Snow Swimming in Finland

It’s February and for those of us in northern climates the ground is covered with snow. The key to dealing with a long, snowy winter, is to either embrace it or leave it. The Finns have definitely learned how to embrace it – I doubt there’s a country in the world with a higher participation rate in cross-country skiing.

However, nordic skiing isn’t the only snow-related sport in Finland. For example, what do Finns do when their swimming pools freeze over? Well, they swim anyway!

This video of the Finnish snow-swimming championships should be good for a laugh (although I’m not sure about its applicability to your physical education classes). I particularly like the snow-swimming flip turns.


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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,snow swimming in Finland,swimming in the snow>[/tags]

If They Can Block-Schedule Physical Education, Why Not Lunch?

School-Lunch-Photo_blog

Although physical educators have long realized the importance of Quality Daily Physical Education, the need for such programs is still not a priority for parents and policy makers. This is highlighted by the fact that many school boards still use block-scheduling for physical education classes. That is, they schedule a child’s PE classes in either the first or second semester instead of providing them throughout the school year.

Unfortunately, the administrators who make educational policy are often academics with no grounding in physical fitness—their decisions are based on efficiency rather than sound physiological principles.

This problem were amusingly illustrated as far back as 1990, in a book by Gordon Stewart called “Running Through My Mind.” In this book, he described the thoughts of Dr. Bill Ross of the Department of Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby British Columbia.

Here’s an excerpt from Mr. Stewart’s article, “Games Children Should Play.”

“In spite of the overwhelming evidence of its value, daily physical education is still more a dream than reality. Some schools move even farther from the ideal with a system known as block scheduling, where a subject is taught every day one semester and not at all the next.”

Ask Dr. Ross about block scheduling and he gets even more worked up than he does about childhood games.

“The biological nature of children and youth must be a mystery to educational planners who schedule physical education for students one semester and leave it out the next,” says Dr. Ross. “If they want to be efficient, they should do the same with lunch.

“A lunch period every day is really inefficient. Why not five lunches every Monday? A student could get all his eating finished on the first day of the week and not disrupt his schedule for the remaining four days.

“Ridiculous? No more so than scheduling physical education every day one semester and omitting it from the timetable the next semester. Exercise is a metabolic activity every bit as much as eating is. Daily physical activity is crucial for normal growth and development.”

So where does this leave us? If block-scheduling is here to stay, intramural sports and after-school sports activities are crucial. But a more logical step is to lobby against the crazy practice and to lobby for quality daily physical education.

Reference: Excerpt reprinted with permission of the publisher: Gordon W. Stewart, “Games children should play,” from Running Through My Mind, Victoria: 3S Fitness Group Ltd., 1990.
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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,fitness,children's health, PE scheduling>[/tags]

The Happy Gilmore Driving Technique – Can it Actually Produce Longer Drives?

It’s almost the holiday season, and with that season comes the opportunity to watch movies. One of my all-time favourite sports movies is Happy Gilmore, in which an ex-hockey player, played by Adam Sandler, takes up golf and uses a driving technique that is half golf drive and half hockey slapshot.

It’s a technique that’s unlikely to be effective. Or is it? In fact, Fox Sport Network’s “Sport Science” studied Happy Gilmore’s technique to see if it could actually yield more driving yards. As a subject, they used pro golfer and 2008 PGA Player of the Year, Padraig Harrington. Harrington learned the Happy Gilmore technique, took some test wacks, then compared those drives to his average driving distance of 296 yards.

Rather surprisingly, Harrington’s Happy Gilmore drives were significantly longer than his traditional drives. Truly significant – in fact, 30 yards longer! Of interest, although initiated by a moving run-up, his body position during the swing and at contact were similar to that of his stationary technique.

The explanation? The moving run-up gave him momentum as he took his swing, and also improved his ability to make a larger shoulder turn for better torso torque. The result was an increase in club-head speed from 107 miles per hour to 114 miles per hour!

So why don’t more golfers use the Happy Gilmore technique? The risk of inconsistency and inaccuracy. As Harrington said, “I’m too cautious for that.”

Check out this video of the test.

Happy holidays…and Happy Gilmore too.
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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,golf,golf driving,Happy Gilmore,>[/tags]

The Buddy Bench Improves Inclusiveness During Recess Periods

Recess can be an excellent opportunity for children to engage in fitness activities. However for some children, recess isn’t fun – it’s a cruel reminder that they aren’t part of the in-crowd. Excluded from group games and activities, they stand on the sidelines watching and wishing they were part of the fun.

That’s where the “buddy bench” comes in. First used in Germany, the buddy bench is a simple idea that will help to improve inclusiveness during your school’s recess periods.

The buddy bench is a designated bench that you place on your school grounds. If a student has no one to play with, they sit on the bench. If students see someone sitting on the buddy bench, they know they should ask them to play or join the activities they are engaged in.
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The concept has proven to be extremely effective in schools across North America. The benches have been donated to schools by local businesses, parents, or interested charitable groups. They have also been built by the schools themselves as a group project. The benches can be painted and designed to be visible and can include all sorts of inclusive sayings and mottos.

It’s a great idea. Here’s a video about the buddy bench.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,buddy bench,recess,inclusiveness>[/tags]

The Coach Who Never Punts

Here’s an excellent Grantland video about high school football coach Kevin Kelly of Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas, who never punts, regardless of his field position. On kickoffs, he kicks nothing but onside kicks.

This is an excellent example of a coach who has re-examined conventional thinking about his sport and defied public pressure to use a strategy that seems to work better.

In this video, he explains the math and odds behind his no-punting strategy.

Even if you’re not a football fan, this video is worth watching just to observe the thought process that led him to his radical strategy.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGDaOJAYHfo

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]no-punt strategy,football coaching,football strategy>[/tags]

Want Smarter Kids with More Brain Cells? Give Them Daily Physical Education in School!

I’ve become a big fan of the TedTalks and TedxTalks series of public lectures as a way to learn about the latest information on dozens of different topics. I recently found a lecture on the potential of quality daily physical education in our schools. This talk discussed the ability to not only improves students’ health and behavior, but also their ability to learn.

This talk was conducted by Paul Zientarski, a physical educator at Naperville Central High School in Illinois. This school participated in an international math and science test called the Timms test and scored number one in the world in science, and number six in math. They also happen to engage all students in quality daily physical education.

Mr. Zientarski describes how a Harvard researcher conducted a study on Naperville High School and discovered that new learning doesn’t build new brain cells. However, exercise does. In simpler terms, at Naperville HS, daily physical education classes were making new brain cells and the academic classes were filling those new brain cells with knowledge.

The video also gives a brief description of Naperville’s QDPE program. It includes new technology, such as the use of heart rate monitors to individually evaluate how hard students were working. Students are tested based on individual improvement rather than the ability to perform sports skills. As wide range of activities are introduced and traditional team sports are taught, but through small-sided games, with participation as the goal.

Not only has academic performance improved school-wide, so has behavior and childhood obesity levels.

I can’t think of a better way for physical educators to fire up for the new school year than by watching this 14 minute video. Have a great year!

 

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]quality daily physical education,pe and academics,physical education and academic achievement>[/tags]

A Good Luck Message From A Caring Coach