Give the Kids a Break

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As we wind down after a big year, here at GAME PLAY LEARN we value our time-out from the ‘organised world’ and will definitely be enjoying a break over the Australian summer holidays - family, animals, beach time, home time, relaxing, playing.

As we reflect on the Sporting Landscape, breaks seems to be getting squeezed out and replaced with more hours of training, more coaching and more pressure on kids.

In the scramble for talent and commercial interest, sporting organisations and academies now offer year-round programs to ‘get ahead’ and early specialisation rears it ugly head (Read more in ‘Multi-Sport, Multi-Important’). Where childhood was designed for play, exploration, and self-discovery, it’s now lost to the adult world of pushing talent, getting ahead and making sacrifices.

On Twitter ,We posted an article  with Arsene Wenger’s concern for young players and our culture pushing and pressuring kids into a professional lifestyle.

They are under pressure very early to be successful and come in with the fear of not being successful every morning.Arsene Wenger

What’s the answer?

Give the kids a break

A break from routine, away from the structure and control of organisations and institutions. Play, explore, find freedom in nature and space to breathe, imagine, get bored.

We’re slowly recognising our increasingly artificial environment and seeing the evolution in education (with Finland leading the world). But what of our sporting world? What’s the alternative to organised sport promoting elitism and competition above all else? Other than staying inside with increasing screen time, what’s left for our kids? 

Rather than the ‘all or nothing’ mentality how about coming back to the need for balanced lives, and seeing the child as a person first and foremost with the right to enjoying everything life has to offer. The sporting season can be enjoyed just as much as swapping the football boots for a fishing rod.

I have a right to be seen as a child and NOT an ‘athlete’ or ‘talent’. - GAME PLAY LEARN ‘Player Rights Charter’

Reflection Time

Here are the questions from the earlier Arsene Wenger article. Let’s take the opportunity over the holiday break to reflect on our Sporting Landscape:

  • Do we specialise them too early?
  • Do we give them too much coaching too early and not enough freedom?
  • Do we isolate them too early from other sports?
  • Should they not practise other sports at an early age and transfer their skills to our sport?
  • Do we isolate them too early from normal social life?

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3 Comments on “Give the Kids a Break”

  1. Pingback: The PE Playbook - December 2016 Edition - drowningintheshallow

  2. Should we create an alternative to organised sport if t’s promoting elitism and competition above all else?

  3. I’m now facing that dilemma with my 6 year old son. He’s so active and would probably love the social aspect and competition of playing a sport but I don’t want him ‘squashed’ by adult-driven organised sport. His current experience of sport is making up games in the backyard, doing varying activities from marbles to riding bikes to digging holes at the beach. I feel like the longer I can leave it, the more time he’ll have time to grow ‘into’ creativity, not grow ‘out of’ it. Looking forward to a GAME PLAY LEARN event for him!

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