Recently, the PHE Canada National Conference steering committee approached me to write a guest blog for them with the theme of "A Physical Literacy Uprising" which is the theme of their National Conference in Banff from April 30-May 2nd. So here is a snippet of my journey through physical literacy.
My first experience with PHE Canada was at the Student Leadership Conference in 2012. I am a Canadian Skeleton athlete and an undergraduate student in the field of health and physical education, majoring in physical literacy. I’m the first one to admit that I missed the boat on physical literacy as a child. With a combination of a lack of developmentally appropriate activities in PE Class and early sport specialization in figure skating, I am certainly not the most physically literate person on the planet. In fact, I didn’t even hear the phrase “physically literate” until my first year of university, and my knowledge was greatly expanded once I attended the student leadership conference. After the life changing experience at the Student Leadership Conference, I found myself trying the sport of skeleton for the first time. Since then, I have been physically re-educating myself on the fundamental movement skills, in order to become a better athlete in hopes of reaching the Olympic games. My journey in the field of physical literacy is just beginning, but I’m excited to share some insight on to my journey in physical literacy and my passion in athlete development.
I’m extremely excited to be a part of the population who is striving for change in the physical education world in hopes of developing a more active and healthier population. My passion in physical literacy is focused on athlete development. Growing up in figure skating, I saw some of the best competitors fail at basic fundamental movement skills. I’ve also witnessed an incredible well-rounded athlete try skeleton or bobsleigh for the first time and when they push the sled, it just looks natural to them. Sure you could chalk it up to natural talent, but it is certainly in conjunction with their competent and confidence in their basic movement skills. Physically literate athletes seem to move better, become injured less, and are able to move from sport to sport, with success in most sports, if not all.
While it is not entirely impossible to develop those skills past childhood and adolescence, speaking from my own experience, it isn’t easy. You can teach an old dog new tricks, it just requires a lot more work! I attend a physical re-education class once a week at my gym here in Calgary, and it is also stressed every day I am in the gym training. In amidst the sprinting and Olympic lifting, I do exercises that develop and improve basic movement patterns. If I move better, then I can in turn lift more, sprint faster and become a better athlete.
Drawing from first hand knowledge, combined with the knowledge I have gained during my degree, I have developed my passion in the field of physical literacy and am reminded every single day why we need to continue to strive for excellence in our field. The next generation is counting on us.
Connect with me on twitter @skeletongrace or contact me through the mail button here on my website.