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Darryl Shaw
01-12-2010, 04:41 AM
A negative phys ed teacher can cause a lifetime of inactivity.

Humiliation in physical education class as a child can turn people off fitness for good, according to a University of Alberta researcher.

Billy Strean, a professor in the U of A's Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, says a negative lifelong attitude towards physical activity can be determined by either a good or a bad experience, based on the personal characteristics of the coach or instructor. For example, negative experiences may come from a teacher who has low energy, is unfair and/or someone who embarrasses students.

During his research, Strean heard from individuals who opened up about negative experiences with coaches and instructors, some from many years ago.

One study participant wrote, "I am a 51-year-old-woman whose childhood experiences with sports, particularly as handled in school, were so negative that even as I write this my hands are sweating and I feel on the verge of tears. I have never experienced the humiliation nor felt the antipathy toward any other aspect of life as I do toward sports."

Strean hopes to raise awareness of such experiences so those who instruct children in sport will realize they have the ability to create either a fun and playful experience or an experience of humiliation.

Strean has tips for coaches and teachers, including putting attention on fun, connecting with friends and learning, and, until kids enter their teens, minimizing attention on outcomes.

Strean also found study participants had better experiences from minimally organized games such as street hockey, compared to the more organized activities. He suggests adults try not to over-organize sports and allow the children to explore sporting activities on their own, with minimal rules and no scorekeeping.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-01/uoa-anp010610.php

My personal experience of p.e. in school supports this research. Almost all of the p.e. teachers I had back in school were bitter and twisted, sadistic/psychotic control freaks, failed athletes or ex military types (or wannabes) and they made p.e. hell consequently only a few of us continued with any kind of sport after leaving school.

Allen Yeh
01-12-2010, 06:11 AM
That makes sense.

Mike ODonnell
01-12-2010, 07:54 AM
Interestingly enough, the best athletes tend to do less organized leagues when they are younger and more pickup games to develop their skills.

Aka I'll put all my money on a kid playing pickup pond hockey in Canada for hours each day and doesn't play on an organized team vs some kid who only plays on hockey teams in organized leagues with minimal weekly practices and low playing time during games.

So its a tad ironic...that parents who want their kids to get scholarships and go pro put them on all these teams, when they probably just need to spend more time practicing skills in a more unorganized and fun way.

That and someone needs to help that 51yr old lady to get over her past, stop thinking herself as a victim, and move on in a more positive manner in life without looking backwards.

Jay Ashman
01-12-2010, 10:02 AM
This study makes total sense to me. I had some psychotic phys ed teachers growing up, ones that would make fun of kids for not doing a pull-up, ones that would yell at the kids for getting tired... the same thing happened in little league sports. I had coaches who would browbeat kids for screwing up, make the bad players never get any playing time, etc.. lucky I wasn't often the subject of those tirades.

Consequently this has shaped my life and how I deal with training people and when I was a coach as well. I always made sure every kid played (junior high sports) and that I wasn't negative towards them if they screwed up. I don't call people out for their lack of results, just a lack of effort. If you try hard enough and do your best, that is all anyone can ask..

its a shame that some teachers/coaches don't realize that.