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The Brain Wants You To Lighten Up And Get More Creative

The Brain Wants You To Lighten Up And Get More Creative

I see so many parents, coaches and kids stressed out trying stay in the race that doesn’t exist. This phenomenon of athletic scholarship as the Holy Grail is being fueled to a large degree by the tremendous cost of a college education. State schools are running to the tune of about $25,000 a year. Private colleges can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000. When you combine this cost with the additional expense of student loans which we will discuss in a future book more closely you have a recipe for adulting kids, angst, and disaster.

I have talked a lot about the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for kids. I believe strongly that most kids will benefit from the journey when they are allowed to own their own sports participation.

Now there is scientific evidence to back that up. Once Kaufman and Gergoire say kids play best when they love what they are doing. Their participation must be “emotionally interesting and personally meaningful.” Their theory is that the more you enjoy the work, the more work you will get done.

When you take that a step further as author William S. Burroughs did and cut up random lines from a text and try and create new sentences you see how the brain wants and needs new experiences.  It was called intellectual exploration. Novelist Jack Keraouc is famous for writing about adventure and nonconformity. He wrote the “best teacher is experience.”

Among the big 5 personality traits, openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, studies say that openness to new experiences is essential in creativity. Making the experience your own is a key component in creative work.

Now as I like to do, let’s extrapolate this into the classroom and the playing field. Forcing kids to sit in a seat for hours on end and writing or regurgitating information so they can pass attest is actually, scientifically, harmful to them. This process can and does actually make it harder for them to learn the material and then pass the test. Common core be damned!

When you transfer it onto the playing field, where kids’ movement and activity are being controlled by adults for the pursuit of victory, they are actually diminishing the possibility of victory. These kids are either being told what do constantly or are being put in a position where the ones who play are the ones who do the coaches bidding. (Interesting to see the dynamic when the coach and the parent disagree on how, when, and where the player should be used)

I recently was called in to monitor a 6 year old soccer practice and the ensuing game. The coach was a little hesitant at first when I told we would be playing Simon Sez, but she quickly came on board when the kids started to really enjoy doing it.

We explained to her how Simon Sez allows the children to use many of their motor skills. They get to run, stop, turn, strategize and have fun doing it. The clincher was when I whispered to the coach that “for the next one, say Simon Sez chase the coach.” The kids loved it.

Then it happened. I then went to a game. A 32 minute game with 6 year olds had 11 minutes of action. Even worse there were 29 instructions yelled at the children in the first half alone.

When I set up a free play game after with multiple balls one coach went over to the parents and said “I hope none of you get hurt by the kids kicking the balls,” I couldn’t believe it. But it got worse. When I asked her why she did this she said: “I was hired to coach these kids and that is exactly what I am going to do.”

She got fired.

Written by : Jennifer