Being a student-athlete is a unique and demanding journey that requires unwavering dedication, discipline, and hard work. Balancing academic responsibilities with the rigors of athletic training and competition is no small feat. In the midst of these challenges, one tool that can greatly benefit student-athletes is self-reflection. This practice involves looking inward, assessing one's actions, goals and progress, and it can be a game-changer for your personal and athletic development.
So, what is self-reflection?
Self-reflection is the process of examining your thoughts, actions and experiences in an introspective and constructive manner. It's not just about analyzing the past; it's also about setting goals for the future and understanding how to improve.
2023 marks the 10th Anniversary of the STIX Cup Collegiate Showcase, and hockey players looking to take their game to the next level have an exceptional opportunity to showcase their skills and gain exposure to College and University recruiters. The STIX Cup, high-performance, elite showcase event, is set to bring together the best hockey players from across the region in a professionally organized and high-adrenaline setting. Run by college and university coaches, this tournament is designed to expose and educate athletes about post-secondary options, while providing them with invaluable experiences on and off the ice.
Sports have always been a great way for children to learn teamwork, discipline, and leadership. However, it’s not just the game itself that can have an impact on a child’s well-being; it’s also how the adults behave on the sidelines. A child’s sports experience can be heavily influenced by the actions and attitudes of parents, coaches, and spectators.
Early sport specialization is a topic of great interest to sport scientists, but does it factor into parental choices regarding their child’s involvement in sport? Despite the best efforts of athlete development researchers to make their case, the level of early sport specialization continues to increase.
When momma’s happy, everyone is happy! Moms of young children are often less active than their peers who do not have children - presumably because they are too busy putting the needs of everyone else first. Yet when moms are active, they feel better and are setting an important example for their kids and inspiring other moms too!
The recent coverage of the Mitchell Miller story (Boston Bruins rescind contract after NHL says player is ineligible over bullying of a classmate as a young teen) reinforces the importance of character development in sport. Right or wrong, actions during adolescence can have a lasting impact on the rest of your life, and your future goals.
The stats say that 63% of student athletes indicate they’ve experienced a mental health concern that has impacted their ability to perform. But only 11% seek help.* That number alone says a lot about how under-served the athlete population is when it comes to mental health. But when you dig into the stories of that 63%, that’s where our fire for action ignites.
As the seasons shift, the burst of excitement and energy of September shifts quickly into juggling many priorities and fuller family schedules. Setting aside time to plan, involve your children in decision making (yes, they need a lunch EVERYDAY!) and taking care of yourself are all strategies to help you feel prepared this month. We asked Village parents for their top tips to keep their families and themselves as balanced as possible during this transition back to school and activities.
What will your kids do this summer when there is no schedule and few commitments? Does sport lead to an active lifestyle?
During Covid-19, when many sports were not taking place, rather than pick up their shoes and a ball many kids turned to screens to fill in this time. Cochrane’s Sport and Activity survey, 2021 showed that despite a reduction in organized sport, there was not a corresponding increase in unstructured activity despite youth having more free time.
The sense of community that was once an integral part of our lives is much less prevalent today. Our fast paced, technologically advanced society has resulted in an increase in isolation and detachment from our communities, and an increase in social and mental health issues.
We can all agree that it is important for children to be physically active and that there are many benefits to leading a healthy and physically active life – but is it good enough for our children to be active, while we watch from the sidelines?
We know that learning to move, through the development of fundamental movement skills and exploration of movement in various environments, helps us to develop physical literacy – but did you know that movement can help improve academic performance?
We live in a society where “hyper-parenting” or “helicopter parenting” is becoming more prevalent. This style of parenting is seen as a way to protect children and lower their risk of injury and other incidents... but what if we are actually hindering their development and increasing their risk of injury and disease as they age?
When it comes to leading a physically active lifestyle, the benefits are endless and the messages often seem simple, find something you like to do and you will be more likely to do it. However, when it comes to physical activity levels, statistics repeatedly report low levels of activity in children, youth, adulthood and into older adulthood. Physical activity will serve different purposes for us all at different ages and phases in our life but the importance and value it has remain high throughout the lifespan.
Hockey is not just a sport in Canada; it is a part of our culture. Many young Canadian children aspire to be the next “great one” of the sport and many parents support this dream by enrolling their child(ren) in their local community hockey program and then often supplement with more hockey in the spring and summer months to ensure they are getting the best chance to become an excellent hockey player. What if I told you that playing less hockey and participating in other activities and sports can actually have a greater effect on performance in hockey than... more hockey?
