Tip of the Month – December 2019

Coach Monika Says…


No Snooze, You Lose

Image result for asleep at desk images

Researchers keep reporting that more and more children, teens, and adults show signs of tiredness during their daily undertakings. Obviously, this also becomes an issue with many younger and older athletes, and those experiencing a sudden growth spurt. College and University students are likewise affected, especially in classes after lunch, leading to a lack of focus and concentration. In numerous cases, schools in the USA and Canada usually begin between 8:00-9:00 AM, and given this situation in Calgary, Alberta, many children have to take the school bus to be transported as early as 7:00 o’clock. This means ‘rise and shine’ around 5:30 AM! If bedtime and ‘tech gadget’ access are not strictly controlled by parents, children are just not getting enough sleep!

Here are tips from NeuroNation, Germany:

Week 1: Give High-Tech Gadget ‘A Break’ (especially at night)

The Journal of “Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes” published a study, showing that people, who use smartphones after 9:00 PM were more tired the next day, and therefore less resilient and able to perform under pressure. Transfer these findings toward athletes’ training or having to achieve performance standards! Being on the phone late at night makes it more difficult to fall asleep, and impedes regeneration of the body, especially if calls or communication involves the job or business decisions … take note Coaches!

Week 2: Increase Daily Fluid Intake – Stay Hydrated

Tiredness and sleepiness can be ‘triggered’ by poor circulation or limited blood flow to the brain. When drinking less, the blood becomes more viscous (sticky), and less blood flows to the brain, resulting in tiredness. Determine the daily amount of fluid required by your body weight
(approximately 2 liters/8 cups). Have a bottle of mineral water at your office desk, and at your bedside.

Week 3: Adults – Avoid Alcohol late at Night

Most likely, children and teens are not part of this scenario but coaches and older athletes could be affected. Do you like a nightcap, beer or glass of wine, to help you relax? Some people report that alcohol makes them sleepy and it helps them to fall asleep more easily. However, researchers found that sleep quality suffers, resulting in either restlessness or wakening sporadically because adrenalin is produced. It is recommended to avoid consuming alcohol 3-4 hours prior in order to have optimal sleep quality.

Week 4: Stick to ‘Lean Cuisine’

The more fatty food is consumed, the more sleep disturbances can be experienced, according to the Journal of Sleep Medicine. In addition, not only sleep is affected but also tiredness during the day is attributed to the consumption of fatty food. In other words, not only our body shape but also our sleep is going to benefit from proper nutrition.

Keep the ‘Brain Fit’

We receive and absorb a lot of information during the day. In order to ‘survive’ the brain has to make imperative decisions on storing the information that is important and ignoring the lesser one. The more we take in, the more demanding and stressful it is for our brain… and exhaustion sets in. According to the Journal of Neuroscience, even a disorderly or messy desk (homework or studying) can produce fatigue and exhaustion! The best results have been attributed to engaging in ‘brain fitness’ exercises, and of course, having quality sleep. ‘Brain fitness’ strengthens especially work-related memory, which is responsible for sorting out the information base. The stronger and fitter the brain, the less the chance of fatigue and exhaustion.

Examples of Brain Fitness Exercises:

Test your recall: Make a list of things to do, or anything else that comes to mind, and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall.

Do math in your head: Figure out problems without the aid of pencil, paper, or computer; you can make this more difficult – and athletic – by walking at the same time.

Learn a foreign language: The listening and hearing involved stimulate the brain. What’s more, a rich vocabulary has been linked to a reduced risk for cognitive decline.

Create word pictures: Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of any other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.

Draw a map from memory: After returning home from visiting a new place, try to draw a map of the area; repeat this exercise each time you visit a new location.

Challenge your taste buds: When eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs and spices.

Refine your hand-eye abilities: Take up a new hobby that involves fine-motor skills, drawing, painting, assembling a puzzle, etc. Use your non-dominant hand for selected skills or writing

Try a new sport: Start doing an athletic exercise that utilizes both mind and body, such as yoga, golf, or tennis.

Start writing or type / to choose a block

References: 

NeuroNation, Germany: https://sp.neuronation.com/en/

Why Are Tweens Leaving Youth Sport – Part III

Make Sports More FUN – Use Various Learning Styles 

The importance of implementing various teaching/coaching styles (Spectrum of Styles) was discussed in the November Newsletter. In addition, coaches need to incorporate different learning styles for a more enjoyable learning atmosphere, to motivate athletes, and foremost make learning more FUN (Lack of Fun is the main reason for sports dropout, October News). 

