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First, learn to MOVE!

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
I found this article on the website of Vern Gambetta http://www.gambetta.com

As physical education programs continue to be cut in the school system, it is becoming apparent that children, if they participate in any physical activity at all, usually participate in only one sport. But what about the essential movement skills needed to be proficient in ANY type of physical activity, including day to day living. Are they being neglected.
Would the ski instructor's job be a good deal easier if all of us were taught good primary movement skills as children?

Learning to Move
by Vern Gambetta
Are we putting the cart before the horse? Two generations of athletes have grown up specializing early, acquiring specific sport skills and fitness with little regard for the prerequisite movement skills. It is difficult to assess the impact of this approach. This does not seem to pose a problem as long as everything stays within the narrow range of the specific sport skill movements. It does become a problem when the athlete is asked to go outside that narrow performance spectrum and extend to an unusual position or make an unfamiliar move. At the very least they are unable to execute the required play or movement, but more often than not injuries occur. It comes down to the question: Are we asking the athletes to play games they are not prepared to play? They are prepared in skill specific movements but often come up short in the prerequisite lead up fundamental movement skills. An example of this is the number of ACL injuries in female basketball players, they are not physically prepared to play the game they are being asked to play. This lack of preparation is not in basketball skill but in general conditioning and fundamental movement skills which ultimately determine success or failure, health or injury. Another example is the number of elbow and shoulder injuries in young baseball players. Watching the recently completed Little League World Series on TV showed a group of youngsters who were proficient at baseball skill but deficient in movement skills. Their running skill and the throwing mechanics left a lot to be desired. They were good players for their age, but how much better will they get without developing better movement skills? Will they be able to stay injury free?

Some of this is due to the mistaken notion that early specialization is the key to success in the athletes respective sport. There has arisen the myth that if the athlete has not specialized in a particular sport by the time they are adolescents they will not be a success latter on in their careers. Nothing could be further from the truth, success is built on fundamentals. The most fundamental of fundamentals is movement skill.

Early specialization has occurred at the expense of sound fundamental motor skills. In the past, movement skills were learned through free play and reinforced with physical education classes. In our society free play has almost disappeared. When was the last time you saw a group of children playing tag in a field? Today's children are more sedentary preferring to watch TV or play Nintendo. When they do play it is in an organized game or practice session for their sport. Children are driven in cars where they used to walk or ride bicycles. It is not surprising to watch the Olympics and see African distance runners dominate or Brazil or Nigeria excel in soccer, movement it is part of their lifestyle.

How can this problem be addressed? The ideal would be to reinstitute mandatory physical education from K-12 in every state. This is probably not realistic given the climate in education today. A long term solution would be a national run, jump and throw program that would teach and reward the mastery of basic skills. In the short term the sports coaches must incorporate fundamental movement skills as a routine portion of the workout. This should occur not only at the youth levels, but at every level to reinforce fundamental movement skills as a basis for sports skills and as a means of injury prevention and performance enhancement.

What are fundamental movement skills? They consist of four broad categories locomotor skills, non-locomotor skills, manipulative skills, and movement awareness. These fundamental movement skills are the basis for more complex movements. Complex sport specific movements are composed of a series of linked fundamental movement skills. If the athletes have a rich repertoire of motor skills to draw from it is easier to acquire sport skill and the athlete is less prone to injury because their body is prepared for all eventualities.

Locomotor Skills are skills that move the body from one place to another. It consists of walking, running, leaping, hopping, and jumping
Non-locomotor Skills are movements that involve little or no movement of the base of support. Non-locomotor skills are also sometimes called stability skills. They consist of movements like swaying, turning, twisting, swinging, and balancing.
Manipulative Skills are movements that focus on control of objects primarily using the hands and the feet. They are both propulsive and receptive. Propulsive skills include striking, throwing and kicking. Receptive skills include catching and trapping.
Movement Awareness includes the abilities needed to conceptualize and form an effective response to sensory information that is needed to perform a specific motor task.
Body Awareness is the knowledge of one's own body parts and their movement capabilities. The components of body awareness are:

