I had a moment this week where a few mothers who pump iron at the gym mentioned their newfound interest in pickle ball. I haven't seen this sport since high school P.E. and was surprised to hear about its rise in popularity. As I thought about what skills the sport requires, I decided it may be time to switch up our training a bit. Pickleball demands a lot of starting and stopping, quick change of directions and tons of rotating as they make contact with the ball. In addition, the cardiovascular system is stressed with quick bursts of energy, done repeatedly over the course of a game. It is not like going out for a simple jog. Its short bursts of effort over and over again!
So what did we do? Well, since these ladies plan on doing athletic things, we must begin training like athletes. We did some box jumps, got the agility ladder out to work on some change of direction skills, built some strength in the lower body to help injury proof the legs and pushed the sled like there was no tomorrow. As we were doing this, I came to realize that this was fun for everyone involved. Training with purpose and intent and having fun while doing so are not mutually exclusive things. They can exist together and if you can find some joy in your training, you will be much better off!
Is Social Media Killing Youth Sports?
In the early 2000’s, while I was finishing up college, I decided to embark on a coaching journey that lasted for 12 seasons. During this time, I began to see changes in the landscape of sports that I did not anticipate or expect. As a football coach, we would go to games and see the opposing teams' sidelines and wonder, where is everyone? Junior Varsity rosters were shrinking due to low participation and there were times when we had a football game with only 15 kids suited up and barely enough lineman to play. During the wrestling season, we would go to matches and compete against teams that had terrible participation. Some programs had less than ten kids competing between grades 7-12! In more recent years, I hear stories of basketball teams struggling to fill their lineups and soccer programs not getting enough athletes out to have a Junior Varsity team. This baffles me.