Aug 232013

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Kids Sports

Kids Sports

Also according to the National Alliance for Sports, these kids will never play those sports again. Never.

Pass another doughnut and plonk them down at the computer screen until it’s time to take them to hospital in a specially built and reinforced obese person’s ambulance. Never is an awfully long time.

While you are standing on the sidelines of the cricket/netball/hockey/rowing this morning before you drive off to another sideline on the other side of town, do you think your child will be among the 30 per cent who stick at it?

Well, going by research, if you are a yeller, probably not. Children hate mothers and fathers behaving aggressively on the sideline of junior sports events, especially their own.

So, how’s that new barracking rule working for you? You know the one where some sporting codes have introduced lollipops for parents to put in their mouths because their barracking became so out of hand and abusive.

I met a man in the butcher’s shop (where all good gossip happens) and he’s talking about his latest efforts coaching junior teams for his three kids – rugby, league and hockey. This is an intelligent, skilled, thoughtful junior coach out there in the nice suburbs of Brisbane.

“Every weekend I am called a f—wit and even a c—, on the sideline, in a carpark full of Mercedes and BMWs. Even in front of their kids.”

Parents. We’re just fantastic creatures, aren’t we? We tell our kids how much we do for them, driving them everywhere for sport, buy all the gear so they look like mini-professionals – 10-year-olds in $300 boots and top-line $150 compression gear “to reduce lactic acid and muscular fatigue” – and what’s it all about really?

If we’re honest, it’s ego. Not the kids’. The parents’ ego. Deep down, if we interrogate our motives, what starts off as wanting our children to be active and learn to love physical activity can sometimes morph into something else.

What’s all that hoopla about sons in the first XI and first XV stuff? Yes, it’s admirable to strive to sporting excellence. But when I first moved to Brisbane and realised actual grown-up men were standing around at a party talking and obsessing over that kind of thing, I had to check: “You are talking about your KIDS’ sport, aren’t you?”

When I was growing up, parents mostly didn’t really hang around. They dropped you and went off to take care of the other 10 kids in the family. Or did other grown-up things like earn a living, shop for groceries or go to the pub.

Mostly we played sport unwatched. The ref wasn’t screamed at and abused by hostile parents. We played our sport for ourselves – basically for the fun of running around a paddock with our mates. And it was bloody fantastic and enormously freeing.

Someone who has spent his life playing and coaching sport and pondering how to retain young athletes in sport for life is Peter Gahan, head of player and coach development with Australia Baseball, after years at Queensland Academy of Sport. I rang him to pick his brains about kids and sport (in a month of Bernard Tomic’s father assault charges and Nudgee College’s steroid scandal) and to ask: “Where has all the fun gone?”

Fun needs to be at the very heart of sport, says Gahan. Even at the elite level, he says, research now shows all athletes need a fun activity in their training session. He says countries must walk the fine line of wanting elite sportspeople while encouraging mass participation.

“Research looking at 8000 schoolchildren in the UK revealed that the perceived lack of competency and ability stopped them from playing. They wanted to impress and look good but they couldn’t, they gave up,” Gahan says.

He says New Zealand has introduced a fundamental movement skills program in primary school with a sports officer in those schools to oversee the program.

“It covers 14 basic skills including running, hopping, throwing – the basics that are age-specific from Year 1. From what I hear, New Zealand is going to start kicking our arse at the next Olympics because, with this program, they will have a greater pool of athletes to choose from coming through.”

He sees the obesity epidemic as entirely avoidable.

“A lot of the research on childhood obesity points at the fact that the kids are eating the same amount of calories as their fitter counterparts. They are just not moving. They are sitting in front of a TV or computer.”

So, why do most kids quit sport? Well, one of the main reasons, apart from the obvious ones – didn’t like the coach, not enough time, too much pressure – is one parents don’t want to think about: The car ride home.

The car ride home after playing sport can be a game-changer. Whether you are five or 16, the journey from ground to home can be a non-stop parent teaching moment.

Whether you’ve played well or lousy, your dad can let you know what you should have done.

Should have run when you should have passed, should have kicked.

He becomes one of those shoulda- coulda-woulda dads.

Mum goes off about the netball umpire, bitch, and your coach not giving you enough playing time, cow. Yep, that car ride home can be pure joy.

If you can, try not to stuff up the car ride home, Gahan says.

The car ride home is when the kid just wants to quietly let the game sink in – whether a win or a loss.

They know if they’ve played well or badly. You don’t need to tell them. The car’s a pretty intense closed environment. They can sense your every thought, disappointment, anger, even a bit too much pride. It’s all there, crowding in. Every sigh, every shrug is amplified.

So, I ask, what do you say on the car ride home?

Gahan says: “What about, ‘geez, I love watching you play out there’?”

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Jul 162013

June 15, 2013
Thirty high schools and 21 student athletes receive honors for the 2013 HMSA Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program
Robyn Kuraoka
(808) 948-6826

School principals, athletic directors, students, and family members came from across the state to the Hawaii Convention Center today to honor Hawaii’s top high schools and the finest scholar athletes at the 2013 HMSA Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program luncheon.

“Being a teenager and getting through that tremendously challenging period of your life is an accomplishment on its own,” said Elisa Yadao, HMSA’s senior vice president of consumer experience. “These students excelled, earning outstanding grades, practicing exceptional sportsmanship, and giving countless hours of their time to help others. We’re so committed to the Kaimana Program because it highlights the aloha these students share with their classmates, their teammates, and their communities.”

The program, which started in August 2005, recognizes all-around accomplishments by high schools, rewards individual student athletes with scholarships, and supports coaches education. It’s sponsored by HMSA and administered by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association.

At today’s awards ceremony, 21 students received scholarships worth $3,000. Five of those students were named distinguished scholars and received an additional $2,000 each. This year, HMSA unveiled a new scholarship in honor of former HMSA president and chief executive officer Robert P. Hiam. Lucas Gushikuma, a Kauai High School graduate, was awarded an additional $7,500 to use toward his tuition next year at the University of Portland where he plans to study to become a nurse and eventually a doctor.

Thirty high schools were recognized for achieving the highest program scores in their league and division in athletics, academics, sportsmanship, and community service. The 10 highest-scoring schools received a check for $1,500.

The keynote address was presented by Olympic medalist Clarissa Chun, the only woman wrestler from Hawaii to win a medal at the Olympics and the first women’s freestyle wrestler to be nominated to her second Olympic Team. KGMB Sunrise News Anchor Steve Uyehara emceed the awards luncheon. Guest presenters included KITV Sports Anchor and UH Rainbow Warrior Football play-by-play Announcer Robert Kekaula; Josh Pacheco of ESPN Radio; Dave Reardon of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; Dana Takahara-Dias, Department of Education Title IX in Athletics Specialist; and Dave Vinton, director of Sports Programming for OC-16.

About HMSA

Caring for the people of Hawaii is our promise and our privilege. Working together with employers, partners, and physicians and other health care providers, we promote wellness; develop reliable, affordable health plans; and support members with clear, thoughtful guidance.

HMSA is the most experienced health plan in the state, covering more than half of Hawaii’s population. As a recognized leader, we embrace our responsibility to strengthen the health and well-being of our community.

Headquartered on Oahu with centers statewide to serve our members, HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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