Spatial Awareness is the ability to orient to other people and objects in space as well as how much space the body occupies.
Rhythmic Awareness is the ability to make movements that are repetitive and patterned resulting in balanced harmonious movement.
Directional Awareness is the ability to discriminate the size of objects and their relation to each other. Directional awareness consists of laterality -- awareness of right and left and directionality -- awareness of forward back and up and down and various combinations.
Vestibular Awareness provides information about the bodies relationship to gravity. Essentially it is the basis for balance and body position.
Visual Awareness is the ability to receive and process visual stimuli.
Temporal Awareness is the timing mechanism in the body.
Auditory Awareness is the ability to discriminate, associate and interpret sound.
Tactile Awareness is the ability to discriminate through touch and feel.
How should movement skills be developed? The best way to develop the range of movement abilities is through play and self discovery as the child grows and develops. In a more formal sense the best way to include these movement skills is in a structured warm-up that places demands on the various fundamental movements as a lead up to sport specific movements to follow. The optimum order of development is first learn the movement without any regard to speed. Then increase the speed of the movement while paying particular attention to maintaining the precision of the movement. The third step is to change the movements or do them under slightly different conditions. The fourth step is to follow with fundamental sports skills based on the movement skill.

When should they be developed? Fundamental movement skills developed at younger ages become automated and part of a reservoir of motor skills that can be called upon when learning specific sport skills. According to Drabik (p.69) there are so called sensitive periods for development of elements of fundamental movements. For example balance is best developed at ages 10 to 11 for boys and ages 9 to 12 for girls. To effectively design a training program for the young athletes we must be acutely of these sensitive periods for the various physical qualities.

When should specific sport skills be introduced? It really depends on the sport. Some sport skills need to be introduced earlier than others. Speed must be incorporated first. It is a motor quality that demands a high degree of coordination that can be developed in a play environment using tag games and relays. Everything should be short and quick so that fatigue is not a factor. Look at the sport skill and analyze it in the context of what prerequisite movement skills are the lead up to the sport skill. Then design a progression so that there is a smooth transition from one into the other. The point is that to insure long term success it is necessary to acquire fundamental movement skills before specific sport skills. Does this mean that early specialization is bad. Not necessarily, in fact there are certain sports, due to international trends that demand early specialization. Early Specialization Sports girls gymnastics, figure skating, swimming and diving. Although there is some thought to reconsider.

At the beginning of my career I saw an approach that was different from the common approach taken today. In retrospect it was an approach that produced astounding results. I began my teaching and coaching career at the junior high school level in 1969-70. Everyone had mandatory PE for one hour a day. There was a full after school sports program with no season lasting more than six weeks. The shorter seasons allowed the youngsters to play several sports because none overlapped. In addition they were encouraged to play several sports by the coaches. If the measure of success of a program is the development of elite athletes then the program was very successful. The program produced NFL players, NBA players, Major League Baseball players, college scholarship athletes and Olympians out of proportion to the number of participants. It was also successful because there was a large number of participants. I do not think this was a chance occurrence. None of these athletes specialized early. They all participated in several sports and specialized latter, some as late as college. I experienced it first hand and it works. At the time I was too close to the situation to, realize how well it did work! The answer is to place fundamental movement skills before specific sport skills.


1. Drabik, Jo'zef Ph.D., Children & Sports Training, Stadion Publishing Company, Inc. Island Pond, Vermont. 1996
2. Gabbard, Carl., Leblanc, Elizabeth., and Lowy, Susan. Physical Education for Children-Building the Foundation. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. 1987
post #2 of 46
Great find, Lisamarie!

After nearly two-and-a-half decades of teaching skiing, I am still amazed sometimes at how much some people's bodies are foreign territory to them, how even the most fundamental movements seem alien. Running, jumping, tumbling, balancing on a curb, kicking a soccer ball, pushing yourself around, swinging from your hands, running through the woods--these are not specialized movements. They develop the fundamental coordination, spatial awareness, and intuitive perceptual skills that are necessary to function anywhere!

I taught a first-timer class at Keystone years ago that really brought it home. All eight students were attending an international conference of physicists and molecular biologists. The moment they clipped into their skis, it was clear that this would be a long, trying morning for all of us! They looked at their feet like they'd never seen them before, like they didn't think they even belonged to them! To get things rolling, I asked who in the group played tennis. Blank stares. Soccer? Nope. Golf? Basketball? Cricket? Sailing?

Finally, a gentleman from Pakistan spoke up: "Ve are scientists. Ve don't DO...ANYTHING!"

That did explain it!

It wasn't skiing skills that we needed to focus on, specifically. They needed to learn the fundamentals of plain old basic movement! They needed to become familiar with their own bodies, and how they relate to the planet and the laws of physics--on skis or off.

