The Relative Age Effect: How Does It (Dis)Advantage Young Athletes?

Ever wonder if athletes possess certain advantages or drawbacks based on their birth dates? Researchers have established that this is indeed a factor and does make a difference! It becomes not only important for coaching, but also for parents to understand because of parental tendencies to compare their child/children to others within the same group.

Maybe you have heard of the Relative Age Effect (RAE) – the concept that children are placed into age groups such as school classes or sports based on chronological age. Those born early in the cohort are said to have physical or intellectual advantages compared to those born late, leading to selection for enriched opportunities that tend to compound the advantage. Research into sport shows relative age effect can be a systemic advantage to the early-born and a disadvantage to the later-born, excluding late-developers and robbing programs of talent and potential.

The existing and traditional approach by sports organizations in children and youth sports is to group athletes by chronological age, and establish the so-called ‘cut off’ date. Researchers have determined this as a shortcoming because of apparent differences between the chronological and developmental age. The chart denotes potential differences (Schloder, 2017, NCCP Lectures).

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Therefore, boys and girls within the same age group may experience certain advantages or disadvantages based on their birthdate. Does this not make competition and playing sports somewhat unfair? This imbalance is frustrating for younger athletes, leading to their early sport dropout, according to researchers in sport sociology and psychology.

I subscribe to SIRC (Sport Information Resource Centre, Ottawa) for daily emails and article links. Researchers such as Chittle, Dixon, Horton, and Baker (2018) presented their research on ‘Relative Age Effects’ (RAE) at the International Conference at York University (Toronto, Canada) on October 17, 2018. The discussion centered on athletes’ dates of birth and the potential implications on sport, education, health, and wellbeing in hopes of identifying solutions to minimize the age bias associated with using annual cut-off dates.

The following article highlights the presentation at the Conference and is somewhat modified with permission from SIRC Canada.

“Coming of Age with Relative Age Research: Origins, Consequences,

And Potential Solutions”

Within sport and educational contexts, individuals are often placed into age cohorts in an attempt to ensure fairness and equality. Yet, this process can inadvertently lead to relative age effects (RAEs), which describe the (dis)-advantages associated with being the relatively youngest or oldest within a particular age cohort (Barnsley, R.H, Thompson & Barnsley, P.B., 1985).

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Let’s assume that two girls are competing for the last spot on the team roster of a youth ice hockey team. One was born in January and the other in December of the same year. Both athletes are skilled players, but because one is 11-months older (representing more than 10% additional life experience), and has had more time to develop, both cognitively and physically, coaches assess her to be the superior player, and she makes the team. Consequently, she gets additional practice time, better coaching, and the opportunity to hone her skills by competing against better teams. On the contrary, the younger one has to resign her-self to ‘playing in the local house league.’ Since this was the third season in a row that she was the last player to be ‘cut’ from the travel team, she is now contemplating quitting hockey altogether. While one’s date of birth may seem like a trivial demographic variable, the example demonstrates that its consequences can be quite profound.

Background: RAE

Interest in RAE began when Roger (R.H) and Paula Barnsley (P.B) attended a Lethbridge Broncos (formerly of the Western Hockey League in Canada) ice hockey game in 1985. As Paula was reviewing the game program, she noticed that the majority of athletes were born in the months of January, February, and March, which corresponded with the first months of the selection year based on Hockey Canada’s January 1st cut-off date. Intrigued by what she had observed, Roger went home after the game and began examining the birthdates of professional hockey players and noted the same birthdate trend, which they later coined the RAE (Barnsley et al., 1985).

Since Roger and Paula Barnsley initial discovery RAE has been examined from a variety of perspectives including sport, education, and health and wellbeing. and has garnered a great deal of attention in the popular press, having been featured in best-selling books such as Gladwell’s (2008) Outliers: The Story of Success, and Levitt and Dubner’s (2009) SuperFreakonomics; and TV programs such as 60 Minutes (CBS Interactive, 2012).

