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.
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!
As the scholastic sport season winds down, I’d like to post this message from a coach to his athletes. Circumstances beyond his control left Colin Ward, the head track coach at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, unable to attend the city championships with his athletes – athletes with whom he’d been working for months.
While he couldn’t be there in person, he sent a message that encompasses practical advice with inspirational words. It also embodies the true spirit of scholastic sport.This is the message he sent before the meet.
I want to say good luck to all of you as you head into the City Championships! I wish I could be there to see all of our training pay off. I want you to know, you all have the capacity to exceed yourselves, most of you have worked very hard to get to this point, and with these few tips you will be able to make the most of your experience this week!
1. Cheer for each other and watch each other! Most people need an audience, or at the very least, appreciate the words of encouragement that come from friends and team mates.
2. Support each other. Some people will have great days and simply need to be congratulated, others will have bad days, and just need a friend to sit with.
3. The little things matter! Our team usually does better when the conditions are horrible because we pay attention to details. That means……..
Rest the day before, and get a good sleep before and during competitions.
• Eat well and drink lots of water,
• STAY OUT OF THE SUN AND WIND
• Dress properly. You should have the clothes to stay warm in any weather. The engine only works when it is hot! If you get cold, you may as well throw away months of training.
• Cool down! Most of you know to warm-up properly, but if you don’t cool down you are slowing your recovery. A light jog for 10 -20 minutes is a good use of time after an event.
4. Focus on the positive. You might not do as well as you were hoping to, but beating yourself up over it won’t do any good. Focus instead on what went right, then think about areas for improvement. This is not always easy to do in the heat of the moment, but it is worth keeping in mind.
5. Have fun!! High School will be over before you know it. Enjoy these moments with your team and friends. Years from now it won’t matter how you did, it will just matter that you did.
And post videos and pictures for me, I’ll be following the events closely.”
This is the final blog post until September. I won’t post during the July or August vacation period because I’m not sure there’ll be anyone to read them. Have a great summer!!
A trend in physical education has been to make PE classes less difficult so that every student can enjoy them. So here’s a concept that bucks that trend. It uses a fitness program called CrossFit to make special classes more difficult and challenging. And in at least one high school, it has been extremely successful.
The video above shows an example of how Crossfit concepts can be used in a high school physical education setting, as a program for students who want to work harder than in their traditional PE classes.
For those of you not aware of CrossFit, it’s a strength and conditioning program that employs a mix of aerobic, gymnastics, body weight and Olympic lifting exercises. The exercises are described as “constantly varied function movements” that employ some equipment that you might already have in your storage room, including dumbbells, barbells, jump ropes, gymnastics rings, medicine balls, pull-up bars, kettlebells, plyometric boxes, rowers, resistance bands, and mats. The program is flexible, however, and can be adapted to your existing equipment.
The following types of exercise might be used in a WOD ( or Workout of the Day – this term is used in the video): powerlifting, plyometrics, calisthenics, weight lighting, body-weight exercises, high intensity intervals, running, swimming, indoor rowing and more.
The goal is to improved fitness in 10 different areas: cardiovascular endurance, strength, stamina, speed, flexibility, power, balance, coordination, agility, and accuracy.
While Crossfit is an exercise philosophy, it’s also a competitive fitness sport, with the CrossFit Games conducted every year since 2007. It’s also a commercial enterprise, with over 10,000 affiliated gyms now using it in their exercise offering.
By the way, the term “AMRAP” which was also used in the video, means “as many reps as possible.”
Here’s a funny video about the benefits of exercise and the disadvantages of inactivity. Produced by the European Commission and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), it’s titled “Go On, Get Out of Your Armchair.”
As you can see, those who have risen from their chairs have a considerable advantage in a soccer game (among other things).
Obesity and inactivity isn’t just a North American problem. It’s estimated that low levels of exercise are currently responsible for six of the seven leading risk factors for disease in Europe. The absence of physical exercise, coupled with unhealthy diet, has turned excessive weight into a major public health problem with over 50% of adults overweight or obese in EU countries. And it’s estimated that 22 million kids are overweight in the EU with this figure growing by 400,000 every year.
Bobsled bodies is a fun cooperative contest you can play in class or as an icebreaker. Groups of students sit behind each other in line and wrap their legs around the student in front of them. Then, as a group, they move backwards with only their hands, and the legs of the back student, in touch with the ground. Add several teams in a race and you have a fun activity.
The video below shows how the game works. There’s a long intro at the start and the video isn’t high quality, but it does a great job of showing how the activity is conducted.