Friday, August 14, 2009

An enlightened approach to kids sports in Wisc.

Earlier in the week, I was a guest on Wisconsin Public Radio, an hour speaking about Until It Hurts and other kids' sports issues in the news, notably research showing a 150 per cent jump in injuries to kids during gym class.

During the show, host Joy Cardin and I spoke about how one objective for parents should be instilling a lifelong love of sports, not (or not just) training kids to be picked for an 11-12 travel team.

A listener replied with this email.

"My high school recognized this youth athletics problem in the early 90's. They started offering a class called "Life Sports". A class that opened the doors to other sporting activities that people enjoy throughout their life. For instance: Canoeing, Golf, Tennis, Racquetball, Trap Shooting, Downhill Skiing, and Horseback Riding. Sports that adults can participate in, long after the Dreams of being a Professional Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, and Baseball player have ended."

Another emailed with a tip about a gym teacher in the local high school, Pam Haffely. Haffely also was rethinking old ideas about gym, adding yoga, treadmills and visits to the weight room to old standards like softball and floor hockey.

It makes sense to broaden gym this way, as a strategy for keeping kids participating when their high school days are over. Sensible, but unusual. Are there gym offerings like this where you live?

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