On another level, many young athletes may well start to specialize too soon. Young ski racers who spend all their time in the artificial environment of the prepared race course may never learn to just SKI! The greatest racers have always been great skiers--great natural athletes whose finely disciplined techniques were built on the foundation of versatility, naturalness, and instinctive reaction that can only come from skiing on- and off-piste, through the trees, moguls, powder, crud, crust, ice, and slush of the mountain. And playing soccer, riding bicycles--just MOVING--in the off-season.

There is no substitute for a lifetime of learning how to move. No amount of precise, technical, ski-specific movement advice will overcome the inability to move in the first place. Before learning to play Chopin, you have to learn to play the piano!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

[ June 09, 2002, 12:57 PM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #3 of 46
Great article, LM. Yeah Bob, I am continually amazed by first timers who are spacially unaware. You know the type where the concept of "downhill" is foreign...hard to relate to.
A childhood of kick the can and tree climbing is lost on this generation.
post #4 of 46
Thread Starter 
You will also notice this phenomenom in "gym rats", people who are incredibly fit, but have no movement skills on the mountain. They are so used to weight lifting moves that are happen in only one plane of movement, and follow a linear, predictable line of motion.

I speak from personal experience. It was my own early failure at learning to ski that made me change the entire focus of my fitness career.

Somewhere in my files, I have an article by Chip Richards, the Colorado Freestyle skier who spent a season as conditioing coach for the Australian Freestyle Ski Team. Although they were amazing skiers, and incredibly strong in their gym based activites, they were experiencing many injuries, most of them occuring when conditions on the mountain changed.

His solution: He cross trained them with soccer!

BTW, according to Kee Tov, Vern Gambetta once gave a conditioing seminar to the instructors at Windham.
And he's not even a skier!
post #5 of 46
Polite correction... Vern gave the seminar at a USSA COaches clinic at Dartmouth, NH two years ago.
Still awesome.
post #6 of 46
Thread Starter 
OOPS! Thanks Kee Tov! One of these days my ability to memorize details will hopefully catch up to my ability to understand concepts.{sigh!} [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #7 of 46

Don’t limit your analysis of static motion to weight lifters. Gym rats who use any machine, including stair steppers, treadmills, stationary bicycles, etc. all end up with tremendous linear strength and endurance. This does not translate to an ability to perform outside of the specific activity they have trained for. The problem seems to be that they are not training the smaller muscle groups necessary for lateral stability. The only way to really fully train is to perform strenuous activities in a natural setting. So, running on a road is less beneficial than running on a dirt trail. Bench press is less beneficial than running an obstacle/fitness course that requires pushups at multiple stations.

That does not mean there is no place for static training. It must, however, be a supplement to real activities, which use all muscle groups and train the entire body.

A little martial arts, soccer, or basketball every week is a real boost to the static training regimen. Fast feet training is always worth the effort. We have a great Park and Recreation District here where I live. A great resource for the kids and me.
post #8 of 46
Thread Starter 
Absolutely, Maddog! By weight lifters I was referring to the whole gamut of people who perform any form of ISOLATED strength training EXCLUSIVELY, and note the emphasis on the word "exclusively". And you are correct, the same would apply to cardio equipment. Again, this does not imply that they are without benefit, only that they are not the most FUNCTIONAL conditioning modes for sport. A great way to turn a run into a more ski specific form of conditioning, is to run various turn shapes on the downhill.
And in the fitness forum, we discussed the fact that martial artists have the least ACL injuries of any other sport participants.

We discussed this concept last year in this thread: http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...=000037#000000
post #9 of 46
Thread Starter 
I never realized that Jeremy Glick was a Judo expert as well as a snowboard instructor. In terms of educating children about athleticism, his family has the right idea:
post #10 of 46
Let's hear it for those years of playing dodge ball, tether ball, 2-square, 4-square, and hopscotch! Sound like kid's games? Yes they are, and we should still be playing them! These simple games/ activities developed all the basic skills mentioned in this wonderful article. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

These days, kids have incredible eye-thumb coordination, developed by playing video games. But have them try a physical game- those video game guru's don't stand a chance against those kids who grew up on the streets, shooting hoops in the park, playing stickball in the street, etc.

And I still wouldn't pass up a good game of kick-the-can! Especially if it was a can I had recently finished drinking!