Why are learning styles important? Because most people have a preferred way to learn. Some learn best by listening; some have to observe every step, while others have to do it to learn it. The fact is that individuals need all three modalities to truly commit information to memory: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

Schlots:Users:monikaschloder:Desktop:maxresdefault.jpg
Most common learning styles

How many of you are truly aware of the learning style spectrum, and how many of you are actually applying that knowledge on a daily basis? As stated in the earlier discussion, the attentiveness to teaching styles in order to keep athletes’ attention is vital along with consideration for individual learning styles, which makes teaching/coaching much more complex. It is easier to group younger athletes 6-10 years old under one style umbrella whereas teens and older athletes can establish their learning preference through available testing tools.

Pedagogy Experts have established the following Learning Styles: 

Visual Learners: … Athletes learn through seeing  

This group functions well by seeing, observing and watching demonstrations; often have a vivid imagination, need something to watch, and like visual stimuli such as pictures, slides, posters, charts and graphs, and skill demonstration.

Visual learners need to see the teacher’s/coach’s body language and facial expression to fully understand the content or meaning; they tend to be close up in order to avoid visual obstructions (example in swimming, coach should bend down at pool site when talking to swimmers instead of standing high on deck); they may use mental pictures, and learn best from visual displays, including illustrations, diagrams, overheads or transparencies, videos, DVDs, flipcharts, and handouts [notes], computers. 

Print Learning: Athletes learn through printed or written words  

This group prefer charts, whiteboards, handouts, notes or articles to enhance the learning 

Auditory Learners:Athletes learn through listening

This group does well with brief instructions; they are usually excellent listeners, and can learn concepts by listening to tapes; they can reproduce symbols, letters or words by hearing them; they can repeat or fulfill verbal instructions relatively easily. Auditory learners operate best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking it through (with others or by talking to themselves), and listening to others; they interpret underlying meanings of speech through listening to the tone of voice, pitch, speed, and other nuances.

Tactile or Kinesthetic Learners:Athletes learn through moving, doing, and touching (Refers to whole-body movement), and feeling 

This group works best with direct involvement in tasks; often fidget or find a reason to move; often find success in physical response activities; use movement to help concentrate; usually poor listeners, and not particularly attentive to visual or auditory presentations. 

Tactile or Kinesthetic learners are successful through the hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them; they may find it difficult to remain still for long periods of time and may become distracted by their need for activity and exploration (an important consideration when providing drill instructions). I use a variety of techniques to manipulate athletes in the learning of various skills no matter the sport (example: spotting a gymnastics skill, using body manipulation in the water with younger swimmers when teaching the backstroke body position and rotation, butterfly head and arm position, body movement and kick action, sprint action in athletics like arm movement, hurdle leg position, and fencing lunge, etc.).

‘Feeling of something or about something’ is important to some athletes. They associate that ‘special feeling’ with the quality of their movement skills. I asked an 8-year old swimmer ‘what she likes about the water.’ Her answer: it feels like velvet on my skin and I feel good when I move in the water! Interesting, swim coaches often tend to use the slogan ‘feel the water.’ Great! How do you teach that concept? And there is feeling the water with the hands and the feet!

Interactive learning: … Athletes learn through verbalization  

This group prefers to discuss tasks with others, enjoy question and answer sessions; they like to use other people as a ‘sounding board,’ and find small group discussions stimulating; these activities can be used effectively when teaching new concepts or principles. Teachers/coaches should use discovery/problem-solving methods and/or involve athletes in creating drills or other activities.

Haptic learning: … Athletes learn through the sense of touch or grasp 

This group likes a ‘hands-on approach’ to learning, like to do artwork or doodle on notebooks, and succeed with tasks requiring skill manipulation.

Olfactory learning: … Some Athletes are affected by the sense of smell or taste

While others find that smell adds to learning; they are able to identify smells; can associate a particular smell with specific past memories (may not apply directly but may trigger unpleasant memories from a previous competition, or swim meet: such as an athlete having experienced anxiety and stress resulting in an upset stomach and vomiting).

Conclusion:

We discussed the current crisis in children and youth sport in the last three newsletters and the urgency to address the demand on these young athletes by overzealous coaches and ambitious parents at the expense of the #1 reason cited by athletes: Having FUN. Coaches also need to increase their knowledge about the use of multiple teaching/coaching styles and the application of multi-modal learning styles in order to provide a more learning-style centered and motivational training environment.

References:

Schloder, M.E. (2005). Lecture Series. KNES 468. Teaching physical education in secondary schools. Teacher Preparation. Calgary, AB, Canada. University of Calgary. Faculty of Kinesiology.

