Monthly Archives: September 2013

Sep 25

Sometimes the coach just has to brag

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Image of basketball on fire

This was me shooting tonight!

I think most of my posts are pretty good. I try to put good solid information out there. I try to put my ideas out hoping that a parent, coach or teacher may find it useful and help a kid or two have fun and improve.

This post has nothing to do with that.

This post is to brag about tonight’s basketball game that I played in. That’s all…just to brag, and maybe relive some of the fun and satisfaction.

I typically play basketball on Saturday mornings and Wednesday nights. I’m usually one of the oldest, slowest and worst shooters out there. Not being mean…just being honest. Occasionally, I will have good days.

Tonight was one of them.

We played half court, three on three. It was a very light crowd. The first game, my team got blown away. I took about ten shots…made zero. Depressing.

But the second game, I caught fire. I made half of the team goals. I made the last five goals. I shot from outside and even drove to the basket (not easy when you’re old, slow, and never were very skilled).

Making the game winning shot was awesome.

The third game, I wasn’t quite as good, but I still manged to score three of the last five baskets. And again, the game winner!

I guess if there’s a moral to this story, it’s that you’re never to old to play and have fun. And sometimes, you get to be a hero!

Sep 24

Parenting, Time and Youth Sports

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

As a parent whose son has gone on to college, I think back about the things we did in youth sports.

Something worked fairly well. A lot didn’t.

I think I learned a lot…but I wonder as I watch my step-son. He’s eight and kinda into youth sports. (Being a step-parent is a whole nother issue!).

But what strikes me most is how quick is seems to go by.

When my son was 6, I thought we had a lot of time. And before I knew it, he was 17 a high school senior and ending his sporting career (or at least mine as an observer).

It happened so fast. I wonder if I should have put more time into helping him. Or maybe I put too much effort. I wonder if I should have taken more pictures or what I could do to make it last longer.

There’s so many parents out there watching their kids play. They yell, encourage and cheer. They spend a lot of money getting them in leagues, paying for equipment, coaches, traveling. They spend a fortune of time getting the kids to practice, back home, feeding them, to their matches.

And in a blink of an eye…it’s over.

All my friends whose kids have graduated feel the same way. There’s a sense of loss. And also a ton of great memories.

As a parent, are you taking time to appreciate watching your kid play?

Are you telling them how much you enjoy watching them? Because to me, it wasn’t the successes that he had. It was how much I loved watching him play.

Sep 23

Adapted Physical Education Goals

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Setting goals for special needs students can be challenging.

As an APE Specialist, I have to come up with goals for my students. There are two types. The official goals are on the IEP. Usually, there’s one or two goals that address a student’s gross motor needs.

Ideally, these goals would mean that they would get the student up into a mainstream physical education class. But that isn’t really practical for the vast majority of students that I work with.

These goals are specific and measurable. There is a time limit on them (one year, broken up into quarterly periods) and specific. I try to make these easy to accomplish and measure. Another consideration I have is if they can be understood and picked up by another APE specialist.

You wouldn’t put a swimming goal for a student because the next school might not have access to a pool. Typically, my goals won’t have any specific type or size of equipment at all. Though sometimes a goal such as catching or throwing a ball is required.

In this case, I’ll word it as a “tennis ball size” so that another therapist has some options. Technically, if it’s in an IEP then that equipment is supposed to be provided. A pool could get pretty darn expensive!

The second type of goals I will cover in another post.

The other type of goal is a general and less

Sep 23

Skipping Stones for Kids Throwing Development

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

image of child skipping stones

Skipping stones is a lot of fun

When you were a kid, did you use to skip stones? We did…and we could do it for hours.

I was pretty good at it. I could get it to skip pretty far, fairly often and usually get three to six skips in. Not bad…not great. I nailed the spin and the sidearm throw…just couldn’t get all the power I wanted.

As a kid, I didn’t have the greatest arm. I could throw with accuracy and could get good spin on the ball. I just never had much power.

Now, I know the problem is that I never used my body. I tried to throw with my arm and not my legs and hips. I didn’t use my body weight or rotation to develop the release speed and power I needed to have a great arm.

But I can tell you that most of the kids I see throwing today are much worse than I ever was. They don’t have the body rotation, the arm speed, the control. They don’t have any accuracy or technique.

I wonder how much skipping of stones they did. Probably not much. Because there’s not a lot of places or opportunities for kids to get out and just be kids.

Today, I took my eight year old stepson out to a lake and we skipped some stones. I think my technique was at least as good as it was when I was a kid.

We had a lot of fun. And I hope he learns to get a better arm than I had.

Sep 22

Crossfit for Kids

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Crossfit is popular for men and women

One of the more popular fitness trends is Crossfit. Here in the South Bay Area they are popping up all over the place. There are at least three of them within a few miles of my house.

There are a many traits of Crossfit that I like:

1. They don’t specialize. This is great for kids who need to develop their general athletic fitness and skills.
2. They change exercises and routines frequently. This prevents boredom and stagnation.
3. They work cardio and strength into every workout. Necessary for physical development.
4. It tries to be a group activity. By making it a group activity it is more fun which encourages everyone to keep coming back.

These are great for adults as well as kids. But Crossfit goes into other areas that I don’t agree with. This is true for adults as well as children.

1. Every workout should be as hard as possible. This isn’t healthy, practical or even fun.

2. They encourage participants to go to failure and even to the point of vomiting. This can lead to some very serious health issues including the failure of the kidneys.

3. Olympic lifts done for numbers. The lifting experts I read have big problems with the Crossfit method of lifting. For kids, it could be disastrous as many of them don’t have the maturity to focus on lifting correctly. (Which is why I encourage coaches and kids to perform body weight exercises).

Crossfit like any program is largely determined by the quality of coaches that are leading the group. A great coach or trainer will use common sense, experience and knowledge in working with athletes both young and old.

If you’re using Crossfit for yourself or your kids, I encourage you to keep an eye out of over zealous coaches and programs. If it seems dangerous or unsafe…it probably is.

Sep 18

Variety is the Spice of Life for Injury Prevention for Youth Athletes

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

boy jumping

Image of boy jumping

Running up and down the court, pitch or field is hard on knees. Especially, those that aren’t strengthened by supporting exercises.

You’d get that strength and support by normal activities like running around and playing. Unfortunately, too many kids don’t run enough during the day.

So as a coach, parent or teacher, if you want to help prevent injuries as well as just improve the conditioning and strength of your athletes then have them build up their leg strength.

One way to do that is to teach them to jump and land correctly.

When they’ve learned how to land correctly, give a variety of jumping activities to simulate game conditions. Here are some ideas to try:

1. Landing on both feet
2. Landing on either foot
3. Jumping over different heights
4. Jumping for distance as well as height
5. Jumping over moving obstacles such as teammates, ropes or balls
6. Running and jumping
7. Jump after moving in different patterns; skip, hop, gallop, leap
8. Jump or hop and stick the landing
9. Jump or hop and then run forward
10. Jump or hop and then go into a different direction

Some of these variations are easy; some are more difficult. Chose the easiest ones first and then move to ones that are more challenging.

And remember…keep it fun.