A 17 year old girl, fitness enthusiast and dedicated Olympic style weightlifter and non-competitive Irish dancer. I'm determined to live a healthy lifestyle and take care of my body whilst influencing other young people to do so. I never doubt my ability to achieve something; I just change what I'm doing until I succeed.
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Its been a month since I published my last blog post and I hate to say it but this will probably happen a lot from now up until July. As i'll be sitting my GCSE's during the summer of 2018, I'll be spending more time revising and working out than I will be on social media. Thats not to say that I'm not looking forward to this, sometimes breaks from social media is the best thing you can do in order to feel totally relaxed. In the meantime whilst I haven't been writing I've been getting ahead with my PE coursework, started Weightlifting and dancing again, finished my physiotherapy appointments, coached the junior Weightlifting squad more and began to Kon Mari some more of my belongings. Now that I've briefly updated about myself, I'll now explain my 5 ways I've found help to encourage children to enjoy exercising. Please carry on reading to find out more about this topic.
1. Showing positivity, not competition
One of the best ways of encouraging anyone to do anything is by staying positive. Sports usually revolve around competition, even in the fitness industry. One of the main reasons why some people want to get fit is to be better than someone else, I've been there and sometimes I am there. Children can be competitive when it comes to sports, however if there are children of mixed abilities it is best not to encourage competition. When I've been coaching some of the children in the junior Olympic Weightlifting squad, if they've gotten something incorrect I'll make sure to say something good about their lifts as well as some tips. When competing in sports, confidence can be knocked by viewing those with better skills, unless of course you're the best of the best. When the team have gone into competitions, I will often motivate them in order to stop them feeling negative due to the self-inflicted pressure of competing. Many people don't always understand that you obviously might not be as good at something as other people who train for longer or have been involved in the sport for much longer, unless of course it comes naturally to you.
2. Keeping to yourself
This one may not seem as obvious and may only work depending on your surroundings, however I've noticed that it works for me. If I'm working out individually or begin to bring equipment out, the children will usually become quite invested in what I'm doing. This often results in them trying and continuing to do the exercises along with my guidance. The amount of times my workouts have been interrupted by some shy but incredibly ambitious kids who only want to know more, is rather a lot. But in the end if they're learning something new then I'm all for it! Sometimes kids have spotted my workouts written on the board and have asked for demonstrations. This shows that not always do you have to put exercise right in front of a child, but you can keep to yourself and the curiosity will cause them to feel like joining in.
3. Pacing how much exercise is completed
When encouraging children to exercise, I've learnt to remember that not everyone has the same abilities. Often children are encouraged by more amounts of exercise due to the nature of competition, but sometimes children can be motivated by less amounts of exercise if they lack the ability to do a lot but still want to participate. For instance, many of the children in the Weightlifting squad are very enthusiastic about fitness, but someone has to set limits as to how much exercise is too much. At the young ages they're are (ranging from 7 years old to 12), often the children will want to show off or keep trying until they're physically fatigued and tired. This has often been the case many times when I've been coaching and one time I had to show the group how to do modified pushups as they all could only complete different but low numbers of normal pushups. To stop those who are less able feeling down about watching the others complete more amounts of push ups in order to 'look the best', I made them all complete the same exercise but within their own time. However, if I hadn't of shown them the modified push ups, they would've lacked the proper form to complete a good amount of normal pushups. Sometimes its not common sense for a child to stop or know their limit when exercising, I've been there and have caused myself to work to complete exhaustion resulting in me vomiting. Many times, the children have loaded the Weightlifting bar to their absolute maximum before warming up towards the weight, so guidance is key when children want to exercise. I currently volunteer at a youth club and many of the children there have conditions which stop them from partaking in as much sport compared to some of the other children. This is why that in order to make exercise enjoyable, not pushing children, not expecting too much of them and respecting how hard they're trying is important.
4. Circuit training (An example exercise)
A couple of times I've motivated the children to exercise by organising different activities before we begin Weightlifting. Circuit training is an excellent example of this. You can replicate Weightlifting movements, include strength building exercises and pulse raisers. I would suggest only completing one or two circuits (depending on how much training you expect afterwards and how hard each exercise is). However, the kids enjoyed it because it was something new and interesting to give them a surge of energy before they began lifting. I added in a range of exercises which were usually different at each station (burpees, push ups, sit ups, star jumps, squats etc.)
5. Fitness testing (An example exercise)
More recently, I tried some basic fitness testing with the kids. I used very basic exercises and didn't set any limits for them, however they seemed to motivate each other and show sportsmanship. If any of the children couldn't or didn't want to complete an exercise, I let them sit out or showed them something else they could try. I also joined in with them so they knew what they were doing. Fitness testing is a good way of showing the children their progress after a period of time and is also a great opportunity for them to identify their weaknesses and strengths. The majority of the Olympic Weightlifting squad have only been training between 3- to 9 months, meaning that as they start to train for longer with more precision they can compare their ability from the first test compared to many more. Overall, they enjoyed it and it got them thinking positively about how successful they were.
When testing the kids, I used a really good way of checking their Olympic Weightlifting techniques. The bottom two parts of the sheet involved each lifter attempting both the Snatch and the Clean and jerk until I said it was acceptable or perfect. As they're fairly new to the sport, they often have guidance involving what they need to adjust or correct, whereas with this they had to work out for themselves what was wrong with their lifts. Overtime, the number of attempts will decrease as their lifting technique improves.
Thank you for reading this post, I'm sorry that its only short. Please note that all of these ideas and methods are only posted on my site as a way to inspire. In no way at all am I attempting to copy other ideas and reclaim them as my own. As I'm not a licensed Olympic Weightlifting coach yet and do not currently own a coach number one or two qualification, please note that all activities involving Weightlifting had an official licensed coach present at all times. For heath and safety reasons, children wouldn't be left to their own accord during these activities.