Schloder, M.E. (2006). Lecture Series. Sociology of Sport: Children and parents in sport. Calgary, AB, Canada. University of Calgary. 

Schloder, M.E. (2011). Fly Away. The butterfly stroke in swimming. Progressive. Sequential. Creative. Experiential. DVD.

Zentner, C., & Mann, M. (Ed.). Shifting perspectives: Transition from coach-centered to athletes challenges faced by a coach and athlete. The Journal of Athlete Centered Coaching, 1(2). October 1. October 1. Denton, TX: Summit Edu Publishing.

Schlots:Users:monikaschloder:Desktop:Unknown.jpeg

Thank You for Your Interest, Support, and Readership in 2019

Wishing you a healthy and successful 2020!

Tip of the Month – November 2019

Coach Monika Says…


Assessing Bad Posture to Avoid Lower Back Pain

Bad posture and lower back pain were discussed in the October Newsletter. Here is the follow-up so you can check and/or assess your athletes’ core and back strength. Coaches can also incorporate these into Warm-up, Cool-down exercises, and/or Conditioning program. They should definitely do so if athletes are showing signs of ‘poor posture’ and/or complain about lower back problems.

Test Your Athletes and Yourself 

Equipment: Mat or Floor

1. Back to Wall Exercise     

Source: The Kalos Exercise Collection; Developing physical literacy for children and youth through FUN, fitness, and fundamentals; Ballet for Athletes: Modified exercises for cross-training

Specific Exercise Focus:

  • Body and head awareness (body position and movement, positional alignment, body incline in supine, head centered, arm extension on floor, legs bent, feet flat and forward) 
  • Balance and control (weight distribution, head, shoulders, back, extended arms)

Start Position: Assume upright standing position against the wall, feet slightly apart, heels against the baseboard, back and head against the wall, face forward, arms extended at sides by body

Action: Assume Start position, tighten the core, bend knees so thighs are at a 90-degree angle, partner checks for ‘hallow’ of the back against the wall [space between back and wall – measuring stick between back and wall – stick hand between space]

If ‘hallow’ exists – push back and head  ‘flush’ against the wall, hold 8 counts, 15 repetitions, and relax

Finish: Stand upright, arms relaxed at sides by the body, and relax 

2. Horizontal Plank

*Testing core strength

Schlots:Users:monikaschloder:Desktop:Scan.jpeg

Specific Exercise Focus:

  • Strength (body position and movement, spine/core, hips, buttocks, thighs, calves, ankles, feet, prolonged held position)
  • Flexibility, suppleness (body position and movement, trunk, hips, pelvis, groin, front of thighs, lower part of legs, feet)

Start Position: Assume prone position on the floor (face down), legs extended, feet together on toes, head aligned with back and looking at floor, bent forearms, hands/palms flat on the floor, fingers forward, back aligned

Action: Assume Start position, tighten the core, pushing with hands against floor, elevate body to horizontal position above floor, shoulder to heel alignment, head centered, maintain positional alignment, hold 8 counts, lower body to floor, 8 repetitions, and relax 

Finish: Prone position, legs extended, feet together, arms extended out in front of body on floor, and relax 

Note: Exercises can be used as part of Warm-up, Cool-down and/or Conditioning program

References:

Das Neue (2019, #38, September 14). Unser Rücken geht zum TÜF (our back goes to TÜF*], p. 50. Hamburg, Germany: Bauer Vertriebs KG. Das Neue. 

Schloder, M.E. (2018). The Kalos Exercise Collection. Calgary, AB, Canada: Arête Sports. Website: www.coachingbest.com

Schloder, M.E. (2017). Developing physical literacy through FUN, fitness, and fundamentals. Calgary, AB, Canada: Arête Sports. Website: www.coachingbest.com

Schloder, M.E. (2016). Ballet for athletes: Modified exercises for cross-training. Calgary, AB, Canada: Arête Sports. Website: www.coachingbest.com

*TÜF is the German TÜVs = Technischer Überwachungsverein [Technical Inspection Association] are German businesses that provide inspection and product certification services

Why Are Tweens Leaving Youth Sports – Part II

Alarming News – Inactivity Increases Among Children and Youth

Before I proceed with the topic for this month’s newsletter, here is alarming news from the World Health Organization (WHO) about the increase of inactivity among children and youth. Four in five teens do not exercise enough! More than 80% of global teens don’t get at least one hour of daily exercise (!), according to a UN health agency study. Teens worldwide do not get enough exercise, compromising their current and future health (WHO, November 22, 2019). 

