Chapter 5

2. How to work with adults and children together through individual and collective sports

There is so much that can be said under this chapter! Although it might sound as a very broad and wide topic to discuss, we will try to explore some key-points that can be useful for your work:


(a) How to engage and increase motivation


SCENARIO: you have tried your best, but things don’t seem to work very well. Guardians seem reluctant to seriously engage in your FFS activity and children have lost their motivation as well.

PLAN B: It is obvious that the team needs a reset. Stop your training program, gather the group together in a circle and ask them to brainstorm on a new game. They should define the goal, the rules and the prize for the winning team/person. Set a certain time frame for this activity. To make it fairer (and more entertaining!) set some obstacles to the adults (for ex. to run with closed eyes, jump in one leg, to carry some weight etc.). In the end of the game the winner will decide what kind of exercise the loser will do as a punishment for losing. Use this technique regularly and keep the score along the long-term training period. This tactic will boost the motivation of your participants without destroying your regular training process.


(b) How to ensure mutual acceptance, inclusion and equal participation


SCENARIO: you have noticed that some of the members tend to be left out. Or – speaking for some individual sport- the guardian is constantly questioning and trying to overshadow the child.

PLAN B: It’s time to take some action! If your sport involves some scoring, counting time, counting height or distance, in the role of the trainer start changing the numbers according to the number of “breaches” the “offenders” are falling to or count them randomly in favor of the weak party. For instance, cut down a few points in score without explaining, remove the score all together, give extra points to the “victim” without explanation, exclude the “offender” from some activity without reasoning, whistling a foul even when it is not. Of course, in the beginning there would be some protesting, but keep your cool and give no explanation. After some time, bring the team together and ask for their feelings and thoughts about what had just happened. Now it is time to reveal your plan and explain the real reasons behind it. Lesson learned!


(c) How to avoid comparison with other guardians-children or between family members


SCENARIO: your group’s dynamic is not very uniform. Some members are skillful and more experienced; some others are weaker and left behind. You sense that this is causing some disappointment and disturbs the team’s cohesion and balance.

PLAN B: gather your team together and ask them to make random pairs. Each pair should involve one child and one guardian but not the guardian of that particular child (in individual sports this step is not necessary). The pairs have a few minutes to discuss and come up with at least 3 things that their pair thrives in that particular sport but is a weak point of the other pair (ex. I am not good at running fast, but my pair is really good at that). The results are presented in the group, which then will discuss the variety of skills and competences within the team, the importance of this polyphony and how this can lead to a successful team.