RAE in Sport

Barnsley et al presented their early findings within the context of Canadian ice hockey. These studies laid the groundwork for numerous researchers to explore the phenomenon in a variety of sports, such as soccer, baseball, rugby, and other competitive sports. Cobley, Baker, Wattie, and McKenna (2009a) illustrate that sport, particularly culturally relevant sports such as soccer in Europe and hockey in Canada are plagued with issues, especially at the regional and national levels, and foremost amongst adolescents 15-18 years. While cut-off dates precipitate relative age differences, Hancock, Adler, and Côté (2013) explain that social mechanisms such as coaches, parents, and players can perpetuate the problem of RAE. For athletes, who are relatively older and bigger than others in their age cohort, coaches may have higher expectations and provide additional training and support, which ultimately leads them to experience an accumulated advantage over time.

In some instances relatively younger athletes, who ‘survive’ biased sport systems may become more elite performers. This concept has become known as “the underdog hypothesis” (Fumarco, Gibbs, Jarvis & Rossi, 2017). However, for most relatively younger athletes, the consequences of RAEs can be stark, often resulting in negative sport experiences, which may lead to drop-out of sport altogether (Lemez, Baker, Horton, Wattie & Weir, 2014). As troubling as this outcome may be for those in the sport domain, at least youth have the opportunity to pursue other activities during their discretionary time. However, in other developmental contexts, such as education, youth do not have this option.

RAEs in Education

Let’s suppose two boys are heading to school for their first day of grade one. Both were born in January and December of 2012 respectively. This age difference in grade one may result for the younger one earning lower grades, have poorer school attendance (Cobley et al., 2009b), and be less likely to attend or complete post-secondary school (Dhuey & Figlio, 2017).

Perhaps even more disconcerting is the implication of this age disparity on health and wellbeing. Research has shown that relatively younger students demonstrate lower levels of self-esteem, are more commonly misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, have higher rates of youth suicide, and higher rates of incarceration for juvenile crimes. Borrowing ideas from the education literature, sport researchers are starting to examine the consequence of relative age on athletes’ psychosocial outcomes, including leadership, positive youth development, and developmental assets.

Proposed Solutions

While there have been a number of proposed solutions to minimize RAE (e.g., rotating cut-off dates, educating stakeholders many of these solutions have failed to garner broad support from policy makers or practitioners due to their logistical complexity. Research has demonstrated that changing cut-off dates (as prescribed for various reasons by the U.S. Soccer Federation and Little League Baseball in recent years) merely shifts who is (dis)-advantaged within an age cohort (Helsen, Hodges, Van Winckel & Starkes, 2000). Moreover, we know that education about RAE or athletes’ birthdates is insufficient in yielding behavioural change. However, interventions such as age-ordered shirt numbering may be effective at reducing coach selection bias (Mann & Van Ginneken, 2017). Similarly, corrective adjustments that account for one’s birth date in timed sporting events (e.g., sprinting) show considerable promise for mitigating RAEs, while improving broad sport participation, as well as elite athlete selection and development (Romann & Cobley, 2015).

The alternative to traditional age-based divisions is bio-banding* the process of grouping athletes on the basis of growth and maturation (*refer to p.1, chronological versus developmental age, and chart) rather than chronological age according to Cumming, Lloyd, Oliver, Eisenmann and Malina, 2017, p. 34. Bio-banding is showing positive impact by reducing injury rates and improving an individual’s ability to improve both technical and tactical skills by adjusting for their training and competitive experiences. It is one of several approaches to providing developmentally appropriate training and competition that aim to avoid the pitfalls of simple grouping based on chronological age.

Despite all of this research, more work is needed to enhance the collaboration between researchers and relevant stakeholders so that youth are not systematically (dis)-advantaged due to their date of birth. It is my belief (Schloder) that any changes have to be initiated by the respective sport organizations/federations/coaching associations to improve the approach in children and youth sports. In my sports such as swimming and athletics RAE is definitely a factor. Extensive research, however, is still lacking.

Article Authors

Laura Chittle, doctoral candidate, Department of Kinesiology at the University of Windsor: her previous work has examined the moderating impact of academic timing on relative age effect patterns within intercollegiate sport, while her current dissertation studies are evaluating the role that relative age has on athlete leadership development and positive youth experiences in sport.

