For many kids, their introduction to sport and physical activity comes through the school. This can be either a good or a bad thing. A good experience can set them up for a lifetime of athletic achievement and physical activity. A bad experience can turn them away from sport. On this episode of the podcast award winning PE teach Greg Thompson joins us to talk about what makes for good PE, the art of progressing young athletes, using a games-based approach, and thoughts on constraints-led training.
Notes and quotes
Greg Thompson is an award-winning elementary school physical education teacher at Longacre Elementary in the Farmington Public School District in the suburban Detroit. In addition, he works as a performance coach and consultant. He has an USSF A License and has coached soccer at both the club and collegiate level, as well as consulted with Fiji Rugby. In addition, he has been a GAIN faculty member since 2010.
- 5:15 – Texas BBQ.
- 7:15 – Where physical education can go wrong and turn people away from sport. “Don’t cue what is wrong, cue what is next in their developmental growth. You have to build tasks that are accessible. Know the next step in the pattern of development and teach to the next step. “
- 11:00 – Finding a place for failure, humor, and criticism: “The art of teaching is grounded in the relationship of the people you are working with. If you can bring humor, it’s great, but you have to be mindful and have a gauge for where it fits. “
- 13:15 – Getting back to play.
- 14:45 – Constraints and modifying training: “I start out with a plan, but I try to be ready to go in a different direction based on what the athletes are giving back. Kids try stuff because they see I notice when they’re trying stuff. That creates an environment where people are comfortable to fail. “
- 17:15 – Top down vs. bottom up physical education and creating an environment where kids want to experiment.
- 19:45 – Examples of setting up a constraints-based training environment: “Develop a task that will elicit the change you want to see, and a task elicits that it without a lot of verbiage. “
- 24:00 – Developing games and micro-game environments to elicit motor learning games.
- 26:15 – Kinetic chain tension and examples how to teach it.
- 30:15 – Painting good pictures and highlighting good behaviors. “Children have amazing observation skills. No one teaches kids how to walk, but everyone learns how to walk. Seeing someone solve a problem can really help them grasp an idea. “
- 33:30 – Integrating play into the session and starting the session right.
- 35:45 – The basics of games: “Games 101: (1)Everybody is involved, no elimination games. (2) Think about what you want repitition of. (3) Check if it is really eliciting the adaptations you want. (4) Don’t stick with one activity too long. “
To hear more on these topics, listen to the full episode above. Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and review it on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- Join HMMR Plus so you don’t miss all the content on our site, including past episodes of the podcast, our deep article archives, video library, and more.
- This month the site theme is the young athlete and we’ve already put together new podcasts, articles, and premium videos on the topic for members, including a lecture on long term athlete development by Steve Myrland.
- Learn more from Thompson in the companion video for members. Thompson explains the fundamentals of physical education, rhythmic movement teaching progressions, and student created movement. A bonus video also shows Thompson putting a game into practice.
- You can find Thompson on Twitter @gregcoacht. His YouTube Channel also features student created movements from his Rise and Shine training sessions.
- You can learn more from Thompson on GAINcast 37. Vern wrote some notes and take-aways from Thompson’s 2015 GAIN presentation on his blog.
- Constraints-based training is also a topic we have covered in various forms. Nick Lumley has taken a critical look at it, while James de Lacey has illustrated how it looks in practice. Our video lesson with John Pryor also shows examples of how it can be applied to running for team sports.