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Try This At Home……………………….
Gather together blocks of different sizes and shapes. You’ll need some that are very small and light and some that are big and heavy. Have your child build a tower using the smallest, lightest blocks on the bottom and the biggest, heaviest blocks on top. Have him note how many blocks he uses and how high the tower gets before it topples over. Next, have him build another tower using the biggest, heaviest blocks on the bottom and the smallest, lightest blocks on top. Again, have him note how many blocks he uses and how high the tower gets. Explain that the towers of blocks are like his success in life. The bottom layer of blocks in the tower equals the amount of work and practice he puts into his activities. If he is diligent and works hard on the basic skills, he is laying a foundation of big, heavy blocks for his tower, and his tower will be sturdy and high. Likewise, if he skips practice, or doesn’t master the basic skills of his activity, he is laying a foundation of small, light blocks for his tower and it won’t get very high before it topples.
From the day your child is born, a foundation of knowledge, experience and morals is being laid which his entire life is built upon. Just as your child isn’t ready to head off to first grade without first learning all of the things that are taught in kindergarten, he isn’t ready to play the game, before he’s learned the rules and basic skills that go along with it.
It isn’t uncommon for your child to want to put the cart before the horse and skip to the fun part, the game, race or fancy tricks, but without a foundation he won’t be nearly as successful. Practice isn’t always fun, but it is a necessary part of becoming good at anything. The whole idea is for the boring part to become automatic, so your child doesn’t even have to think about it. Later, in the most critical, challenging and stressful moments, he can fall back on the boring basics and they will carry him through. When he is challenged the moral, physical and academic foundation he built will keep him from toppling over. The beginning stuff may be boring, but it is vital to being able to do the fancier stuff later.
In soccer for example, your child and his team will have a much better season if they first work on building up their fitness through running, and the basic skills of dribbling, trapping and passing the ball.
I was surprised the first time the national team coach sat me down and showed me an entire years training and racing plan, and then a multiple year plan for making the Olympic team. I was used to following a training schedule, but it had never occurred to me that my day to day workouts were part of a carefully calculated plan that built upon itself month after month. Beginning with the end of the previous season, my training schedule built upon itself in frequency, duration and intensity all culminating at the years ultimate goal, the World Championships. My training was based on five heart rate zones. In the early months of the season I did long easy miles, working in zone one and two and building a low intensity base of endurance; the miles gradually increased until I was riding for four to five hours at a time. Later, zone three, four and five were added, but without the foundation of miles I wouldn’t have been able to handle nearly as much volume and intensity. When training and racing got tough I was able to fall back on the foundation I’d built and it helped keep me from collapsing during a race or tough workout.
The next time your child is being impatient and wants to get to the good part, remind him of the towers he built and explain that building a strong, solid foundation is vital to his success.
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