Jess C. Dixon, Department of Kinesiology at the University of Windsor: his research and scholarly interests are in the areas of strategic management in sport, executive leadership and human resource management in sport, relative age effects in sport, sport finance and economics, and sport management pedagogy.

Sean Horton, Department of Kinesiology at the University of Windsor: his research interests lie primarily in the area of skill acquisition and expert performance, both in young people and as individuals age.

Joe Baker, York University: has been examining the factors affecting long-term development and performance of high performance athletes for over two decades. He currently works with several NSOs and PSOs in Canada (e.g., Wheelchair Basketball Canada, Golf Canada, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Canadian Sport Institute Ontario) to improve models of athlete development and the delivery of evidence-based approaches to skill acquisition.

References:

SIRCuit, February 14, 2019. Email to Schloder.

https://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=Relative+Age+Effects:+An+International+conference 

Barnsley, R.H, Thompson, A.H., & Barnsley, P.B. (1985). Hockey success and birthdate: The Relative age effect. Journal of the Canadian Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Vol. 51. Key: citeulike:9673950 and www.citeulike.org/group/15540/article/9673950

Chittle, L., Dixon, J.C., Horton, S., & Weir, P. (2018). Exploring the relationship between the relative age effect and youth development among male recreational ice hockey players. Journal of Amateur Sports (JAS).

Cobley, S., Baker, J., Wattie, N., & McKenna, J. (2009a). Annual age-grouping and athlete development: a meta-analytical review of relative age effects in sport. Sports Medicine, 39(3): 235-256. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200939030-00005.

Cobley, S., Baker, J., Wattie, N., & McKenna, J. (2009b). How pervasive are relative age effects in secondary school education. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(2), 520-528.

Cobley, S., Baker, J., Wattie, N., & Montelpare, W. (2009b). A historical examination of relative age effects in Canadian hockey players. International Journal of Sport Psychology 38(2),178-186.

Costa, A.M., Marques, M.C., Louro, H., Ferreira, S.S., & Marinho, D.A. (2013). The relative age effect among elite youth competitive swimmers. European Journal of Sport Science, 13(5), 437-444. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2012.742571. Epub 2012 Nov 13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24050459

Cumming, S.P., Lloyd, R.S., Oliver, J.L., Eisenmann, J.C., & Malina, R.M. (2017). Bio-banding in sport: Applications to competition, talent identification, and strength and conditioning of youth athletes. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 39(2), 34-47.

Dhuey, E., Figlio, D., Karbownik, K., & Roth, J. (2017). School starting age and cognitive development. Institute for Northwestern Policy Research. Working Papers. WP-17-16.

https://www.ipr.northwestern.edu/publications/docs/workingpapers/2017/wp-17-16.pdf

Fumarco, L., Gibbs, B.G., Jarvis, J.A., & Rossi, G. (2017). The relative age effect reversal among the national hockey league elite. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0182827 https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0182827

Hancock, D.J., Adler, A.L., & Côté, J. (2013). A proposed theoretical model to explain relative age effects in sport. European Journal of Sport Science, 13(6), 630-637.

Harper, V., & Jurbala, P. (2018). Bio-banding and developmental age. SIRC Blog. January 31, 2018. https://sirc.ca/blog/brief-bio-banding-and-developmental-age

Helsen, W.F., Hodges, N.J., VAN Winckel, J., & Starkes, J.L. (2000). The roles of talent, physical precocity and practice in the development of soccer expertise. Journal of Sports Sciences,18, 727-736.

Jurbala, P. (2018). What’s the latest on relative age effects? Director, Knowledge, Sport for Life Society. http://sportforlife.ca/whats-the-latest-on-relative-age-effects/

https://scholar.uwindsor.ca/rae-conference/

Lemez, S., Baker, J., Horton, S., Wattie, N., & Weir, P. (2014). Examining the relationship between relative age, competition level, and dropout rates in male youth ice-hockey players. Scandinavian Journal of Medical Science in Sports, 24(6), 935-942. doi: 10.1111/sms.12127. Epub 2013 Sep 30.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24118622

Mann, D.L., & Van Ginneken, P. (2017). Age-ordered shirt numbering reduces the selection bias associated with the relative age effect. Motor learning & Performance IBBA, Amsterdam Movement Sciences – Sports and Work.