While teaching in NZ, we often had groups coming from very exotic 3rd world countries- Melanesia, Malaysia, Bali, etc, where organized athletics were virtually unknown. Our favorite saying was that "they have the muscular coordination of an over-ripe avocado". No ill intent meant, but they personified what BB was stating in his post.

We should re-emphasize phys ed in our elementary and jr high schools, in addition to the organized sports kids play today.
And get them out from in front of their Gameboys and X-boxes! :

OK, I'll get down off my soap box now....

post #11 of 46
I keep trying to fathom why people from India have such trouble learning to ski. I've experienced it, and found that others have too, in Vermont, Australia and Colorado. Not just "from" India, but of Indian descent. I had a bunch here last year, they were young and athletic, both sexes, the guys played soccer...same trouble.

One small glimmer though, in colorado I had a private lesson of 3 early teen Indian kids (2 born in the US, one on holiday from Mumbai!) and they were fine. The US kids had been skiing a few years, and the girl had taught her indian cousin how to do a wedge before the lesson.

I could blame the lack of sport participation, but Indians are world-class in hockey, soccer, cricket, lacrosse....
Someone said they have no muscle, but that cant' be right as their weightlifters are world class.

It occurs in people from the sub continent, but also those of Indian descent but brought up in the US and Australia.

This topic has got me puzzling over it again. Why? What am I missing? If I knew what was causing it, then the solution would hopefully follow. Does anyone have any clues?
post #12 of 46
vail sno pro, right on! People need to be on a soap box on this one. I just had a relevant discussion on this with some of our head instructors(MSU Karate Club), many of whom are involved in various areas of the school system, about the state of our elem. ed. program and its effects on our youth and young adults. I didn't realize the dismal state of affairs in our elem. phys. ed. programs! Dodgeball is a thing of the past here as well as most other physically competitve group games that involve contact or winning/losing. Kickball is too violent etc. As I understood it, some people aren't very good at these type of games, so to do them might make them feel bad and that is to be avoided at all costs! Being "nice" is very important, and peer pressure of any type is a big, big no no. Absolutely no thought given to ability to learn/get better/get smarter/socialize or that kids in particular PROGRESS and change. The child exibiting no ability at a sport they showed interest in at the beginning of the year could develop into a star by the next spring. Or not. But only if they are exposed to it and given the chance! The phys. ed. time also becomes an elective after 6th or 7th grade! I really find this ignorant, in the truest sense of the word.

Many parents are apparently worried about injuries and "mental stress" placed on their children in these types of games, and will do almost anything(litigation/grievances,et.) to keep their child from experiencing it. I was brought up and still believe the importance of allowing a kid to make their own choices and learn by their mistakes(up to a point). This includes allowing a risk of injury and trusting the child to choose intelligently. I guess I'm in the minority in the current educational "theory". Really though, how else are you going to find, much less tap, a childs potential without challenging them and teaching them that mistakes are common, expected, and one of the best gauges of ability and progress?? Without the confidence that this understanding brings, I believe you tend to shy away from confrontation or situations in which you might be 'wrong'. That is not healthy or a good way to get a leg up on life. It also doesn't address the fact that the more active and physical a child is, the stronger and haler a body and constitution they develop for later in their life, as well as an improved appreciation of the world around them.

It could also explain a ' trend', if you will, generally noticed about recruits into the club from the last few years. There are fewer natural athletes and physically intelligent people showing up in the beginner ranks. It may be subjective, but, todays crop of youths seem to not move as well as years past and seem in many ways to be physically inferior. When asked about interests and activities they enjoy, the answers are many times sadly limited and tiny in scope. A huge amount of children and young adults have never had the chance to learn not only to move but to enjoy it, pursue it, and improve at it! Few of them dance! There are also fewer self-motivated, self-enthused people cropping up. There used to be a couple of fired up gung ho beginners in almost every starting class, now its rare to get more than 1 or 2 a year. Obviously, many other things could be, and I'm sure are, involved in this, but this post really kind of makes you wonder about the effect of current values in our educational system on future generations health and happiness.

I hope this doesn't seem off topic, I just seem to be seeing some wider connections that directly involve the inclusion(or not) of motion and physicality into our education system. Many obviously deem it unimportant, yet the opinions expressed here and elsewhere say otherwise.
post #13 of 46
Agree & disagree with opinions so far

AGREE - we should all be moving more - learning to use our bodies as best we can - as I explained to Nolo in another thread partly I persisted with skiing, when it is so hard for me, as it helps me learn to control my body.

