The world has changed almost beyond recognition from my parents childhood to my own kids childhood.
The long and the short of it is, kids play outside much much less then ever before.
There is less call for physical activity in this modern world than probably at any other time in history.
And this is reflected in kids bodies and kids abilities.
Something noted by legendary S&C coach and Baseball S&C specialist Eric Cressey has noted in this recent post:
My experience is similar, I've taught Karate to kids on and off since I was 16.
And these days I'm often seen hanging out at Eoghan Ruadh Hurling Club training sessions and matches watching my own kids.
And yes, I have seen the change.
Having kids myself really brought it into focus.
Working with adults that are a generation below me (yes, I'm getting old) also shows me that Eric is 100% correct.
Once upon a time our GPP (that is strength and conditioning jargon for "General Physical Preparedness" or basic fitness) was taken care of by school yard games of Bulldog, the many variations on Tig (or Tag, depending where you grow up), Duck Duck Goose, Kiss Chase, Hide and Seek and so much more.
These games develop running, direction changing, sprint, agility, cardio, cognition, independence, interdependence, strength, mobility, endurance, toughness, compassion and so much more.
To think that most of these games have been banned because the occasional kid gets a boo-boo (toughness development in that kid, compassion from the other kids) and the helicopter parents complain, it breaks my heart.
Did I get hurt playing some of these games?
One of my teeth STILL wobbles to this day from a particularly brutal version of Bulldog!
What does all this mean?
It means that the world of S&C, the sports coaching, the gyms programs, the PE Teachers (if there's any left) all need to re think their game.
The physical training delivered by coaches had to take into consideration that many bodies are chronically under developed. That the feet are under developed. The aerobic system is under developed. That the majority are living in a state of sympathetic arousal. Physical literacy now needs to be taught, because it's no longer learned from a very young age. I first read tis in an article approx 20 years ago, that kids for the first time in history were recording lower test scores than the previous years. That is a test of jumping, sprinting and a couple of upper body strength tests.
It's heart breaking to think this.
The fitness training world has to change to accommodate this fact
Or kids have to be reintroduced to REAL PE, actual Physical Education with a capital EDUCATION Learning that they're not made of glass That they can get up when they fall down That a skinned knee is only a skinned knee That a flat out sprint is a genuinely liberating experience That throwing and catching are as natural as burping and farting That being the guy that tries and fails is going to garner more support than being the "cool guy" that never tries in the first place.
The question is, how are you, you the adult person reading this blog, how are you going to influence those around you into being a better human animal?