Romann, M., & Cobley, S. (2015). Relative age effects in athletic sprinting and corrective adjustments as a solution for their removal. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0122988

Tip of the Month – February

Coach Monika Says…



Including Postural Exercises to Enrich Your Training Program  

As stated in January Tip of the Month, medical researchers point to the fact that postural habits of children and youth – including our athletes of course – are reaching a critical stage. Accordingly, the increase of faulty posture is attributed to the high level activities with smartphones and computer work.

The illustrations below show correct posture (L side) and two prominent postural flaws: the rounded back or slouching shoulder syndrome and the swayback position (Center and R side). Obviously, any postural deviation (from correct body alignment) is going to affect skill learning as well as optimal and maximal performance no matter the sport. Coaches can design multitude of physical and technical drills BUT postural flaws – if not corrected though corrective (remedial) exercises – are going to impact sport performance and impede personal success.

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Here is Series 2 with exercises that coaches can incorporate into conditioning programs, Warm-up or Cool-down sessions.

Series 2

1. Diagonal Forward Body Lean – Backward Body Lean on Toes

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Diagonal Forward Body Lean

Start:

Stand upright, feet parallel and together, face forward, head centered, arms extended alongside body, back straight

Note: Inhale through nose – Exhale through mouth

Action:

Tighten the core, keep legs straight, tighten buttocks, pull in stomach, depress shoulders (pulling downward), lean upper body (trunk/torso) forward at the diagonal, extend arms overhead at the diagonal, head centered between arm, body alignment fingertips-shoulders-back-hips, maintain position, hold 8 counts, return to upright standing, and relax, 8 repetitions

Variations:

Same Exercise: move arms to sides parallel to floor, return arms to diagonal overhead, maintain position and body alignment

Backward Body Lean on Toes

Start:

Stand upright, feet parallel and together, face forward, head centered, arms extended alongside body, back straight

Note: Inhale through nose – Exhale through mouth

Action:

Tighten the core, bend knees slightly, tighten buttocks, pull in stomach, depress shoulders (pulling downward), lean upper body (trunk/torso) backward at the diagonal, rise on toes, extend arms overhead, head centered between arm, body alignment head-shoulders-back-hips-knees, maintain position, hold 8 counts, return to upright standing, and relax, 8 repetitions

2. Kneeling Body Lean Backward Body – Hand Support on Floor

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Start:

Kneel upright, knees together, face forward, head centered, arms extended alongside body, back straight

Note: Inhale through nose – Exhale through mouth

Action:

Lean upper body/trunk backward with straight arm support, hands flat on floor, fingers point toward feet, tighten the core, tighten buttocks, pull in stomach, body alignment head-shoulders-hips-thighs, knees, maintain position, hold 8 counts, rise to upright kneeling position, and relax, 8, repetitions

3. Rounded Back – Flat Back – using Soccer Ball for Back Awareness

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Rounded Back with Ball

Start:

Stand upright, feet parallel and slightly apart, face forward, head centered, holding ball low in front of and close to center of body, back straight

Note: Inhale through nose-Exhale through mouth

Action:

Bend knees slightly, tighten the core, bend upper body forward over ball held close to body, curl back forward, curl head downward, maintain curled back for awareness of rounded back position, hold 8 counts, rise to stand, holding ball low in front of and close to body, and relax, 8 repetitions

Flat Back with Ball

Stand upright, feet parallel and slightly apart, face forward, head centered, holding ball low in front of and close to center of body, back straight

Note: Inhale through nose-Exhale through mouth

Action:

Bend knees slightly, tighten the core, bend upper body forward to L-position, back flat and parallel to floor, body alignment head through hips, maintain flat back for awareness of flat and correct back position, hold 8 counts, rise to stand, holding ball low in front of and close to body, and relax, 8 repetitions

Tip of the Month – January

Coach Monika Says…


Including Postural Exercises to Enrich Your Training Program

Including Postural Exercises to Enrich Your Training Program  

According to medical researchers and experts in the field, postural habits of children and youth, including our athletes of course, are deteriorating to a critical stage. The increase of faulty posture is attributed to the high level activities with technology and computer work. By the way, coaches should participate in those exercises as well because: a) many of us have poor postural habits; b) increases health benefits; and c) motivates athletes, as we are role- modeling. Coaches still make corrections while participating. It really worked for me AND kept me in better shape!

