Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad  Print this page

More bean bags, less floor hockey

Jessica Gray
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 03/06) - Remember gym class? For some, it was a thing to be dreaded, especially when it came time to be chosen for activities like baseball or dodgeball.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Chris Johnson, is a motivational speaker who talks to groups about leadership, sports, and coaching among many other topics in and out of the workplace. - Jessica Gray/NNSL photo

Those who were last to be picked never got over the anger and humiliation of being the last on the team, according to physical education teacher and motivational speaker, Chris Johnson.

"For some kids, this can totally destroy them," he said.

Johnson was in Yellowknife over the weekend holding seminars and information sessions about how to be a better coach and how to build a child's self-esteem no matter the child's skill level. Also known as Dr. Laugh, Johnson said it is important for coaches to develop lesson plans for practices and get training, not only on the sport they are coaching, but on how to make sure youth are engaged and having fun while playing the game.

"When someone's level of anxiety goes up, skill level goes down," he said.

Johnson said too many coaches are concerned with winning. Coaches should be putting more hours into giving youth skills they can use throughout life.

But what about those kids who aren't so athletic?

Johnson said these kids deserve just as much opportunity to shine in the sun as anyone else. But that means coaches will have to get more creative.

"All kids are not created equal," said Johnson.

Bean bag tosses, mini-Olympic stations, and getting kids to play tag are all great alternatives to more boring games like floor hockey, he said.

And what about the coaches we see on television and in films with lots of yelling and screaming? According to Johnson, it has no place on or off the field.

John Stephenson, trails co-ordinator for the Yellowknife Ski Club, enjoys coaching and watching his kids get involved in sports.

"The best entertainment is what my kids do," said Stephenson.

"Coaches believe they don't need (workshops like this) because they played the sport themselves," he said, even though many coaches when asked don't know all the rules to the game.

This is the fourth time Dr. Laugh has been to Yellowknife. Johnson is originally from Yorkshire, England but lives in British Columbia where he is active as a coach or director in many amateur sports.