Development is a Journey
The adage goes “you must learn to walk before you learn to run” and everyone learns to run differently.
It’s easy to talk about being a “development-based” program, but understanding and facilitating the specific mechanisms that go into an effective “development-based” approach is the real challenge we face ourselves with.
Lucky for us, there are loads of incredibly meaningful studies and evidence-based theories at our disposal to aid us in that understanding.
The Importance Of "Skill Transfer"
One of the best supported theories of motor development, and really all areas of development, is the concept of “skill transfer”
This concept is a simple one which explains the range of applications of a learned skill across different tasks or contexts. A great example of skill transfer would be the relationship between learning to walk on a balance beam and one’s ability to balance on a skateboard. It’s the idea that learning a skill in one context will improve similar skills in another context.
To go a step further, a great representation of skill transfer is the football player who grew up playing soccer. As a soccer player, your footwork (lower body coordination) is everything. You can’t truly be an effective soccer player without high levels of lower body coordination. So when a child grows up playing soccer and then decides to pursue football, research tells us that the footwork skills learned as a soccer player will likely transfer over to their participation in football as agility. Even better yet, that footwork coordination may transfer well beyond sports into things like dancing, hiking, and even safer driving.
Our approach is deeply rooted in this concept of skill transfer. We believe that exposure to different skills in different contexts are what provide opportunities to effectively develop the whole body, not only physically, but socially, emotionally and cognitively as well.
Whether we’re using well established research-based development protocols or developing our own protocols to use in class, our development approach will always keep the concept of skill transfer at the core of it.
So when we’re learning soccer, baseball, basketball, or golf, we’re not merely developing better athletes, we’re developing better functioning humans. We’re teaching skills that we hope transfer far beyond the field, beyond the court and beyond the golf course.
Learn to Have Fun & Have Fun to Learn
It's no secret that humans learn best when we are having fun with what we are learning. At a young age finding ways to have fun is easy, however making sure our fun provides an element of learning is the tough part. Furthermore, as teachers, teaching something in a boring fashion is easy, but finding ways to make it fun is the tough part.
Our core job as educators is to seek out that balance between learning in order to have fun and having fun in order to learn. At Playpen Sports Academy we think about this balance every single day. Whether we're teaching something brand new or refining learned skills, making sure our young athletes are having fun while doing so is one of our top priorities.