Mental health and well-being must be two of the most commonly heard phrases at the moment wherever you go, with more and more people being diagnosed with a mental health illness than ever before.
And it’s not just adults. Far from it. There has been a huge increase in the number of children being diagnosed as suffering from anxiety and depression, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is truly heart-breaking. Childhood should be care-free and fun, not stressful.
So, what has changed?
One significant change in recent years (certainly since I was a young lad!) is the amount of time children are spending being active and playing outdoors. This is leading to children becoming weaker and less fit, with one in three children ‘not active enough’.
But it gets worse! As primary school aged children get older, they do less physical activity. Children in Year 1 are more physically active than children in Year 6.
When I was at school, the older you got, the longer you could stay out, so the physical activity levels definitely increased not decreased! This is scary.
How can Speed Training help?
Speed Training is all about physical activity and movement! The UK’s chief medical officers recommend ‘one hour of moderate-vigorous physical activity which leaves children sweaty and out of breath per day’.
We can guarantee Speed Training ticks that box. And then some!
My child already does football, do they really need Speed Training too?
Yes – and more than ever!
Maybe we need to change the name to Movement Training because that is what Speed Training is all about, moving in lots of different ways (at speed!). And it is exactly this type of movement training which many say is the key to solving the problem with children’s physical activity and mental well-being issues.
Since starting Speed Training, we have been shocked at how many children are unable to do what we thought were the most basic of tasks, like running and jumping properly. And don’t even get us started on throwing and catching!
We often play dodgeball as a way to improve movement, agility, hand-eye coordination and a whole host of other things and it is scary how poor some children are simply because they no longer play out doing these things many of us took for granted as youngsters. But don’t worry, one of our favourite things about the Speed Training sessions is seeing how quickly children can improve in these areas.
Nick Cox is the former academy manager of Sheffield United now working at Manchester United (so take his word for it, not mine!). He believes in an emphasis on agility, balance, coordination and speed (coincidentally these are the names of the weekly topics we cover at Speed Training) in primary aged children and that if these things aren’t mastered at a young age then there is no way a child can effectively learn other sports or activities.
Good movement is the key for all sport and physical activity – it is not an add-on.
But how does this help well-being?
Quite simply, the better you can move, the better self-esteem you have and the more self-confidence you have.
Studies show that how you rate yourself physically (both how you look and how you move) has the biggest impact on how you feel overall. The physical is more important than how much money you have, how well you do in school, or how good your social life is or anything else. Your physical self-concept is most important and has the biggest effect on your self-belief.
And it’s so true! I’m sure right now you could name some of the ‘sportiest’ people from your school days and you will recall how they were confident and most probably pretty popular.
And I see it in my classroom all the time. When I introduce a new task to my class there are those who feel confident about it and those who feel less so. But what I have noticed is that this confidence often doesn’t match up to reality!
Children who are academically stronger, who I know will be able to do the task fairly easily very often doubt themselves. Whereas others (the sporty ones!) are confident in having a go and believe they will be successful even if it is going to be much more difficult for them to actually complete because they are not at the same level academically as the other children.
So better movement leads to better well-being as well as better sporting performance down the line. Not to mention the numerous physical health benefits children also receive from sport.
The physical benefits of Speed Training are clear for all to see when you come to the sessions – you can see them moving better, you can see them getting faster, you can see the improvement when they go to the football sessions.
But parents tell us that the best thing about Speed Training is the increased confidence their children get. And that is absolutely amazing, and we love it!
Kids love it too!
Usually something that is good for children is not something they want, like vegetables! But they all love speed training.
My daughters, Lily and Bella, have decided football is not for them, yet they both love Speed Training and attend every week (voluntarily!).
So as devastated as I am that my daughters don’t play football, as a parent I couldn’t be happier that they attend Speed Training, as the movement benefits they receive there will have incredible positive benefits on both their physical and mental health and well-being.
Speed Training – keeping children physical and mentally in shape!