The study conducted by the UN health agency found 81% of adolescents aged between 11 and 17 fail to get at least one hour of moderate to intense daily physical activity such as walking, riding a bike or playing sports! Four in every five adolescents do not experience the enjoyment and social, physical, and mental health benefits of regular physical activity! The report on global trends for adolescent physical activity – the first of its kind – is based on survey data collected on 1.6 million students from 146 countries and territories between 2001 and 2015. The findings are troubling because physical activity is associated with better heart and respiratory function, mental health and cognitive activity, which have implications for student learning (WHO, November 22, 2019).

Call for Action Needed!

Given these disturbing findings, the sporting world should indeed try its best to attract children and youth and enhance sport participation. We need to take into account the reasons cited for sport dropout, provide challenging but learner-friendly environments, improve teaching/coaching and learning methods, and foremost motivate children and teens to remain active in sports.

Children and Youth Are Not Professional Athletes Nor Miniature Adults – Part II 

‘Sports Take Too Much Time’

In the October Newsletter, ‘Losing interest’ and ‘No longer Fun’ are listed as #1 and #2 reasons for youth sport dropout. ‘It took too much time’ was reason #3. That latter finding ought to be of concern for many sports federations because it is also a common complaint from parents! Numerous youth sports require year-round involvement; operate with heavy weekly training schedules and lengthy practices; athletes are required to attend countless competitions or games, and individual sports encounter lengthy duration for competition or they ‘stretch’ over several days (long weekends).

Schlots:Users:monikaschloder:Desktop:News Months:11 Nov:Jpgs:Slide2.jpg

Here are some examples from my experience as a coach and sports consultant: gymnastics: 10-year-old boy working out 27 hours per week; swimming: young athletes training 2 hours per day in 11-13 sessions per week; hockey: some teams have 120 games, which includes travel games (more than the NHL!); swimming: 3-day meets (Friday session, starting at 4:00 PM; Saturday at 7:30 AM (Warm-up) -1:00 PM; 4:00 PM-8:00 PM; Sunday: ditto Saturday). What about family time, social time, school activities, and study time? What about trying any other sports? NO Time!

…Watching his teenagers compete in a championship swim meet in early June, Polo Trejo was surprised to see USA Swimming ads on large-screen TVs showing kids doing other sports. The video clips of young swimmers playing baseball, soccer, lacrosse and track-and-field and marching in the school band caught Mr. Trejo’s attention because most of the competitive swimmers he knows in California’s Central Valley – including his daughter Alyssa, 18 years old, and son Matthew, 16 – have time only to swim (Potkewitz, 2019)… 

…It’s become a common refrain as more American tweens opt-out of swim teams. From 2013 to 2016, the number of competitive swimmers in the 10-year-old age group dropped by almost 10%, according to USA Swimming, the sport’s governing body, because the sport takes too much time (Potkewitz, 201, citing Simon Simard, The Wall Street Journal, July 2, 2018).

…We know that swimming can be perceived as an all-or-nothing type of sport, and we know that today’s families are busier than ever with activities,” says Matt Farrell, USA Swimming’s chief marketing officer. “So we were facing a choice: Do we want to fight that culture, or decide to own it? (Potkewitz, 2019)… 

So, what can be done to reverse these trends? How do we improve teaching and learning to attract more athletes, and foremost how do we retain them in the specific sport? How can we make sport more FUN? What does it take? 

In early June, USA Swimming launched its new ad campaign showing young swimmers doing other sports, in a move to position itself as a home for multi-sport athletes and gain back some of the kids it has been losing. It is rolling out a new, entry-level membership program called ‘FlexSwim’ for young swimmers ages 5-18, who want to try competitive swimming but commit to only a few days of training a week, and two swim meets a year. In contrast, traditional training for competitive swimmers often means practice every day before school, after school or both, depending on the age group – plus lengthy swim meets on many weekends (Potkewitz, 2019).

The Kalos Model and Multi-sport Incorporation

I firmly believe that all-year-round sports activity, in essence, early specialization before the age of 13 years is detrimental to children’s development. Erik Erikson, a German-American psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on the psychological development of human beings, and most famous for coining the phrase ‘identity crisis’ states that 6-12-year-olds should engage in a smorgasbord of activities – otherwise, they will lack development in their personal movement repertoire. Chris Schwartz, strength and conditioning coach for the NHL Ottawa Senators, said: “my players play hockey but they can’t move.” He likes to get to young athletes early… Why? … Because I am passionate about instilling ‘the fundamentals’ of movement, learning to train, and the importance of general play.”

