The Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L) 2011 Workshops wrapped up on Thursday in Ottawa. The day was dedicated to exploring how CS4L is working in schools, sports federations, and local governments. Here are some of the key themes from the day:
- “Physical Literacy.” Analogous to the capability to read, the CS4L folks believe that physical literacy will raise the odds that children will have the “motivation, confidence, and understanding to be physically active throughout their lives.” For example, kids who are taught proper running and jumping techniques will be better equipped to participate in any sport and more likely avoid injuries (e.g., learning the right way to fall) that will keep them active.
- Serving Kids with Special Needs. Emphasis on learning fundamental movements and preparing for a life of physical activity also extends to kids with special needs. Delegates from the Special Olympics and other organizations representing the disabled participated fully in the conference and are extending the ideas into their programs.
- Greater Emphasis on Skill Development. Numerous sports federations in Canada were experimenting with programs to refocus youth sports beyond competition to skill development. For example, Baseball Canada initiated the “Rally Caps” program that awards kids different colored caps based on mastering certain baseball skills (similar to karate belts).
- The Unique Needs of Girls in Sports and Fitness. There were many sessions on how coaches, school programs, and sports organizations were addressing the social and psychological differences between boys and girls at different stages of development. For example, at younger ages girls frequently grasp fundamental movement skills faster than boys. Read more about these insights and how they can help guide parents, coaches, and teachers here.
Hats off to the Canadian Sports for Life movement. The organizers and participants are advancing the theory and - more importantly - the practice about what works for kids with regards to sports and fitness. For parents and sports providers in the US, we can learn much from the Canadian experience including the importance of gaining physical literacy, guidance for when to specialize in sports, and practices that work that can help contribute to a life commitment to fitness.
For more information please visit the Canadian Sports for Life website.
Why basic movements and physical literacy is important...