For the next months, I will provide exercises that you can incorporate into your programs: 

Series 1

1. Upright Stance

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Start:

Stand upright, feet parallel and slightly apart, face forward, head centered, arms extended alongside body, back straight

Note: Inhale through nose-Exhale through mouth

Action:

Tighten the core, tighten buttocks, pull in stomach, depress shoulders (pulling downward), hold 8 counts, pull shoulders up to ears, hold 8 counts, pull shoulders downward, hold 8 counts, 8-16 repetitions, and relax

Variations:

Same Exercise: Perform while sitting upright on a chair, arms alongside chair to relax at the computer station as a ‘break’ or during studies!

2. Sideways Head Turn

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Refer to Exercise #1

Start:

Stand upright, feet parallel and slightly apart, face forward, head centered, arms extended alongside body, back straight

Note: Inhale through nose-Exhale through mouth

Action:

Tighten the core, tighten buttocks, pull in stomach, head centered, turn head to R, chin over R shoulder, hold 8 counts, return to center, turn head to L, chin over L shoulder, hold 8 counts, and relax; repeat, and pull shoulder up to chin on R, hold 8 counts, pull shoulder downward, hold 8 counts, pull shoulder up to L chin, hold 8 counts, pull shoulder downward, 8-16 repetitions, and relax

Variations:

Same Exercise: Perform while sitting upright on a chair, arms alongside chair to relax at the computer station as a ‘break’ or during studies!

3. Body Bridge

Start:

Assume supine position on floor (on back), feet parallel and together close to buttocks (ideal 90-degress), face forward, head centered, arms extended alongside body, back aligned

Note: Inhale through nose-Exhale through mouth

Action:

Tighten the core, using arm support elevate body off floor, shoulder to knee alignment, hold 8 counts, lower body to floor, hold 8 counts, and relax; repeat, 8-16 repetitions, and relax

Variations:

Same Exercise: lift R leg to vertical, keep body flat (‘lush’) on floor, return leg, 8-16 repetitions, repeat, L leg, or alternate legs

Take a Break – Trade in Technology for Music

Music Helps Heal Body and Spirit

According to recent medical research, anxiety, depression, and suicides (or suicidal thought) are increasing among youth and even children. Researchers point out that the same issues would also be present at an estimated 10 percent in the sports world. Therefore, we can assume that this would apply to our Canadian and USA athletes, who may or could be affected at one time or the other.

A large part of contributing factors is modern ‘tech tyranny’, which has literally taken over the lives of people as a control mechanism. People feel the constant urge to use their personal technology 24/7. People, young and old, are becoming or are already addicted! Look around, on streets, in shopping malls, in restaurants, people walking about or sitting with their smartphones in hand. Interesting that Facebook and Google executives do not allow their own children access to computers and smartphones, according to Fox News Interview 2018. They attend private schools where access to tech tools is not permitted! Executives have always known that their inventions would be addictive!

Here are some research facts…

As early as 2010, the study “Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in US adolescents: Results from the National Comorbidity’ reveals the following statistics:

  • Anxiety disorders were the most common condition (31.9%), followed by behaviour disorders (19.1%), mood disorders (14.3%), and substance use disorders (11.4%), with approximately 40% of participants with one class of disorder also meeting criteria for another class of lifetime disorder
  • Overall prevalence of disorders with severe impairment and/or distress was 22.2% (11.2% mood disorders, 8.3% anxiety disorders, and 9.6% behavior disorders)
  • Median age of onset for disorder classes was earliest for anxiety (6 years), followed by 11 years for behavior, 13 years for mood, and 15 years for substance use disorders.

Study Conclusion

These findings provide the first prevalence data on a broad range of mental disorders in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents.

Approximately one in every four to five youth in the U.S. meets criteria for a mental disorder with severe impairment across their lifetime.

The likelihood that common mental disorders in adults first emerge in childhood and adolescence highlights the need for a transition from the common focus on treatment of U.S. youth to that of prevention and early intervention.