I had predicted the increase of sport dropout during the mid-1990s, which was then viewed by many coaches in the field and certain sports experts as ‘crazy Schloder’ and ‘being too negative’! Tired of the continuous criticism, I created the eight-year Kalos model, 24 children ages 4.5-5 years, to develop the physical literacy of young swimmers by incorporating multi-sport activities into the swimming program. It is the only one to date worldwide, which follows the progression of young swimmers. AHA! So, “crazy coach Schloder” was actually way ahead of USA Swimming! 

The Kalos program started with 2x 30 minutes of swimming skills and 1x 60 minutes of various multi-sport activities such as recreational gymnastics, body movement and awareness, taught through modified ballet, play-like fencing skills, floor hockey, modified indoor soccer, skipping, hopping, running, jumping, landing skills (when falling), speed skating, throwing and tossing skills, rock climbing (wall), yoga, progressive relaxation, and fitness, among others. 

Swim training increased to 45 minutes by age six and to 60 minutes by age 9-10 while the multi-sport involvement continued 1x per week at 60 minutes. At age 9-10, swim training was conducted 3x per week, followed by 4x per week at age 11-12. Selected multi-sport activities were maintained 1x per week at 60 minutes, combined with a fitness and conditioning program at ages 11-12. 

The children were tested at the onset of the program using the Canadian Fitness Test. They scored far below the norms. However, test scores were way above the national norms (actually off the chart) at the end of the program. Most athletes went on to other sports at the National Junior level. However, those who selected to continue with swimming soon left the sport due to injuries within 6 months (knees and shoulders), while some were told that attendance of 11-13 training sessions was mandatory – otherwise, ‘swim recreation’ with that specific club! Insanity!

Moreover, the success of the Kalos program was based on the careful selection of assistant coaches, who were either physical education graduates or enrolled in the university program at the time and continued to be part of the program after graduation. Together, we developed program philosophy, physical and technical progressions not only in swimming but also in multi-sport activities as each of the 6 female coaches and the male fitness/conditioning coach provided their own expertise in selected activities. My role as the head coach not only included mentorship for all coaches but also incorporating the Canadian National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) as I have been an NCCP Coach Developer in the Canadian system for many years. However, the most significant aspect of this undertaking was the unified approach and philosophy of the coaching staff when making program decisions (without parent interference), and the specialty expertise of each physical education trained coach. 

 ‘Coach is a Poor Teacher?’

Incorporate Various Teaching/Coaching Styles 

‘Coach is a poor teacher’ is the #4 reason for sports dropout whereas ‘If coaches were better teachers’ was reason #5 for getting re-involved in sports. Let’s discuss this because the question is: ‘What makes a good teacher or coach?’ 

First, our teaching/coaching philosophy forms the baseline for our approach with athletes. Second, the way we see them, structure our practice/training sessions, develop their skill progression, and implementation of alternative or cross-training activities is based on that very same philosophical foundation. Third, the teaching and coaching methods/approach reflects the way we deliver the practice which should include implementation of various teaching/coaching styles.

Training young athletes, ages 6-12, requires a multi-teaching/coaching approach because young children are not thus far able to identify their personal learning style whereas older athletes can access various inventories to identify their learning style. It is, however, very common for coaches to use the same style or approach for all participants in a given group because athletes are often grouped homogeneously to ‘save on instructional time.’ This is not beneficial because learning styles and learning rates vary, and generally tend to differ between athletes, and between males and females. Effective delivery of a training session, therefore, becomes a real challenge because one has to include consideration and selection of appropriate styles in the planning process to address the need of the specific group, and/or individual learners. All of us process and perceive information differently, and children do not learn the same way or at the same pace. Furthermore, coaches often train younger athletes the way they themselves were coached during their athletic career (traditional approach). Nevertheless, styles need to be modified or adapted to meet specific individual needs, i.e. fitted to the individual learner or group throughout each session – i.e., try to address each athlete’s learning style at least 2-3 times within the session. Yes, this means, coaches have to acquire a ‘repertoire (broad range) of styles’ for specific ‘learning/teaching moments’ at hand. 

Daily training is designed in the so-called ‘Pre-impact’ planning process in such ways that athletes receive suitable instructions, complimenting individual learning styles at least several times during a given session (Schloder, 2005). This can be accomplished by using the ‘experiential’ learning approach, incorporating flip charts, illustrations, drawings, videos, pictures, mental thought pictures or cues, questioning strategies, holding a dialog or discussion, and varying teaching-coaching styles, etc.

