Improving kids physical literacy with Indian clubs

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Categories: Indian clubs

We’ve been teaching Indian clubs to kids, and one thing is clear: working on improving kids physical literacy makes them taller.
Not in the physical sense, but their self esteem and self confidence grows in leaps. Especially if they are training with their parent and pick up skills faster than the adults!

The Indian clubs have been used for thousand of years to prepare warriors and wrestlers. Training with the clubs involves a fantastic blend of strength, mobility, coordination, sensory processing and body awareness.

Performing strengthening exercises and motor-development work can go a long way toward ensuring your child’s coordination develops to its fullest potential. (source)

The challenge for our kids today

We have been called the couch potato and indoor generation due to our lack of physical play and indoor sedentary lifestyles.
As a result, many kids struggle with moving well, and have basic coordination and balance problems.

According to the American CDC, less than 24% of children 6 to 17 years of age participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Similar findings are reported in other countries.

Kids with poor physical literacy tend to have lower self esteem, and this also limits playing opportunities with friends and socializing.

Kids physical literacy matters

Learning fundamental movements and sport skills early in life ensures that kids are more likely to maintain an active and health enhancing lifestyle later on, according to research done on the subject.

When we were running weekly classes in town, a couple of kids came every week for a little over a year, and their parents reported better concentration skills and school results after only a few weeks.

We have also taught Indian clubs courses in public schools, and over the weeks we learned a few things about the process of teaching kids.

What exactly is physical literacy?

Kids physical literacy can be broken down into a variety of physical competencies:

  • Body control: agility, balance, coordination, rhythm, timing
  • Locomotion: lunge, swing, jump, swim, run, crawl…
  • Object control: throwing, kicking, striking, catching…

On a broader sense, it is the ability to read and respond to the environment, and interact with people or things.

And lastly, physical literacy is the ability to use the body as an instrument of expression and communication.

As you can observe in the videos with Thierry and his 10 year old son Troy, Indian clubs tick many boxes, and Troy is having fun at the same time.

A few simple tips to teach club swinging to kids

Now here’s the thing if you’re planning to teach Indian clubs to kids. They can’t handle too much structure or too lengthy a session.
And even if it looks like they’re not really into it, while you might lose heart, they still soak it all up.

Give them a chance to show you their skills and creativity, and what they can come up with. It might blow you away and leave you wondering where the hell it came from.

Kids do not need to get perfect Indian clubs textbook technique to reap benefits. Be patient, let them play or they might find an excuse to no swing clubs! As long as they’re not going to injure themselves or others, it’s fine.

Make sure you pick an appropriate weight club for them, and go from simple to complex with the exercise choice.
As soon as they can do a club swinging pattern, reinforce it by doing more of it, but add full body movement as a new dimension. You can see an example in the Loop Complex video above.
Stuff you may not find very challenging can be frustrating for beginners. We all learn at our own pace, so respect that!

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