Present Impact

Canada

It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide. Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode. In a survey of 15,000 grade 7 to 12 students in British Columbia, 34% knew of someone who had attempted or died by suicide; 16% had seriously considered suicide; 14% had made a suicide plan; 7% had made an attempt and 2% had required medical attention due to an attempt.

USA

Unrealistic academic, social, or family expectations can create a strong sense of rejection and can lead to deep disappointment. When things go wrong at school or at home, teens often overreact. Many young people feel that life is not fair or that things “never go their way.” They feel stressed out and overwhelmed. To make matters worse, teens are bombarded by conflicting messages from parents, friends, and society. Today’s teens see more of what life has to offer — both good and bad — on television, at school, in magazines and on the Internet.

Teenage suicide in the United States remains comparatively high in the 15 to 24 age group with 5,079 suicides in this age range in 2014 making it the second leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 24. By comparison, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death for all those age 10 and over, with 33,289 suicides for all US citizens in 2006.

So, where am I going with this? According to recent medical research anxiety, depression, and suicides (or suicidal thought) are increasing among youth and even children. According to research, both TV viewing and mobile phone use may contribute to the development of depressive symptoms. Implementing household rules about the duration and content of TV could help reduce depression in young adolescents. What can be done to get athletes off their smartphones or reduce their daily dose of social media?

The Alternative Escape: Music

Turning to music is an alternative. Noted gastroenterologist Dr. Kenny Davin Fine at Baylor University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School: “How music has the power to heal what ails you” (see Reference) states: “Music can be just as powerful as prescription drugs as it treats the soul, and if you treat the soul the body will ultimately positively react.” In fact, studies show that music helps surgery patients heal faster, aids in pain relief, restores lost speech, and even improves the quality of life for dementia patients. Dr. Fine, who is also a musician, offers these tips on making music work for our health:

  • Sing to yourself: be it in the shower, taking a bath, in the car… singing gets the brain ‘firing’ in several different areas: including those regions responsible for movement, language, attention, memory, and emotion.
  • Take off those earphones: listening to music gives you much of the same health benefits as singing, but you can harm your ears by relying constantly on earphones. If you have to use them, be sure the volume is low enough to hear other sounds around you, especially if out for a walk in places with traffic or driving the car.
  • Learn to play an instrument: even if you never ‘master’ that guitar, piano, or violin, playing a musical instrument is one of the best exercises for the brain

On a personal note:

I always wanted to play the piano but our family could not afford it. The alternative choice was playing the cello in the school orchestra (free lessons and instrument) and sing in the school choir, which was well known for Christmas and Easter productions.

I was so engaged playing classical pieces that they were in my head while doing workouts in the pool. I played Mozart, Vivaldi, and Beethoven to swimming sets in the Breaststroke! Well, I forgot my lap count and I got in trouble with the Head coach… and had to start all over! Nonetheless, with a song in my head, I always was a happy camper!

Many of you may not know that I have chronic lymphatic leukemia (CLL), which was diagnosed November 1989 while I was in Arizona on a sabbatical leave. I was rushed back to Calgary via car and a 24-hour ride. The diagnosis was 5 days to live. Visualization and classical music, listening and playing it in my head helped me through that period of my life while people around me in the cancer station were dying daily. I survived and held steady until 2011 when the cancer returned with a vengeance. Six months of chemotherapy 1x week, 8-hrs a day, shrinking to only 90 pounds (I am 5’ 9”), and living with my head in a bucket due to convulsive vomiting was horrendous. However, visualization of healthy blood cells and classical music got me through that episode. It really works! And what did my oncologist have to say at the 2011 cancer return: “ Well you have survived so long, surpassing records…. Now it is your turn! Nice medical statement! Yes, I have ‘beaten’ cancer for 30 years this coming November, and music is my ‘caretaker’!

According to Fiorella (2016), music can have a physical effect on the body; it can can help decrease emotional distress and amplify a variety of moods. It’s said that music is one of the few activities that involves using the majority or entirety of the human brain.