The Spectrum of Teaching Styles

Part of the learning/teaching-coaching paradigm is the ability to incorporate or apply several teaching-coaching styles during daily training. Twelve styles can be used, according to Mosston and Ashworth (1994). The style spectrum is divided into two categories: Reproduction oriented (styles A-E) and Production/Process oriented (styles F-L). 

The A-E Cluster Represent Teacher-centered Styles

Grouping- Reproduction

A Command or Authoritarian Style

B Practice Style

C Reciprocal

D Self-check Style 

E Inclusion Style

Establish:

1. Purpose

2. Role of the Learner

3. Role of the Teacher/Coach

The A-E Cluster – Teacher-centered Styles

A-Command Style– Do as I say; do this; do that

B-Practice Style– given a skill – practice until you get it

C-Reciprocal Style– using a partner or teammate for assistance and feedback

D-Self-check Style– practice the skill and check off the learned skill on the list

E-Inclusion style– includes poor and stronger performers but modifies the skill expectation (for example 4x25m front crawl versus 4x50m versus 1x100m; all swimmers work on the same skill but with different challenges but finish at the same time).

For example, I use the ‘Inclined Rope’ to teach the High jump 

Lower skilled athletes jump at the low end of the rope; higher skilled athletes at the increased height; athletes can move up/down to suit their skill level

The F-L Cluster – Learner-centered Styles

Grouping- Production/Process Oriented

F Discovery and Guided Discovery Style

G Convergent Style

H Divergent Production Style

I Individual Program – Learner Designed Style

J Learner-Initiated Style

K Self-Teaching Style

F-Discovery Style– discovering and problem-solving

G-Guided Discovery Style– setting up a problem-solving skill = what is the best way to? What do we have to do? 

H-Convergent Discovery Style– setting up a problem-solving skill and engage reasoning using critical thinking and trial and error. Why did this work better than that before? 

I-Divergent Discovery Style– same as the previous but come up with variations or options] 

J-Individual Programming Style– design style (for more advanced athletes – can design their exercise complex [sets in swimming] – could be used as input by younger athletes for drill variation) 

K-Learner-Initiated Style– Learners initiate the skills to be learned/trained

L-Self-teaching Style– more for advanced athletes – Learners recognize readiness to move on with certain skills; design a personal program and perform it for self-development

It is evident that the styles within the ‘Spectrum’ act as a progression from the ‘Command or Authoritarian’ styles to those with lesser teacher-coach control styles until reaching the realization of the self-development stage (Styles K and L – older more experienced or elite athletes). 

In the cluster F-L, the physical, social, cognitive, emotional and moral channels of the individual are addressed, which is not the case in the A-E framework. Would it therefore not make sense to discover how athletes learn and therefore be able to respond better to a given approach or skill set? 

The so-called ‘bottom-up’ or part/part/whole-method approach is mostly used in teaching/coaching sport skills. On the other hand, the ‘top-down or whole’ method may be more successful in certain instances, for example teaching gross-motor patterns of a given skill (teaching the butterfly in swimming: learner already knew the front crawl kick – we added the 2-foot kick, used the 2-arm front crawl with lower and wider elbows, and she moved the body like a dolphin or a wave). The DVD “Fly Away: Progressive – Sequential – Creative – Experiential” demonstrates this approach with a three-year-old beginner (Schloder, 2011). 

The experiential learning, discovery, and/or directed discovery styles are very helpful for using the ‘top-down’ approach as athletes gain insight into what works and what doesn’t. Coaches and athletes alike interchange questions to encourage and foster creativity, analytical thinking, and problem-solving. This approach, on the other hand, requires a large selection of teaching and learning cues, and a variety of creative images; it is more time-consuming in the planning process. Nonetheless, it is also very rewarding in the end because it captures the learner’s interest. According to Joan Vickers, University of Calgary Human Performance Lab, this teaching approach has a greater retention factor than the bottom up or part/part-whole method. 

Sports skills can also be divided into two different categories: ‘closed’ and ‘open’ skills. The former takes place under fixed, unchanging environmental conditions. They are predictable with a clearly defined beginning and ending points. Examples are: shooting a free throw, serving a tennis ball, throwing a dart, and swimming in a pool. ‘Open’ skills usually take place under conditions of a temporarily changing environment. Decisions and adjustments have to be made ‘on the run.’ An example would be a quarterback adjusting his throwing based on the location of defensive players.