DISAGREE - all those who want to just send all those kids out to 'play ball & tag'. As one of those who did this with little effect all my life - for some of us it just doesn't work .
I come from a family (extended) that just LOVES sport in any form. I spent a childhood playing beach cricket(an Oz thing that) & keepings off in the water & trying to waterski & play tennis(nearly killed a tennis coach I'm sure) & mucking around on big rubber tubes in water & falling of logs into rivers/creeks(my specialty). I quickly learnt to field in the seaweed for cricket, because then it didn't matter if I couldn't catch - no-one else would go there & they would close in on the edge of the patch while I retrieved the ball as they knew I can't throw!
The standard method of going out if you had had enough was to keep hitting the ball straight to me.... I almost never caught one....

The ONLY good memory of SPORT I have is from a GREAT sports teacher. She took charge of a bunch of teenage girls who HATED complusory PE & dragged us into the gym & taught us how to tumble roll & to jump on a trampoline. I was the worst of the bunch - but she had about 8 girls from a group of 30 or so - ALL lacked any ability to run, jump, catch etc & ALL DETESTED sport because they kept trying to make us do these COMPLEX movements...(yes we were the nerd group - strong science & language students)

If students are to be put in COMPULSORY sports lessons then there must be room for these sorts of people - not just the more physically capable group. Otherwise they will progress to become a group of adults who AVOID all exercise.

One of the reasons I ski is that the instructors have been able to break the moves down into BASIC movements for me - that allows me to learn them in isolation & then learn to integrate. Same with fencing. My tennis coach could NEVER do that - I needed to run to a moving ball & time a swing all at the same time as swinging. Maybe that says more about the TYPE of coach - my ski instructors have been teaching me a TECHNICAL sport while the tennis coach was trying to say 'just swing & hit'
post #14 of 46
Thread Starter 
Joel, pray tell, whatever made you think you were going off topic, when you were so clearly proving my original point?

Apropos to what Disski said, I have an embarassing confession: I flunked phys ed. in high school! [img]redface.gif[/img]

Years later, I had the phys ed teacher who flunked me joined the gym that I was working. I had the "pleasure" of putting her through her first program!
But that's a whole other story.

So why did I flunk? Well first of all, we all had to wear these identical baggy gym uniforms. And the progression of avtivies was completely illogical!

We would start with these very strange drills. Line up in formation, quarter turn right, half turn left, etc.

Then it was time to climb the ropes! Now will someone pleases tell me how an inane, milataristic drill taught us any movement skill necessary for climbing ropes??? :

So its not enough to just teach random sports to our kids. The movement skills necessary for those sports should be taught first.

I have also found that skiing is the only sport I managed to stay interested in. And I agree, ski instructors seem to be infinitely more capable than other sports instructors of breaking down and teaching movement!
post #15 of 46
Oh, well, LM, I'll confess too that I got a low grade in gym because I never could do a neckspring or whatever it's called where you roll up on the back of your neck with your hands on the floor beside your ears and spring to your feet. My neck's too short and I can't flex my arms and wrists enough to get my palms on the floor, so all I can push with is fingertips.

I'm wondering, Ant, if a lack of activities like skating where you move while standing still contributes to inability of otherwise athletic folks to adapt to skiing.
post #16 of 46
Originally posted by vail snopro:
. Our favorite saying was that "they have the muscular coordination of an over-ripe avocado".
I was once described as having done something "with all the grace & vigour of a paralytic snail"
post #17 of 46
As adults we must be careful not to push our kids into destructive competition in the persuit of activity. I have just read "No Contest, The case against competition" And must agree with the content. Activities that need to make "losers" to produce "winners" have no rational benifit to any social group.

There is also the "burn out factor".
This is likely no more obvious than in American youth soccer programs.
By the time the kids are 15, there are hardly enough people interested to field a team. Ice hockey is the same. Kids want to have fun!. The Vermont Youth Soccer Association published a coaching pamphlet entitled "No Laps, No Lines, No Tears" in recognition of the folly of many "practice sessions".