ReachOut.com from Australia presents ways we can use music for mental health:

  • Incorporate music as a wellbeing strategy in your life
  • Learn about the connection between music and mental health
  • Understand the benefits of music.

It has been generally accepted that both listening to and creating music can have various positive effects on mood and mental health. Incorporating music into your everyday life can help to:

  • Elevate mood and motivation
  • Aid relaxation
  • Increase the efficiency of your brain processing

Choice of Music?

Encourage your athletes to get ‘unplugged’ throughout the day and listen to music instead. They can create their own personal music therapy in a few easy steps:

Focus: Classical music is a winner at improving focus. Music that has a tempo of 60 bpm (beats per minute) increases the efficiency of the brain in processing information. The best way to use it is to have it playing softly in the background as you get on with your tasks.

Expression: The next time you’re finding it hard to talk about or express your emotions, try turning to music for help. Creating your own music – whether simply strumming a guitar or composing lyrics to a song – can help you express and process your emotions. It’s more about how it makes you feel, than how it sounds. Remember that no one ever has to hear your music if you don’t want them to.

Social connection: Music can stop you from feeling lonely or isolated. Whether it’s sharing playlists with your friends, or meeting new, like-minded people at your favourite band’s next gig, music connects people.

Creativity: Did you know that listening to or making music allows your brain to think creatively? So, whether it’s a creative project you need to complete, or some new ways to improve your mood, try some different types of music and see what works best for you.

Relaxation: Okay, so this isn’t a huge scientific breakthrough, but it’s worth repeating: music helps you to relax. If you choose the right kind of music, change into some comfy clothes and put your feet up, it’s a safe bet that you’ll feel relaxed in no time.

Motivation: You need to vacuum the house/study/get some exercise, but you just can’t get off the couch? Use your favourite music as a motivational force. Crank up the volume on a killer tune and chances are you’ll find it that much easier to get started.

“The mind is not a vessel that needs filling…

But wood that needs igniting”…

Greek Philosopher Plutarch (46 AD-120 AD)

References:

Fiorella, S. (2016). The power of music on students’ mental health. The Friendship Bench, November 14, 2016. https://thefriendshipbench.org/the-power-of-music-on-students-mental-health/

Merikangas-Ries, K., He, J-ping, Burstein, M., Swanson, S., Avenevoli, S., Cui, L., Benjet, C., Georgiades, K., & Swendsen, J. (2010). Lifetime Prevalence of Mental Disorders in US Adolescents: Results from the National Comorbidity Study-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A).

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(10), 980-989.

http://www.kennydavinfine.com/pages/aboutkdf.html

https://www.abmp.com/updates/blog-posts/how-music-has-power-heal-what-ails-you

https://au.reachout.com/articles/how-to-use-music-for-mental-health

http://www.ephysician.ir/index.php/on-the-scene-news-views-announcements/369-music-miranda

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0890856710004764

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2010.05.017

Tip of the Month – December

Coach Monika Says…


Dealing with Pre-Christmas Stress

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” but also a time when stress levels tend to soar. While Christmas is known as “the season to be jolly,” it can be a significant source of stress for athletes as pressure from family members, studies, semester exams, and other conflicts rise. Some athletes or even coaches may feel overwhelmed by the excess and organizational expectations and therefore become depressed. Most of us are aware of the adverse effects that stress can have on our body as it impacts our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. The holidays may seem more like trying to meet a high-pressure deadline than having a ‘happy’ time!

Try these ‘Christmas stress-busting strategies’ to ease the strain, and help stress melt away:

Taking Time out:
  • Carrying the world on your shoulders and trying to achieve everything alone during the holidays can take its toll on mind and body. Enlist some help in accomplishing some of the tasks on your list, and take personal ‘time out!’
  • De-stressing can have many benefits. Focus on doing something that you find relaxing to recharge your batteries such as reading a book, watching a Christmas movie, listening to music, or treating yourself to a massage. In essence, ‘pamper’ yourself!
  • Starting the day with ‘good vibes’ in your inbox may be just what is needed. Enjoy a humorous cartoon, personal joke in your email, or a picturesque christmas desktop picture…I have a beautiful advent wreath on my desktop screen, showing 4 advent candles. It makes me feel good, lifts, my spirit, and I play the jazz version of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
  • Do a different workout activity away from your regular training routine.
  • Take a ‘break’ from social media! Facebook tends to have a negative effect on your happiness… so, log off and enjoy life outside your cell!
  • Spend time with a ‘furry’ friend or someone’s pet…pets only care about being loved and putting a ‘smile on your face’ … watch an animal documentary or movie!

