I was always the last kid to know the rules of a game and remember countless times not wanting to play because I just didn’t understand. Football, Rugby or Cricket. In each of these sports I remember vividly my first time playing them and being either told off, laughed at or simply being utterly confused by the game.
My first football match not taking a throw in properly, being offside not knowing how to kick a ball. My first time with a cricket bat not holding it properly, not understanding when to run, being told I was a slogger and should calm down (Whats a slogger I thought!) My first Rugby match not understanding when another kid palmed me in the face. The first ever swimming competition I entered having the adult head of the Boys Brigade I belonged to reduce me to tears because no-one had bothered to find out if the nine year old understood that Free Style meant should swim your fastest stroke (Front Crawl) rather than your best (Breast Stroke) – Sun Tzu says in the Art of War if you don’t explain things properly you are to blame, if you want a Kid swim freestyle and win perhaps try explaining that its not your BEST STYLE its your QUICKEST STYLE.
Adults continually assume that Kids know more than they do and when they get there more often than not . We send our Kids to schools and summer camps and if they’ve had no experience of the sport / activity then there is a larger than not chance that they won’t have a good time.
I’ve booked Boy in to do cricket for a week and he’s never played before. Thinking about my experiences I sent out an eMail to feMATES asking if anyone knew of a young adult in the school who could spend a couple of hours with Boy teaching him the ground rules. Mother Bear replied and Master T a fifteen year old senior was hired at a rate of £6 an hour.
Yesterday morning I sat on a bench with my Kindle and read while 7 year old Boy was enthused with a love of a sport he’d never played before by 15 year old Master T. He covered all of the ground rules and talked Boy through batting, fielding, bowling. Boy came home, grabbed the cricket bat and ball from the garage and spent the next hour hitting the ball into the washing hanging in the garden – a great result.
Now he’s primed with a basic understanding of the sport I hope he’ll pick it up and have a bit more of a love for a sport than his old man does.