique and using appropriate running equipment can help reduce these landing forces and therefore the stress on your bones and muscles, minimising the chance of injury.

I also attended an early Christmas fair at Fairfield Junior School with lots of different stalls and games to chose from to win prizes. I set up an archery activity and a bean bag toss challenge to promote Chance Camp, testing the children's skills and giving their parents some respite from the sugar filled kids after raiding the candy floss machine. it was great to see so many kids trying something new that they would never really have tried before. The challenge was simple, you had 2 chances to send three arrows at 2 targets, with the furthest target scoring double and scoring the highest. 56 kids tried their hardest and showed some great skills and plenty of improvements after 6 arrows. The winners will be handed a medal in school during this week.

Rob Jefferson

In this week's athletics P.E. lessons, the children at Dean and Flimby worked hard to improve their triple jump technique. We began the lesson by completing a series of exercises to increase leg strength before completing some drills to get used to the coordination required to perform the jump.

In the schools that I teach tennis in we developed the children's agility, to get used to being able to move around a tennis court when rallying. We followed this by learning the technique when serving. This then led into some of the children playing mini tennis matches.

This week I came across an article online suggesting that schools should be teaching P.E. everyday as exercise boosts brain size. Researchers at the university of Granada found that children that took part in exercise for at least 3 nights a week had more grey matter in areas of the brain linked to reading and verbal communication. For the study, 100 overweight/ obese children where asked to take part in cardiovascular exercise for 270 minutes per week. The results showed that as the children's fitness increased, so did grey matter in several parts of the brain. The fitter the person became, the greater the change in the brain.

It's great to see research like this as it highlights the importance of P.E. in schools and why it's vital in children's development. The Daily Mile is a great initiative that can be used to achieve this, where children run a mile every morning before lessons start.

Week 9 - 19 November 2017
Chris Wright

This week has been all about competition in my professional delivery and volunteer role as Head Coach of Cockermouth RUFC. With competition brings the challenges a lot of us desire but also the feeling of 'pressure'. After my team lost at the weekend to Wigton in the county cup I have been doing some reading around pressure and will explain my review of this later.

In schools it's been great to hear the reviews of the children from Victoria Juniors and Seaton Juniors who attended the High5 Netball competition, the first thing they reported back to me was we didn't win. Do children feel pressure? Did I give them the expectation they should win? Hopefully in my questioning after the children realised being at the competition and playing against other teams was the outcome we wanted. "How did the teamwork go with the players we picked?" "In the game you won how did you manage to score your goals?" etc were the questions I asked. Its now the turn of Sports Hall Athletics and in the above schools I am now delivering intra school competitions to select the 6 boys and 6 girls who can run the fastest and jump and throw the furthest.

Back to the senior rugby match - it was a pressure game on Saturday and my team responded brilliantly to the challenge. However in this game they made a lot more mistakes than in the previous week - was this down to pressure? What is pressure? Pressure comes from trying to focus on an outcome in the future, because it's in the future it becomes a fantasy. If this fantasy is conceived as difficult, we create unnecessary pressure on ourselves. On reflection we were guilty of this on Saturday and in the future we must concentrate on the PROCESS, something we can control and feel confident with. At the end of the game we can then review the outcome and hopefully next time this will mean success.

Ross McGuire

Another brilliant week after coaching my Fairfield hockey team. I heard they had two teams competing with one winning the whole tournament and the other finishing 3rd out of all of the Cockermouth and surrounding area schools!! Well done to those guys!!

Victoria Infants are participating in gymnastics with lots of children showing brilliant balancing and coordination skills and have been encouraged to challenge themselves as this is what learning is.

It has been said that:

Coaching youth sports can be a very rewarding activity. You are present to observe your team growing and learning, facing challenges, and experiencing success. But being a coach brings with it a huge responsibility. As a coach you are also a teacher and a role model for your athletes. You are ultimately responsible for making sure each one of your team members has the most positive experience possible.

This is the exact reason why I love coaching and seeing children fail learn and succeed in everything they try in sport.

Rob Jefferson

Super week with some outstanding performances in all of my schools. At Dean and Flimby the children's athletics events are coming on really well. This week we were developing leg strength to compete in long and triple jump events. It was great to see the children remember the previous week's sprinting technique when performing the run up, which meant some huge distances were jumped - some further than my attempts!

