How many times have you looked out onto a field or court, watched a sporting event or a dance recital and found your attention swept away by the most talented child there? It’s great to see! But what about the other kids – the ones left by the wayside?
I’m talking about the uncoordinated, and in some cases, overweight kids – the ones who can’t seem to find a place to fit in in the world of athletics and movement-based activities.
Oftentimes, little if anything is done to help these kids even get a foothold if they don’t “pick up quickly” what coaches or instructors are teaching. Even worse, many coaches and instructors are in it for the glory themselves and are happy to take your money in hopes of locating a child who will become their ‘discovery’ and bring them victories and accolades, while they pass over the kids who don’t ‘look the part’ or who don’t pick up instruction and skills quickly. As a result, many of these ‘passed over’ kids don’t move as much. Feeling inept and discouraged, they retreat into the world of video games, television, computers, listening to music & overeating; finding pleasure in things that don’t judge them.
When I discovered MovNat, the first thing I thought was: how can I use this to help kids? I had been teaching self-defense to kids already for several years. Although some really were into it, others were brought in by parents hoping to encourage their child to be active and make friends. Those kids were not so interested in the self-defense stuff. But some of the movement activities we practiced interested EVERY KID, like forward rolls, playing with balance, and what we in MovNat call hand/foot crawling and inverted crawling, to name a few.
“Of course! That’s what kids do naturally!” you might say. My reply to that, however, is: “Not all kids.” And that’s where I think MovNat can really make a difference in the lives of kids (as well as adults). When you use the MovNat coaching methods & proper progressions, you give the uncoordinated, overweight, sedentary child the “foothold” I mentioned earlier, providing them an opportunity to reintroduce themselves to movement in a way that’s non-threatening, where challenges are paced and the focus is on exploring what you can do, learning, and having fun.
Ultimately, interaction is the real name of the game, especially in this day and age when so many kids are diagnosed and being treated for ADHD and autism. Coaches and instructors need to learn to understand and work with children facing these challenges, but most do not.
When you have to deal with all these different variables, coaching methodology has to go beyond the “how to.” You need to interact with each child individually, at their level. It is a lack of this kind of personal interaction that has contributed to kids giving up on movement activities.
MovNat is a fantastic tool we can use to get kids moving again, but, in the end, it’s the hand that uses the tool (you) that can make all of difference.
With the right attention and consistent, appropriate interaction, you can help the shy kids, the uncoordinated, and the unconditioned/overweight get started on their journey to moving more, getting fit, and enjoying the original playstation – nature & playgrounds! And always remember…as Master Shifu from Kung-Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness once said: “It doesn’t matter if you get it the first time, the second time, or even the third time. What matters is that you get it! Now let’s go play…”