Why Us ?

Shape Young Athletes
By Having FUN!

INTRODUCING:

Physical Literacy For Children And Youth
Through Fun, Fitness And Fundamentals

Available NOW! – Instant Download or 2-Disk Set

Watch the preview video below!

You will be astonished over the athletic accomplishments of these young athletes’ strength, flexibility, balance, etc.

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 Dr. Monika Schloder Welcomes You To The Home of CoachingBest

Your one-stop for Coaching Tips, Training, and Information for the Athletic Coach

Years of teaching and coaching experience in several sports have provided me with the ability to understand the physical, mental, and emotional requirements for developing beginner to elite level athlete in several sports. The ‘knack’ to analyze sport movement, in essence, detect errors and then develop creative corrections and drills to improve, maximize, and optimize performance – no matter the sport – is one of my greatest assets.

Dr. Monika Scloder, Summer Swim Camp- Turku, Finland

Professional Activities:

  • DVD Production: Swimming; Developing Physical Literacy; Athletic Training
  • Learning Facilitator, Canadian National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), having educated nationally and internationally over 26,000 coaches to date
  • Certified Alberta NCCP Coach Developer (2016)
  • Speaker at International Congresses, Coaching Symposiums, and World Clinics
  • Master Coach in Residence, 1991-2004, for the Los Angeles based 84 Legacy of the Games (former Amateur Athletic Foundation or AAF), program developer for Inner City Minority Youth Education and Leadership
  • Author: Coaching Manuals in Swimming and Soccer
  • Co-author “Coaching Athletes: A Foundation for Success”

Honors:

  • Alberta 2008 Coach of the Year
  • Recipient of 14 International Teaching and Coaching Awards
  • 3M Teaching Fellowship Award for Outstanding Teaching at Canadian Universities
  • Recipient of numerous Teaching Excellence Awards, University of Calgary

At CoachingBest.com we offer sport consulting and coaching education to organizations worldwide with an emphasis on current issues, physical literacy, athlete development, performance analysis, and improvement

Visit our Website CoachingBest.com for ‘Tips of the Week’ and sign up for the free Monthly Newsletter


Dr. Schloder has developed a series of Training DVD’s to help Coaches and Athletes
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ASCA Workshop Conference and Presentation

Happenings from November

With Coach Rebecca Atchley – Dr. Schloder was an External Committee Member for Rebeca’s Masters Project Dr. Schloder’s Workshop Presentation

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Conference Photos

Happenings from September

Latest Happenings!!

 Dr. Monika Schloder at the ASCA World Clinic for Swimming, Jacksonville, Florida, Sept 8, 2014 Presenting at the 4-hour Work shop “Dry-land School for Age Group Swimmers” Coaches participate in her workshops… they don’t just sit!

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Back Arch Demo

Coach Schloder in Istanbul, Turkey Swim Camp , June 9-15

Underneath the swimmer to demonstrate the back arch position after the Back Crawl start. Not too many coaches can do this perfectly!

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Developing Physical Literacy

This highly acclaimed presentation was given by Dr. Schloder at the Canadian Sport for Life Summit (CS4L), which will be available as a movie version. Watch for the up-coming DVD: ‘Physical Activities for Children and Youth. Fundamental Movement Skills in the Pursuit of Excellence and Well-being.’

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3 comments

  1. Michèle Boutin

    Dear Dr. Schloder,

    We are a small competitive swimming club in Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada.
    We are interested in purchasing your DVD+Booklet called Fly Away but it is not available on your online shop.
    Could you please let me know how we could purchase it?

    Best regards,

    Michèle Boutin
    Beaconsfield Bluefins Swim Club
    http://www.bluefins.ca

  2. Augusto Acosta

    I love your work!

  3. Kim Cox

    Super new front page on your website, very informative.

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