Remember back in middle school or even elementary school when movie days were the best days of the week. Those days are still great for high schoolers and college kids. Why? Stress was lower, it was a break of the monotonous schedule, and it was often fun. Even if the movie was duller or even educational, it was a mental break and a chance to learn in a different way. When we teach or coach kids, why aren’t we allowing them to have fun and learn in a different way?
I had a session with hockey players who were between 16-18 years old. Since it was my first session with them, I wanted to gain their trust, build their trust in me, and show them how I can teach them leadership qualities in fun ways. I started by shaking their hands and introducing myself as soon as they walked in the door. Since we were in a small gym, there were no seats, which meant there was more room for activities. As the session progressed, they were talking more, cheering on their teammates, and interacting with me as though they had known me for years. This was one of the best sessions I’ve had with athletes for a few reasons. First, their level of respect for me and each other was magnificent to see. Secondly, they loved participating in the activities and engaging in the breakdown after each one. Lastly, after it ended, they all shook my hand again and told me how much fun the session was.
Sometimes it’s more about the moment than the purpose. Enjoy the moment. Allow your athletes to enjoy the moments because those will be what they remember most.
Making learning fun isn’t difficult, but it is creative. Sometimes an activity is just an activity. One of the best things about playing a sport is the element of fun. When I teach a session, I make sure that there is at least one activity if not two that are just for fun. Here’s a great example of how an activity can just be pure fun. My colleagues and I presented at AASP in October 2017 and did this game known as Entourage or Rock, Paper, Scissor, Cheerleader.