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  • Writer's pictureLouise Kochalski

Grandads - What do they know?

(Written 24 June 2021)

Over the last 2 weeks Coach Katy and myself have had conversations with two Grandfathers, not ours I might add, but instead gentlemen who have witnessed what we do in a couple of the different parks across the North East. Now this blog isn't about us blowing our own trumpet, but it is always interesting to hear what people think. Both were really positive about what we do and really felt it was required for the current generation of children. They both felt that when they were younger they climbed trees, and jumped off walls, developed balance, learned the art of falling and importantly learned how to manage risk, and that they could see children these days were not doing that anymore. Both felt their grandchildren were much more scared of certain things than they thought they should be and one also felt their granddaughter was lacking a certain amount of balance and movement confidence. Honestly, we could have hired both men in business development roles. During our conversations they hit the nail on the head in so many ways with what we are trying to achieve! As far as we are aware neither of these men were Sports Scientists or Health Professionals with research to back up what they were saying but there was definitely a decent amount of experience and wisdom in there.

Whilst it is not the be all and end all of what we do, one of the men also picked up a sports performance angle, discussing the Aberdeen and Northern Ireland player Niall McGinn. Now I am definitely not a football expert but his notable observations were around McGinns balance and his ability to always appear ahead of himself and rarely stumbling on his feet. For me this is being athletic and agile, not simply being stronger and faster in a straight line, though those characteristics definitely help, but instead being adaptable and able to react to what happens in front of you, true agility some might say. Interestingly enough a quick search of the McGinn back story shows he didn't just play football as a youngster but also Gaelic Football. Is that why he shows the athletic skills on the ball that he does? I don't have the answer to that but I do believe in developing FUNdamental Movement Skills as a foundation for all sport and physical activity is a must. Beyond that the benefits of playing Multi-Sports are well documented not just from a physical development perspective but also to provide mental balance and prevent burnout. But also often overlooked is the use of Donor Sports. Donor Sports are sports which offer a transfer of varied and specific movement experiences which support performance functionality in the main sport. A good example of this is freestyle skiers and snowboarders who skateboard. Indeed many of whom are pretty good at their second (or third) sport of Skateboarding. Developing balance, proprioception and spacial awareness in a different environment to their own sport develops adaptable and holistic athletes. Indeed Gaelic Football could be considered a Donor Sport for Football itself.

In 2018, research done at Sheffield Hallam University looked at the use of Parkour as a Donor Sport in Youth Team Sports such as Football. The authors concluded that parkour-style training could provide a vehicle for athletic development and skill transfer which could counteract the negative effects of early specialisation in a sport which can be tedious, too repetitive and drill-based, and lacking intensity and dynamism in practice.

How does this relate to Movement Evolution Scotland?

Our Tough Monkees sessions and camps are designed to support the development of FUNdamental Movement Skills, the building blocks as it were. Whilst our Sports sessions, such as Parkour our designed to be enjoyed in their own right but for some they could also be considered a Donor Sport for another sport that they play. As Movement Evolution Scotland grows and develops there will be other Sports added to the mix such as Skateboarding and Rollerskiing challenging balance and coordination, guaranteed to improve movement skills and physical literacy for a healthy life and potentially support the next generation of talented athletes in a number of different sports. We love working with individuals but we also love working with groups to so if your club or team is interested in developing their movement skills to allow your youngsters to flourish please get in touch as we can help.

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