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I attended a great SportNI workshop yesterday hosted by Liz Burkinshaw. I raised a question on which there was a range of answers as well as much uncertainity and it follows on from my response to coaching advice for 13-18 year olds.
In a recreational environment how much time or what percentage of our time should we focus on the 13+ age group? From experience in schools and rec environment a high portion of this age bracket are already heavily disengaged from sport and/or physical activity.
I compare it to Germanys failing in the World Cup in Japan/South Korea in 2002 whereupon they almost completely focused on a younger age bracket after to lay the foundations for long term success.
I often think I'm better off working solely in primary schools for the next 4-5 years so that it helps the 13/14/15 years old in years to come be more normed to activity in a rec or school setting. In the 3.5 years I've been in my role the 12 year olds who I forst worked with at 9 are quite different to the 12 year olds I experienced in my first few months. The 6 year olds who I worked with at 3 in a play group or nursery setting show similar outcomes.
While I'm not suggested completley ignoring our current 13+ kids I wonder what percentage of our time and effort should be at the primary age to help develop a mentality and culture that allows our 13-18 etc to be signinficantly more engaged in the future.
Having worked in the USA it's the norm for kids to be coached and active from a young age and at secondary school age there's definitely a much higher percentage of year groups more actively engaged in sport and physical activity.
Hi Gary - it is a great question and one I often consider being a coach, parent and observer.
Firstly, please see a blog I wrote a while ago around the 'Germany' model you might find of interest - http://www.sportscoachuk.org/blog/how-sport-and-economic-policy-can-pave-way-success
I think you concept of getting the primary engagement developed, so the 13+ years are not disengaged (or not as disengaged) is an interesting one. It is the key of addressing the problem before it begins, as opposed to trying to correct the problem. One of the issues from my perspective is to address why do children become disengaged from sport and activity?
It would make a great research project to follow these children through the system, and see the whys and why nots of staying involved.
Politically and ethically, the current 13+ cannot be, and shouldn't, be cut loose, but your theory would reduce this issue in the future generations...
So more thoughts from me....
a few more random ones...not necessarily coaching related!
We we have to evolve the system that children move into so that their experiences are super dooper on primary but then not meeting their motivations in teen years.
Teachers, parents and coaches need a better understanding of habit. I know when I was a teacher I knew nothing about habit or what I was doing to be pro habit and anti habit in my teaching. Parents are such great influencers by what they say and do that contributes to children have the confidence to be active or sporty. Not much advice for parents available from birth/early years about how to be active for life
Id also change school uniforms so that children are be active all day it's no need to get changed for PE.
*not not meeting...
Very true on that last pt Liz, how many times are coaching delivering around 2/3rds of a planned session due to time watsed getting kids from class to sport including changing kit and shoes at both ends!
But that's also a point i make often about the timing of school. Why does school start at the same time a large % of people start their jobs? Many kids arrive at school for pre school clubs, breakfast clubs or just to hang around before class starts at 9. Start school at 830, finish at 2, slightly shorter breaks and lunch and there's loads of post school time for sport. People pay for childcare and other extra curricular activites so why not just have child care, sports coaches, arts, music, homework clubs etc associated with school so families can pick their kids up after work? Would also allow the right people to govern these too and to ensure a joined up approach.
Again it's a cultural change that would take time but would also help the education of parents. Takes some pressure off teachers. Helps with £ for families. So many benefits to this type of system and allows a school to become a hub for more than just basic education.
This would help massively with folk's understanding of habit. Couple a system and culture with education and we start a much improved pathway.
Like the question Gary Fowler. My wife is a Y6 Teacher in a State Primary, and I am a hockey coach at an Independent School working with Y7 to Y13 Girls. Our respective experinces iro sports time make for some interesting conversations at Home. Her school, along with many country-wide has extremely limited funding, and the Head Teacher dismisses sports out of hand imo. My school has loads of money, offers the widest range of sports/movement options to all puplis at least twice a week, plus Saturdays for matches where applicable throughout the year; the school unsurprisingly emphasises academics, and imo dabbles in competitive sports.
In both Institutions the engagement is limited and/or sporadic. The capable children put in the effort, but most 'go through the motions'. The teachers/coaches try their best to improve these situations but the ground is rather barren.
I like your idea about planting/nurturing the seeds at Primary School levels to enhance the engagement in later years. I will be raising this point when we get back to School in September. In my School, I fear that the acedemic pressures (supported by Parents' ambitions iro University places for their Offspring) will always have a negative impact on the PE Department's efforts.
Great point iof interest the little differences between the 2 types of school. Goes to show that the issue is much deeper than the type/level of school and the pupil attending it.
I wonder about the impact of prep schools that feed directly into their own secondary/grammar school. I don't have experience of that but would be curious if makes any difference to pupils and staff.
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