Cater to Individual Differences and Make the Difference

Now, think about the way you teach or coach. Do you notice or even know the way you affect athletes, especially when changes take place during their growth and development or during injuries? As already discussed, a wide range of individual learning differences is apparent among younger ages, and even more evident during adolescence (14 years and upward). As stated in the previous newsletter, the developmental age can fluctuate by as much as two years within the chronological age in either direction. This means, for example, a 10-year-old can be in the range from 8 to 12 years in his/her developmental age. Most Junior High school teachers have many a tale on that famously trying period of growing up! Every aspect of athletes’ lives is affected and that includes sports activities.

Coaches have to be mindful of such occurrence and identify the potential impact on performance levels and/or scheduling competition events for younger athletes so they can actually master the challenge physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Indeed, emotional maturity may be a real factor when deciding on the kind of competition the athlete should partake. These considerations also pertain to the planning of day-to-day coaching. Is an athlete(s) truly ready or does only the coach think so or the parent[s]? In the end, it is the perception of personal efficacy, competence, self-esteem, and mental factors that make the difference for performance readiness.

The Skill Acquisition Model

The ‘art’ of teaching and coaching (pedagogy) is a process and combines the positive interaction of both teaching and learning. It includes the use of the teaching/coaching ‘toolbox’, comprised of organizational tasks, progressive and sequential drills ranging from simple to complex. 

…I learned long ago that teaching/coaching and learning is an intricate process. One’s success depends upon the ability to adjust, modify, create, and to not be afraid to experiment. ‘Same ole-same ole’ approach is boring and just does not work or motivate! It may include some ‘risk-taking’ and sometimes may not be what everyone else is doing or expecting you to do (Schloder, 2015).

…Drill training has to have purpose and meaning but also provide challenges! Drill variety is created from the base repertoire of drills but needs to link and transfer from the specific warm-up complex (set of exercises) to the specific technical skill training that follows. I refer to this as the skills and thrills” section to encourage creativity and empower athletes. For this reason, I designed the Skill Acquisition Model to enhance skill training with the objective for athletes to understand (comprehend) the purpose of a given skill or movement (Below: Refer to the included Skill Acquisition Model).

References:

Erikson, E. (n.d.). Information Wikipedia. Retrieved November 19, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Erikson

Hedstrom, R., & Gould, D. (2004). Research in youth sports: Critical issues status. White Paper summary of the existing literature. Institute of the study of youth sports. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University. Retrieved October 19, 2019, from http://www.hollistonsoccer. org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/CriticalIssuesYouthSports-2.pdf

Petlichkoff, L.M. (1992). Youth sport participation and withdrawal: Is it simply a matter of FUN? Pediatric Exercise Science, 4(2), 105-110. DOI: doi.org/10.1123/ped.4.2.105 Retrieved October 19, 2019, from https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/pes/4/2/article-p105.xml

Potkewitz, H. (2018, July 2). USA Swimming flips for multi-sport youth athletes. Fighting declining numbers, the swimming governing body offers more flexible options for children who want to do other sports. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://www.wsj.com/ articles/usa-swimming-flips-for-multisport-youth-athletes-1530538198

Reuters News (2019, November 22).

Schloder, M.E. (2011). Fly Away. The butterfly stroke in swimming. Progressive. Sequential. Creative. Experiential. DVD.

Schloder, M.E. (2006). Lecture Series. KNES 245. Sociology of Sport: Children and parents in sport. Calgary, AB, Canada. University of Calgary. Faculty of Kinesiology.

Schloder, M.E. (2005). Lecture Series. KNES 468. Teaching physical education in secondary schools. Teacher Preparation. Calgary, AB, Canada. University of Calgary. Faculty of Kinesiology.

Schwartz, C. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2019, from https://nationalpost.com/sports/hockey/nhl/the-downside-of-year-round-hockey-ottawa-senators-strength-coach-warns-of-declining-athleticism-among-youth

Vickers, J.N. (2003). Decision training: an innovative approach to coaching. Canadian Journal for women in coaching, 3(3), 3-9.

Vickers, J.N. (1990). Instructional design for teaching physical education: A knowledge structures approach. Champaign, ILL: Human Kinetics.

Weiss, M.R., & Petlichkoff, L.M. (1989). Pediatric Exercise Science, 1(3), 195-211. Children’s motivation for participation in and withdrawal from sport: Identifying the missing links. Retrieved October 19, 2019, from DOI: https://doi.org/10.1123/pes.1.3.195

WHO, DW Made for minds, & cw/stb (AFP, Reuters) (2019, November 22). Four in five teens do not exercise enough. Retrieved November 22, 2019, from https://www.dw.com/en/four-in-five-teens-do-not exercise-enough-who/a-51360732

Zentner, C., & Mann, M. (Ed.). Shifting perspectives: Transition from coach-centered to athletes challenges faced by a coach and athlete. The Journal of Athlete Centered Coaching, 1(2). October 1. October 1. Denton, TX: Summit Edu Publishing.