Developing physical literacy is an essential part of healthy child development. Children who are exposed to a multitude of movement experiences in a variety of environments are more confident and competent movers, thus giving them a greater chance of remaining active throughout their lifespan. The first five years of a child’s life are the most important in terms of development as the brain is busy growing and creating neural connections with each new experience. The more a child moves their body in different ways, the more connections that are created and the more that child explores those movements, the stronger those connections become building a strong foundation for future learning and development.
When we talk about physical literacy, we are not just talking about the physical act of learning how to move, we also need to consider what motivates us to move. How do we develop a love for movement that will keep us coming back for more?
One easy way to do this is to simply spend time outdoors! Exploring nature’s playground is a great way to help children develop physical literacy – there are plenty of things to climb, balance on, hop over and lots of open space to run and get that heart pumping and feeling good.
Have you ever declined an invitation to go golfing or sat on the sidelines at a slo-pitch game because you don't feel you have the skills required to play? Expanding your 'movement vocabulary' at any age can open up more opportunities for sport and recreation.
Fundamental movement skills are the building blocks of teaching and learning movement. Just as learning the A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s allow us to read, write and count, developing fundamental movement skills help build the foundation that will allow us to move with competence and confidence, giving us more opportunities to stay healthy and physically active throughout the lifespan.
Fundamental movement skills can be broken down into stability skills such as twisting, bending, collapsing, dodging, rolling, twirling, balancing, turning, swinging, stopping, pushing, pulling, bending, stretching; locomotor skills such as walking, running, skipping, hopping, jumping, leaping, galloping, cycling, swimming, sliding, gliding, skating; and object manipulative skills such as catching, throwing, kicking, trapping, striking. Developing a strong foundation of fundamental movement skills allow us to put these together into more complex movements – just as letters and words put together make sentences! These skills don’t just translate to sport specific skills – we need these skills to participate in day-to-day life whether you are a firefighter or simply a grandparent who wants to keep up and play with your grandchildren.
Learning to become competent in a variety of fundamental movement skills is an essential part of the development of physical literacy and it’s actually simple to do! So skip your way to the park, hop to the dinner table, brush your teeth on one foot and wiggle until you giggle!
Visit http://60minkidsclub.org/ for a breakdown of fundamental movement skills and lessons and activities for learning!
Physical Literacy: Building a New Normal for more information on developing FMS throughout the lifespan
PLAY Parent - A survey and information tool to help parents support their child’s development of fundamental movement skills
As the newest division of Village Sports, Village Kids provides innovative, convenient and quality wellness programs and experiences through sport and physical activity, specifically to youth under the age of twelve. We want children, youth and their families to be active, resilient and connected. Village Sports provides the tools for children and youth to reach their full potential in sport and in life.
We want to introduce you to the team behind VIllage Kids. Ashley Fox (Manager, Wellness and Community Programs) and Lea Wiens (Manager, Wellness and Community Development). Ashley and Lea have years of experience in the area of sport and physical literacy, and there are stil often times as parents themselves, feel they don't have it all figured out - the daily struggle to be 'not the worst parent' is real! Parents are under so much pressure these days to be perfect, raise perfect kids and be a stellar role model at all times. We are here to tell you that none of us are perfect, and that is a-ok.
Supporting Your Athletes' Mental Health
There has been enormous progress made in the athletic community in understanding the impact of individual well-being. Over the past eight years we have been encouraged to see organizations and teams invite mental health into their programming.
We have also become increasingly aware of a desire to 'flag' individual athletes when they are struggling or feeling mentally unwell.
While providing support for individuals will always be important, there’s actually another way that coaches can be of service to their athletes’ mental health.
Exploring the world of goal setting and achievement can be an arduous task with so many unique opinions and approaches. Student athletes are influenced daily with themes related to goal setting, planning, motivation, and expectation. The “X-Factor”, with all of the above is finding an approach and strategy that is personalized, achievable and symbiotic within a student athletes’ lifestyle, personality, and circumstance.
We believe in supporting our student-athletes and ensuring they have access to every resource possible to be successful in their sport and in life. New to our 2022/2023 Global Sport Academy Programming, we are offering multiple add on enhancements that fit your needs.
We've got you covered!
There is more to youth sports than meets the eye, and we at Global Sport Academy Group want to offer services to help not only the players grow but also the coaches and parents. Check out our workshops to get the most out of your experience.