In Silloth Primary School, a Year 5/6 team of boys entered the Cumbria Football Finals. After only a couple of practices, the boys played brilliantly, finishing runners up after winning 4, drawing 1 and losing 1. The boys were obviously delighted with their achievement. Well done to them!

After seeing how well the children were able to transfer their sprinting skills into the jumping events, it got me thinking as to how well athletes are able to transfer skills across a range of different sports.

Known as the transfer principle, it is suggested that learning and performing one activity can have a positive, negative or zero effect on another activity. Positive transfer can take place if there are similarities between 2 skills when performed, whereas a negative transfer can take place when a learned skill interferes with the performance of another skill.

Looking back at my sporting background, both transfers have had an effect on me. One of my main sports I play is badminton. I've played for almost 20 years, starting when I was 7.

I didn't start playing tennis until I was 12. However with playing badminton I was able to use my past experience, and transfer those skills across when learning the new technique. I found it quite easy as in both sports you try and hit your shot at its highest point

However a couple of years ago I tried playing squash and went to some coaching sessions. This time I found it very difficult to learn the technique when striking and moving to the ball as we were told to hit it at a lower position with lots of slice. After a few lessons of squash, I found the new skills I was learning were then having a negative effect on my badminton performances. For that reason I decided to stop playing squash and concentrate on my badminton/ tennis.

I believe all children should experience as many different sports and activities as possible. But as you get older you might come to the point where you need to follow a path and commit to one sport. A great example of someone who did this is Ben Stokes who had to choose between Rugby and Cricket.

Week 8 - 12 November 2017
Chris Wright

Why is movement being neglected?

We are currently delivering Sports Hall athletics which is a favourite scheme of work for me. It is with interest how observations show me year on year that children are getting less comfortable with simple movement patterns e.g. skipping and too many children find it hard or take a dislike to working at a rate which significantly raises heart rate. I like to look at posture during the sprint work we do, have a go at this, you might be surprised by the results. Sit on the floor with legs out in front of you, toes pointed to ceiling, and ensure head is up and chest is out and shoulders back, really trying to straighten spine and sit up. How long can you hold this position, is your core strong enough?

Because the human body is truly engineered for motion, not fulfilling that potential is like allowing a car to sit in the garage and rust away.

We are currently asking the children to run for 2 minutes at the end of some lessons, its fantastic to see the active kids wiz round the course but I am worried about the motion levels a lot of our children undertake, car to school, sit at a table and desk, car home, floor, sofa etc for TV/social media/computer. Lets make sure we don't forget where we came from and why were given feet!!!

Rob Jefferson

Another smashing week of delivery in my primary schools. In this week's tennis lessons, the children recapped last week's skills, playing forehand shots in a series of different games. We also started to develop our backhand shots, learning the technique to be able to hit the ball over the net.

In our athletics lessons in Dean and Flimby, we continued with our sprinting. This week we were looking at our lower body technique followed by races and competitions.

Practice makes improvement

When teaching I believe it's vital that children are always practising their sport skills. Whether it be at home or during school breaks. Malcolm Gladwell believes any individual needs 10,000 hours of deliberate practice before they can be classed as an expert in their field. One resource we use throughout our lessons is the FUNS for Everyone pack. The cards offer a range of different drills that can be regressed or progressed to improve moving, throwing, catching and balancing. Using these cards in lessons are great as they offer challenges for the children to complete. Once they complete the skill they can move onto the next challenge. Using this resource in lessons gives children a sense of accomplishment and confidence as they can see how they've improved throughout the term. It also gives great ideas as to what activities children can do outside of PE lessons to practice.

Ross McGuire

Another brilliant week of sport in schools this week. Lots of promising skills shown with different ideas and rules changed during games when allowed. Even better on Friday was seeing the improvement of Fairfield School's netball team preparing for the second stage of their up and coming competition. After having so much practice I can see major improvements in technique and skills.

In the infants I have been using a new program to teach the children new skills in different games. Has given me great ideas to use to teach the reception class and even giving me ideas to give for homework for the children. This will be great to see if these skills will be improved over the next coming weeks.

This has been backed up by Andy Murray’s mother in the telegraph in how it is key to keep kids healthy and active.

Judy Murray calls for children to be given "physical education homework" as a report from the fitness industry body Ukactive warns of a sharp decline in pupils' fitness levels.