Tip of the Month – October

Coach Monika Says…


Bad Posture and Lower Back Pain

It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed workdays. In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past 3 months. According to medical information, about 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetime in Canada and the USA while 83% suffer from back pain in Germany (Das Neue, Medizin, p. 50). 

Moreover, children and adolescents are complaining increasingly about lower back pain, which experts contribute to ‘bad and/or slouchy’ posture, increase in watching TV, playing video games, use of smartphones and tablets, and lengthy computer involvement. Researchers in the UK and Spain loaded up 50 students with book bags of varying weights and found that backpacks create poor posture and subsequently back issues. Athletes may complain about lower back pain, traced to prolonged use of their tech gadgets, incorrect exercises or training procedures, and by swimmers using extensive kickboard action, and/or overtraining in the butterfly stroke (lower back).

Schlots:Users:monikaschloder:Desktop:Bridge.jpg

Equipment: mat or floor

Specific Exercise Focus:

  • Body and head awareness (body position and movement – positional alignment-body incline in supine, head-centered, arm extension on the floor, legs bent, feet flat and forward) 
  • Balance and control (weight distribution – head, shoulders, back, extended arms, hands, palms, feet; control of incline position, body position)
  • Strength (body position and movement – spine/core, hips, buttocks, thighs, calves, ankles, feet, prolonged held position)
  • Flexibility, suppleness (body position and movement – trunk, hips, pelvis, groin, front of thighs, lower part of legs, feet)

Start Position: Assume supine position on floor (on back), legs bent, feet close to buttocks, together and flat, arms relaxed at sides by body, back aligned

Action: Assume Start position, tighten the core, using full arm support elevate hips/pelvis to incline position, shoulder to knee alignment, head centered, maintain positional alignment, hold 8 counts, lower body to floor, 8 repetitions, and relax 

Finish: Supine position, legs extended, feet together, pointed toes, arms relaxed at sides by body, and relax 

Exercise Variations: 

1. Same Exercise: extend leg to vertical, alternate flex-point toes, repeat, opposite leg

2. Same Exercise: extend leg to vertical, alternating legs

3. Same Exercise: extend leg to vertical, bend at 90-degree angle so lower part of leg is parallel to floor, hold 4 counts, lower leg

4. Same Exercise: perform the exercise with elevated feet on a selected platform (mat), large medicine ball or Physioball

Note: All exercises can be used as part of Warm-up, Cool-down and/or Conditioning program

References:

Das Neue (2019, #38, September 14). Unser Rücken geht zum TÜF (our back goes to TÜF*], p. 50. Hamburg, Germany: Bauer Vertriebs KG. Das Neue. 

Schloder, M.E. (2018). The Kalos exercise collection. Calgary, AB, Canada: Arête Sports. Website: www.coachingbest.com

Schloder, M.E. (2017). Developing physical literacy through FUN, fitness, and fundamentals. Calgary, AB, Canada: Arête Sports. Website: www.coachingbest.com

Schloder, M.E. (2016). Ballet for Athletes: Modified exercises for cross-training. Calgary, AB, Canada: Arête Sports. Website: ww.coachingbest.com

*TÜF is the German TÜVs = Technischer Überwachungsverein [Technical Inspection Association] are German businesses that provide inspection and product certification services

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.

Click here to purchase your copy today!

 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
Image of all DVD product covers

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

View page »

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!

View page »

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!

View page »

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.’

View page »

2 comments

  1. Augusto Acosta

    I love your work!

  2. Kim Cox

    Super new front page on your website, very informative.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Tip of the Month – December 2019

Coach Monika Says… No Snooze, You Lose Researchers keep reporting that more and more children, teens, and adults show signs of tiredness during their daily undertakings. Obviously, this also becomes an issue with many younger and older athletes, and those experiencing a sudden growth spurt. College and University students are likewise affected, especially in classes …

Read more

Why Are Tweens Leaving Youth Sport – Part III

Make Sports More FUN – Use Various Learning Styles  The importance of implementing various teaching/coaching styles (Spectrum of Styles) was discussed in the November Newsletter. In addition, coaches need to incorporate different learning styles for a more enjoyable learning atmosphere, to motivate athletes, and foremost make learning more FUN (Lack of Fun is the main …

Read more