It takes a creative brain to figure out what makes a child excited during a one-on-one training session. One of our trainers explains here the ingenious ways she was able to engage a child in this report.
Client: Boy (Let’s call him Kyle)
Age: 10. Been with Energetic Juniors since age 6.
Profile: Kyle isn’t into sports. Enjoys individual physical activities.
Loses focus easily. Has worked with occupational therapists in the past.
Has done best with high-energy, very creative trainers who continue to mix things up.
Kyle’s Mom’s goal: We discussed that he can be exposed to different sports and part of the goal is to give him the tools and help him find something he might enjoy playing with friends.
Update on Training
Kyle is an exceptionally smart boy who needs a very intellectually stimulating environment to get him engaged. In helping him to develop functional fitness skills, I have found the most success with the following techniques:
Active Narrative: I noticed that he has a lot of military history books in his room, most prominently a group of books about World War I. Using our combined equipment, Kyle and I have built a barracks, dug a trench, bombarded the enemy, and ventured numerous times into No Man’s Land to retrieve our weaponry. This has enabled him to be my history teacher, which he likes particularly, and has kept him open to my military strategies, which have involved learning how to throw 4, 8, 10, and 20 lb sandbells over a blockade using overhead, chest press, scoop, and oblique rotational techniques, climb over a pillow barricade and sprint back to safety. He is very open to active narrative and we might be fighting the Great War for a while together.
Science Experimentation: The only other technique that has proven to be more successful with Kyle other than active narrative has been science experimentation. Since my equipment is largely versatile and open-ended in nature, it lends itself to experimentation. We have played a lot of games of tug of war using various implements (elastic materials, rigid materials), standing, seated, and lying down. We have done numerous balancing experiments (balancing on a soft surface, on a hard one, which foot is easier, which is harder, moving from one raised surface to another without losing balance). We have done a full battery of throwing experiments, repeated and re-tested as per the scientific method, and have determined that, regardless of weight, the scoop throw is the most efficient method of throwing any type of object (ball, sandbell, etc.). We have determined the best methods of demolishing plastic cone towers (kicking a soccer ball vs. throwing a basketball). We have also done some calisthenic contact experiments which are actually derived from the weight sharing techniques I learned when I studied with Pilobolus. However, the most important and most recent experimental result is that he built himself a tower of sandbells, tied and knotted it up in a rigid stretching strap, and learned how to deadlift 42 lbs. with perfect form, which is something that a lot of adults would struggle to learn.
Discoveries and Suggestions for the Future
I have high hopes for the end of this cold weather as well, so that Kyle and I could expand on our work together in a freer environment outdoors. I also really see in him the makings of a natural weightlifter, and that is a sentence I have never written before. I think it would be great for him to have some access to dumbbells and kettlebells and atlas stones and logs and heavy things to experiment with and enjoy, and I am looking into a place that might welcome him just as he is to play around and do what he wants to do.
Energetic Juniors Youth Certified Trainer