Week 7 - 5 November 2017
Chris Wright

This week I have introduced a new coach to the business, Amy Lawless who has recently completed her Physical Education degree, Level 2 Multi Skills and Physical Development course and work experience with Leeds Rhinos Community Team. During this half term she will be on trial with me whilst leading session in gymnastics and sports hall athletics under my observation. I look forward to hopefully welcoming into our workforce.

It was fantastic to be a sponsor at the 6th Allerdale Sport Awards on Friday night. These awards showcase the huge amount of talent we have in the area. It was also conclusive in how there has been a culture change in local sport with running, cycling, swimming and triathlon dominating the evening. Does the demise of team sport and the huge increase in individual sport reflect on society changes?

Rob Jefferson

Great to be back in my schools after a week of Chance Camp. This week I started my new block SSP schools teaching tennis. With it being the first week we were developing technique and control on the forehand shot.
This half term at Dean and Flimby we are focusing on sports hall athletics. This week we were developing our sprinting technique, focusing on the upper body.

On Friday I was pleased to attend the Allerdale Sports Awards, presenting the award for Junior Sports Person of the Year. The Winner, Oliver Dustin, is a talented middle distance runner whose recent achievements include victories in the 1500m at the English National Track Championships and in the 800m in the English Schools Athletics. It's great to see such a great talent coming and representing Allerdale. Congratulations Oliver and good luck in your sporting career.

Ross McGuire

Brilliant week back at school for half term 2 with a new session added to my week. Working with reception children at Fairfield school for the first time, it was brilliant to see how excited they were for a new lesson. We are using a new activities pack from the Youth Sports Trust to teach and explore new ideas for Key Stage 1 pupils.

Also a new challenge has been given to me this year by Chris to try and introduce the use of videos in my P.E. sessions. The reason being using different tools to be able to keep the pupils engaged but keep it as fun as possible. I believe there is another way to keep the children engaged and well prepared using video learning in P.E., this is backed up by this post in an article online.

"This chapter was written to introduce a way of organizing learning activities when using a flipped learning approach in Physical Education (PE). The idea is that students will prepare at home, before the PE class, watching a video explaining key topics and introducing the activities they are going to conduct in their next class. This way they come to school better prepared and more motivated for participating in the practical PE class, and they achieve a better learning outcome".

Week 6 - 29 October 2017
Chris Wright

This week was a great opportunity to work with a range of children from different ages 4 to 12, different abilities and in different weather conditions.

Come hail, snow, wind, rain and sun we have one aim and that is to ensure children understand that sport, exercise and activity can be still be participated in. Important modifications are needed in terms of surface, clothing, time and equipment etc.

One highlight of my week *shame that this happens* was seeing the children who were very apprehensive of getting dirty, making a transition to getting stuck in the mud, catching dirty rugby balls and enjoying the experience. Children are a creation of the environment around them and the boundaries that are put in place by adults.

Rob Jefferson

This week at Chance Camp I focused on developing the children's striking skills through tennis activities. We played lots of activities and games that were designed to improve the group's forehand, backhand and rallying skills. It was great to see all of the children improve and develop their technique as the week progressed and being able to compete at a high standard in competitions at the end of the week.

This week during our free play slots, the children have been completing a booklet from the National Trust: 50 things to do before you're 11 3/4. This is designed to get children outdoors, exploring the countryside, completing tasks. E.g. hunting for bugs, making trails etc. We found out that some of the children had never built a den before which left us all shocked! Hopefully the children continue with the tasks in the weeks to come. A great booklet that develops children's decision making, teamwork and creativity.

Ross McGuire

After reading through articles I came across this question: "Can skills crossover between different sports and activities that seem to have no link whatsoever?" My answer to this is "Yes!!"

A perfect example happened this week at Chance Camp with one of the new starters. This person was really struggling with my kicking practice in rugby and started to get a bad toe due to wrong kicking technique. After helping to understand the issues, the decision was made to point her toe forwards towards the target she was aiming for rather than pointing her toes to the sky. She then realised this was a very similar movement to something she had done in Scottish dancing.

This was the first time anyone had mentioned anything related to another sport and made me realise that lots of movements can be transferred to improve performance in other sports and activities.