Phys ed in school is not the best answer for reason of logistics. One activity, for 30 kids, for one hour, does not allow sufficient options to the many preferences that need accomodation considering differing types of children. I have three children and each displays much different attitudes regarding recreational activity. My yougest son who is very comfortable with his movements, can go from pogo stick, to baseball, to soccer, to BMX biking in less than an hour. My eldest , skinny as a rail, can hardly get up off the sofa in that time

I do suggest we all shut off the TV (I don't have one, just a VCR). I have NEVER talked to anyone whose families were hurt by this absence! A family walk is not a bad thing to do after dinner as well.

Good topic, but huge! I just hope we can see it is not something that "They" need to do something about.


post #18 of 46
Thread Starter 
There needs to be a way to develop the various Movement Awareness Skills that Gambetta speaks of, prior to engaging kids in competitive sports. I really liked the idea of teaching a movement skill, then doing the same skill in a different environment. Can you imagine what would happen if teachers taught some fun movement exercises in the fall, then taught them outside in the snow? You may have some future skiers!
Read his first line: "Are we putting the cart before the horse?"

After that, kids can either choose to use these skills for competitive sports participation, or choose other sorts of activities.

The problem is, when school budgets are cut, physical education is often the first thing to go. Not to change my own subject, but nowadays, there always seems to be enough money in the budget for all sorts of "politically correct" classes such as Alternative Lifestyles. What about Healthier Lifestyles?
post #19 of 46

Replace "parents" for "teachers", and "homes and families" for schools, and you're onto something real.

Those of us that take our families skiing, is it more, or less enjoyable if you stay together rather than each going to your separate "classes"?

Is the more enjoyable or less enjoyable experience "better".

I contend that the benefits of social and "fun" recreation will have a greater good on the physical and mental well being of an individual than any other combination of efforts!

Play More! All else will come!

post #20 of 46
CalG said: ... As adults we must be careful not to push our kids into destructive competition in the pursuit of activity. I have just read "No Contest, The case against competition" And must agree with the content. Activities that need to make "losers" to produce "winners" have no rational benefit to any social group.

It is so sad to see Western society bring everything down to the level of the lowest common denominator. No contests? No winners? You must be kidding. If you have no winners or looser how are you going to discover and exploit superior physical and mental attributes in individuals?

No matter how you try to protect the average individual from "feeling like a looser", the fact remains that we are not all equal. Some are stronger, smarter, faster, more successful in life and nothing can change that. We need these superior individuals just as much as we need the average person to complete our society and provide a complete workforce.

Being a looser is not the real tragedy. Not trying to be a winner is the tragedy, IMHO.
post #21 of 46

By your opinion I detect a strong sense of capitalism in you. 'Nothing like a good group of weak minds / bodies to exploit. It' good for the economy!

Will you wish your children to be the ones damaged ?

Destructive competion is different from that which is constructive. Do we need a victim to step upon on the way to the top?

Will you wish yourself to be the one damaged ?

If you think to get in touch with a more human side, you may find that greater things come of cooperation than competition.

Perhaps there is more to life than Stronger, Faster, and Smarter.

I have heard that being a good listener is an trait to be admired. I'm working on that.

Lisa"s opening on this thread was the application of training to bring out "the best".
My concern is that rational people will continue the follies of others for lack of consideration of alternatives.

I have tired of competing in the name of recreation.

post #22 of 46
Our society values winning, but even more than winning, our society values sportsmanship. A sport is someone who is willing to lay it on the line, even at the cost of losing.

CalG, I read that book too. It applies to a point in a child's development, after which it's varsity time, and there's nothing more pathetic than a varsity team with elementary school "we're all winners no matter how we play the game" values. It's demoralizing for the kids who want to play their best to have to play around and through the kids who don't have their heads in the game.

Ask any competitor if competition taught them valuable skills for life in these United States.

The problem with the thesis that competition is damaging is that it is one-sided. Cooperation can also be damaging: its dark side is racketeering, coercion, corruption, gangs, etc.

But the stuff on "foreign bodies" is right on.
post #23 of 46
"It's not the winning, or the losing, but how you played the game."
Competition is good, but it is not everything.
But worse than being a bad loser, or a bad winner, is being a victim.
If you have a victim mentality, then you may as well forget about life now, because if you aim at nothing, you're bound to hit it.

Aim at a target.
Try and fail.
Try again.
Don't quit, and then blame others. And don't tell me the world's out to get you, or I'll arrange that it will be!

