Children Need To Learn How to Connect
There is an assumption that we are either born well connected to our body, born skillful in kinesthesia and spatially aware, or we are not. Worse, this assumption passes on to children where they feel that they need to find something that they are a ‘natural’ or move on until they find something that they do succeed at easily. Then we wonder why children are frustrated at school, with sport, or with any aspect of life that doesn’t come easily, quickly, without effort or mindfulness. A fixed mindset of either being a ‘natural’ or not, conflicts with a growth mindset where learning, studying, practicing, training, determination and stick-to-it-ness are encouraged.
This is why our focus is on FUNdamentals: teaching children how to learn to connect with their body, how to develop an understanding of how and why their body moves, and how to control their body. We encourage children to engage in multiple sports where each one requires different skills, techniques and abilities so that children are steered towards a growth mindset and away from the fixed beliefs of either being born able or not.
This way children learn that whatever they want to do in life, they can, when they start from the beginning – from FUNdamentals – and focus on learning. Skipping steps by assuming you can do a sport simply because you think you can, doesn’t work. Anyone who has succeeded consistently at anything has done so because they mastered FUNdamental steps first. No one masters complex math or physics equations without first mastering long division and fractions.
Take swimming as an example. Most think that after swim lessons they know how to swim. Problem is, typical swim lessons don’t teach you how to swim; they teach how not to drown. The challenge arises because some of the water safety skills are so similar in name to competitive swimming terminology its easy to believe that by learning the front crawl in swim lessons, that you have learnt the competitive stroke of freestyle. Front crawl is nothing close to freestyle. Front crawl is a human version of the dog paddle and is designed to get you to safety if you fall into water. No competitive swimmer uses front crawl; they all swim freestyle. Now, imagine a child who thinks they know how to swim because they took swim lessons, then joins a swim team, but cannot keep up. What conclusion do you think they will make about their ability to swim, to compete as a swimmer, to be ‘good’ at swimming?
This is happening across all sports. Children are taken to soccer teams, but not knowing how to run, lacking capacity and practice in pacing wonder why they cannot keep up with other children on the team. They wonder why their ankles and knees hurt when other children seem able to run with ease. Children are taken to skating lessons, then hockey, but cannot keep up and we wonder why. If a child hasn’t developed the strength, coordination, and balance to move properly there is no way they will be able to participate, have fun, and progress in any sport no matter how hard they try, no matter how often they are told to try, or yelled at to “try harder”.
There is a right place to start and that’s at the beginning. Our program is for parents who want their child(ren) to start by building a foundation in movement, learning how to connect and then control their body. Whether a child wins or not in sport will only be a small portion of their life even if they are Olympians. What matters most is if children are being provided the basics to lead happy healthy lives enjoying the wonders that being connected to their body provides. Being an Olympian lasts a moment, your body is supposed to last you a lifetime. Why not bless your child with the gift of learning how to use their body from a young age?