Week 5 - 20 October 2017
Rob Jefferson

Smashing last week of P.E. in my schools before October half term. This week all of my schools were putting the skills they've been developing into intra-school competitions. Dean and Flimby Primary Schools competed in High 5 Netball matches, Silloth Primary in a mini-Olympics whilst my Allerdale SSP schools competed in mini-Wimbledon tournaments. It was great to see lots of impressive performances, with loads of children showing that their skills have developed and improved from the term's P.E. lessons. Well done everyone

The Daily Mile

During this half term I was teaching tennis at St Cuthbert's Primary School, Wigton. The school has signed up to the Daily Mile initiative, where every morning children walk or run for 15 minutes, completing a mile.

According to the Department of Health, nearly a third of children aged 2-15 are obese with younger generations becoming obese at earlier ages.

The Daily Mile was set up to try and curb this trend. The initiative states that 4 weeks of daily exercise will make children become fit.

After speaking to the teachers about the scheme they agreed that the children's fitness had improved from taking part. They also found that the children's concentration in classes got better after completing the mile as well as some children's self confidence. This could be due to it being fully inclusive with every child succeeding, nobody failing. A great scheme that more schools should use!

Ross McGuire

Wow the last week flew in, Competition week!

Victoria Junior School year 3 have partaken in an intra-class competition and were given the chance to showcase their skills in a game scenario. All teachers were then told of the winners of each class to gain a small reward for their efforts.

The importance of competition: Sports are more than just fun and games. From schoolyard chants to Premier League wins, playful competition finds its way into nearly all aspects of culture. Fighting to win draws on cooperation, concentration, coordination, and creativity - things worth striving for in their own right.

Wednesday night I attended the positive mind workshop, learning new skills and ideas to bring into my coaching to help children to understand ways in which failure isn't a bad thing and the way we encourage the children.

Friday morning consisted of an assessment of Chris at Victoria Junior School year 6; this was a great experience as I had some new ideas to bring into my session, it also gave me chance to watch from the outside and compare my performance and giving some tips afterwards.


Chris Wright

Fixed v Growth Mindset

This week I had the opportunity to complete part 1 of a positive mindset workshop. After two hours of great discussions with the other attendees and the deliverer, I now have a refreshed outlook on the way I teach and coach.

Taking time to observe the way we teach, the environment we create is so important.

Ensuring all the children we work with are confident to make mistakes, self reflect on actions and find ways to solve problems is essential. Since doing the course we are working on the feedback, praise and challenges we give. Ross observed me in today's lesson, seeing developments in my coaching, I look forward to developing this new belief in the coaching process.

Top Tip - We are very good at praising outcomes but try focusing on the process, let the child reflect on way they did so well and hopefully this will be a mastered one and repeated in the future.

Week 4 - 15 October 2017
Ross McGuire

After a hectic week due to bad weather conditions, all sessions went fantastic with much enthusiasm shown. As we move into week 5 of High 5 Netball in Victoria Junior School, lots of improvements were shown in year 3 who will now be equipped to play in the intra school competition next week. Across at Fairfield Primary School I am enjoying preparing them for their up and coming hockey competition, plenty of talent on show and a willingness to compete to win is really progressing the lessons.

Finally I have received some really good feedback on my session from Chris after my lesson observation on Friday, but also leaving me plenty of tips and encouragement for improvement. In line with what we expect of the children, ensuring we continually assess our performance is so important to ensure as coaches we can develop to reach our true coaching potential.


Rob Jefferson

As well as delivering P.E. all year round at Silloth, Dean and Flimby primary schools, I also deliver tennis lessons to Allerdale schools as part of the School Games. Throughout this half term we have been developing coordination/ striking skills that allows the children to improve their technique when playing forehands, backhands, volleys and serves. We will finish off next week with mini Wimbledon tournaments, giving the children the opportunity to put the skills learned into practice!

A lot gets said and written about the problems with competition in school sport with a lot of children less inclined to compete. A survey by the Marylebone Cricket Club found that 64% of children aged 8-16 found that children were "relieved, not bothered or happier" if winning or losing were not a factor.

In order for children to enjoy taking part in competition, they need to be equipped with the correct skills and have the self confidence to compete.

During our P.E. lessons, we base the content on making sure the games played are fun and active that brings enjoyment when children take part.

We also adapt our lessons so the more gifted children compete in more difficult activities and less able children compete in different activities more suitable to their level. This allows all children to experience success and progression in their P.E. lessons.


Chris Wright

Importance of Play
This week I got chance to observe one of our coaches, Ross McGuire. His lesson was structured with about 90% of the lesson based on children playing the game.