Sorry about that rant.

post #24 of 46
Thread Starter 
Whoaa!! Had no idea this topic would kick up so much emotion!

I stand on middle ground on this one. On the one hand, take a look at the fathers kiiling each other over their son's soccer games, moms killing the other cheerleader who's in competition with her daughter.

These are clearly cases where the competitve spirt has been taken a bit too far!

But do we eliminate it completely? I went to a city college in the first year of open enrollment. If I had known this was going to happen, I would have never busted my chops studying to get in. My average class had been brought down to the level of the lowest common denominator of intelligence.
I believe I learned more in Junior High!

Again, Gambetta is advocating teaching fundamental movement skills PRIOR to learning sport activity.

I can only wonder, if I had learned these skills as a kid, would I have developed a better sense of athleticism at an earlier age?

Teaching movement skills first may be a way to help the "unaturals" eventually find something they enjoy, and the "naturals" prevent injury in the future.

[ June 10, 2002, 06:01 PM: Message edited by: Lisamarie ]
post #25 of 46
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
Teaching movement skills first may be a way to help the "unaturals" eventually find something they enjoy, ...
Or at least can possibly DO...
I didn't enjoy skiing at all until well into my 3rd week or so - it was just that it was something I might POSSIBLY be able to learn
At that stage there was NO CONCEPT that I might EVER be able to parallel turn - simple control was the aim.
post #26 of 46
The cheerleader mom and the hockey dad are extreme and unusual cases, and would be germane if we were talking about competition bringing out the worst in some parents, which I would heartily endorse. As a former junior race coach, I can tell you stories about parents that could be nominated for the Mommie Dearest Hall of Fame.

CalG's kids are obviously younger than mine, who are in high school. When my kids were in elementary school, I wrote letters to the school board about the damaging effects of introducing competition in sports at too young an age. I didn't think traveling squads were a good idea at 5th and 6th grade, and I urged the PE teachers to teach the sandlot games that taught us how to play cooperative games when we were young: kick the can, kickball, crack the whip, dodgeball, etc.

I will say that CalG has me thinking about the potential damaging effects of musical chairs...a game we think the preschool set should enjoy. That's a terrible game!
post #27 of 46
Thread Starter 

Speaking of music, Gambetta speaks of developing rhythmicity. Disski and I had a PM conversation about instructors teaching pole plant as part of a rhythmic phrase. For both of us, its the only thing that works!

I just recieved a sportsmed newsletter, where they talk about the importance of establishing a rhythm to a a specific athletic task, BEFORE increasing the tempo. Interesting.

Also, 3 of us, myself, Kneale and Disski were all "gym flunkies" as kids, but al participate in skiing, which IMHO, is one of the more challenging sports.

What is it ski instructors know how to do, that other sports instructors do not?
post #28 of 46

I think you misunderstood me. I want to exploit strong minds/bodies and draw out their full potential. I think it is wrong to let outstanding individuals get lost in the "average" masses. And yes, you are right I like capitalism. This is the result of growing up in traditional Communism, where everyone has a job, everyone has the same salary and nobody makes the effort to reach excellence.

I don't have kids and I understand that everyone wants to protect their kids from the damaging effects of competition. But kids need to learn that "making the effort" and "giving your best shot" is what counts.

There will always be competition in life. If it is not in sports, it is in school (to get top marks), or in the workforce (to get that nice job or a promotion) or in social life (to get that pretty girl to notice you). And loosing is inevitable in life so one might as well get used to it. Do you know of anyone who never lost in life?

I realize that you want to protect young kids. I think it is a noble idea. But life will eventually hit these kids very hard. I would rather guide my kids through life's tough lessons when they are young and I am around, rather than have them learn the hard way when they grow up and do not have the skills and experience to deal with loosing.
post #29 of 46
I guess "Strip-aerobics" would be pretty good for adults to develop these basic movements? lol
post #30 of 46
Thank you for your consideration on this topic. I have held all the views mentioned. If I still held that they had a hope of allowing any kind of happiness, I would continue in their support. Sadly, I have seen and found that the consequences of winning
The grades, the car, the job, the gal, the house, the war,......
promises nothing more than the necessity to deal with these things along with much ill will by those denied.

I am advocating a change of prespective.

To the subject of the thread,

The best preparation for play is previous play. The more diverse the better. I doubt that we could improve on the spontaneous actions of children when left to thier own. Just feed them and turn them outdoors!

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