Kids: Differences are not Deficits

At Davey Black Sports Performance, we run both kids fitness classes and kids yoga classes. We aim not just to entertain the kids, but to also teach them about themselves and their surroundings in every class. We believe that there is unrealistic stigma surrounding sporting excellence and athletic ability, and we aim to knock down those barriers. We want every kid that walks through our doors to leave feeling more empowered and confident in their own abilities. To be proud about what they have achieved and to understand that even if they had trouble acquiring a specific skill, that there are a whole lot of other skills out there that they should attempt and strive for.

The physical structure of our body is almost as unique as our finger prints. No one individual will have the same bone, muscle or tendon structure as any other individual.  Each body has its own unique asymmetries. There will be differences in the length and shape of bones, differences in the attachment points of some muscles, differences in spinal vertebrae, differences in the end range of motion in joints, differences in muscle mass and distribution. Each of these structural components will have an impact on your yoga practice, your sport and indeed your daily life.

It is important for kids, as well as beginner and experienced adult yogis to understand and embrace their differences and not see them as deficits. There are skills and poses you will be able to do right now, there are skills and poses you will be able to do in time and there are skills and poses you may never be able to do. It is important to remember, and to teach, that this is not a reflection of your value as a person or a critique of your abilities; it is simply the reality of human existence.

The kids fitness classes and kids yoga journey is about exploration and acceptance. Real success comes from learning about one’s self and one’s body, about finding balance between challenge and ease. It is knowing when to push and when to back off, and especially knowing the difference between healthy challenge and harmful force.

Once kids can embrace this idea, then we are able to reduce the insecurities associated with skill acquisition and that will in turn lead to a more positive outlook on sport, exercise and health in general. They will be more likely to want to try new things, and they will certainly be more likely to accept their limitations. This will allow them to move on and try something new with the same interest and intent. They will develop the knowledge that there is no such thing as success and failure. There is just success, and introspection.

This is a collaborative article written by Yoga Instructor and Physiotherapists Assistant Hanna Bevan and Performance Triathlon Coach Steve Davis.

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