Children of all abilities were engaged, with lots of questioning occurring from coach to pupil, pupil to coach and more importantly pupil to pupil. It was an excellent lesson and the process observed in the children's ability to PLAY High 5 Netball over a five week period has been encouraging.

At home we have been talking about play within the school and home setting. The Mrs and I believe the early school years should all be about PLAY, with outside play predominant. Children demonstrating what they know verbally and not recording everything in writing - this will come later!

Outside play at home then becomes even more important. Regardless of our adult fears of this changing world, children are still children and should be allowed freedom within sensible boundaries to connect with nature, local surroundings and people. Adhering to these sensible boundaries, the physical and mental development occurring and the important social opportunities totally outweighs sitting inside the same four walls or garden fences.

During October half term Chance Camp will be running from Cockermouth RUFC. In total 25 hours of structured play and 15 hours of independent play will be available.

Week 3 - 6 October 2017
Rob Jefferson

Another great week of P.E. with the children in Dean and Flimby making excellent progress in High 5 Netball. This week we continued with passing and moving into space but also finding strategies to get past defenders.
I'm also in the middle of delivering 6 weeks of gymnastics with St Bridget's key stage 1. This week we were looking at different rolls, and putting them into sequences with different jumps and balances.

Did you know?
Although children are generally flexible it is still important that they stretch from an early age. Children begin to lose their suppleness as they enter their teenage years. After a warm up stretching can prevent injury by reducing the risk of muscle tears and pulls and after exercising stretching helps the muscles recover by reducing stiffness.
Being flexible can also help improve sports performance. For example a cricketer bowls better with a loose arm.
If children learn correct exercise habits when they are young, they can continue to practice them when they get older benefiting a child's overall health for their entire life.

Chris Wright

This half term I have worked in Fairfield Primary, Flimby Primary and Broughton Primary undertaking playtime leadership training. This is an excellent scheme which gives Year 5 & 6 pupils the opportunity to develop their confidence, understanding and ability to deliver activities to children at lunchtimes covering skill challenges, fitness, games and creativity.

Did you know?
This week is Parents in Sport Week. Being a young athlete in Cumbria your parents are the single most important part of Team You which includes schools, the sport clubs and families. Through parents' support, children can engage in sport and access the opportunities required to reach their potential and enjoy their participation.

Week 2 - 29 September 2017
Rob Jefferson

Super week teaching, visiting Dean and Flimby delivering High 5 Netball to KS2. This week we were developing our throwing and catching skills whilst moving into spaces. I also visited Silloth Primary School where we've been focusing on indoor athletics. This week we were developing our technique when throwing a javelin to get maximum distances.

Did you know?
An athlete's legs and trunk generate up to 50% of the force when throwing a ball. It's really important to have solid base, knee flexion and hip rotation in order to maximise your throwing distance.

Ross McGuire

For this academic year Fairfield Primary School are using my coaching to prepare selected children for up coming competitions. This week my focus was game specifics, coaching the positions, player restrictions, body movements and game based learning. There was lots of competition for places and the selection process has been hard due to good quality all round play and the efforts from each individual.

Chris Wright

As we get further into the High 5 Netball scheme of work, the focus of learning through play has become the focus. We have developed sessions this year which put playing games, with the children leading on rules at the heart of the sessions. Many children are switched off by limited drills but use play/games with the same teaching points and the class becomes a lively hive of learning.

This week my lead sport, rugby union, has come back into focus. Similar to society, certain people are calling for the risk to be minimised. I am in disagreement with this. More focus should be put on the delivery of the game at the younger age to improve physical literacy, rugby specific movements etc to help reduce the risk of injury.

Week 1 - 18 September 2017
Chris Wright

Teaching Highlights
Fantastic week of delivery underway with visits to Seaton Juniors and Victoria Juniors to deliver the High 5 Netball scheme of work in preparation for the cluster tournament in November. My weekly visit to Year 1 at Victoria Infants will see the delivery of an agility programme and developing their concept of space.

Did you know?
Primary Schools train up their Year 5 and Year 6 pupils to become playground leaders. The children complete four weeks training and then deliver a weekly activity timetable of games, fitness, skill challenges and creative tasks to the rest of the school. I am currently in Fairfield, Flimby and Broughton primary delivering this programme which is going really well.

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