Home Based Athletics - Week 1

From TCFS - Virtual Kids Camp

Week 1

Our hearts are with those affected by the coronavirus, and we hope for healing for all. Parents are facing new challenges with their kids having a prolonged release from school. We are all in this together! We hope families come out of this time having enjoyed learning, growing and moving together. In an effort to contribute to the cause, Raising Rookies is providing ideas for physical activity in two categories: 1) fun, active games for younger kids and 2) sports performance activities to develop your young athletes while athletic practices and games have been postponed.

Watch the videos for demonstrations of each activity. If you don’t have the equipment in the videos, don’t stress. Improvise and use objects that will fulfill the same purpose. Links have been included for some of the items we use that can be found on Amazon. (Fingers crossed that Amazon Prime continues to be a source of awesomeness!)

Active Games

Below you’ll find three fun, engaging, lighthearted activities for younger kids who need “recess” breaks during homeschooling. We get it, sometimes kids tire of playing on their own and they need a little parental guidance. We’ve thought of games so you don’t have to. Here are a few games we will be playing with our kids this week!

9 Active Balloon Games

We have to admit - we love balloons. They are a relatively cheap form of entertainment and a hidden source of physical activity. Our kids usually don’t need ideas on how to play with a balloon, but here are some structured games that promote movement, focus, coordination, and smiles.

1) Don’t Let the Balloon Drop

2) Don’t Let TWO Balloons Drop

3) Balloon Tennis: We used paper plates and spatulas to tape together pretty decent paddles. Wooden spoons and ping pong paddles are other good options.

4) Balloon Waddle Race: Hug the balloon between the knees and race without letting the balloon drop or touching it with your hands.

5) Balloon “Sailboat” Race: Blow the balloon from one point to the next, or through an obstacle course. Hands are prohibited.

6) Balloon Balancing: Balance the balloon on one finger like a basketball. Try to prevent it from touching the ground.

7) Toss - Sprint - Catch: Toss the balloon up in the air as high as possible, run across the room and tag an item, then race back to catch the balloon before it reaches the ground.

8) Simon Says Use Your...: Call out a part of the body (hands, head, elbow, feet, etc) and players use that part to hit the balloon, preventing it from touching the floor.

9) Mystery Exercise: Place papers with the names of different exercises written on them inside the balloons. Once you’ve finished playing your other games, pop one balloon at a time and perform the exercises together. Examples of exercises would include 5 push-ups, to hop on one foot 20 times, 10 jumping jacks, or 5 burpees.


Hopscotch Basics

This beloved game is footwork and balance work in disguise. This game can be played outdoors using chalk to draw a year square grid, or indoors using tape or floor tile patterns. Rocks, bean bags, stuffed animals and other types of markers can be used. Adapt the game to the ability level of each child. Toddlers can practice placing their marker, then hopping all the way through the grid and back. Older kids can follow the rules more closely.

The game is played by tossing a rock to square 1, then hopping on one leg OVER square 1 to square two and on through the grid. When you reach the side by side squares you may jump with one foot in each square. Once you reach square 10, turn around and return to the start. Once you approach your rock and are standing in square 2, bend down and retrieve your rock without letting your other foot touch the ground. Then hop OVER square 1, and finish the round. Player two takes a turn and you work through the grid. Set rules that everyone call follow and achieve (if you step on a line you have to return to the start, if you miss your toss you miss your turn, if you mess up you get one more chance, etc).

Obstacle Course

There are no rules with our homemade obstacle courses. The sky, or ground, or the maze made of 17 cones is the limit. We introduced our kids to obstacle courses and use whatever resources we have available - tables, chairs, nets (we use our GoSports net DAILY), balls, cones, agility ladders, jump ropes, boards, etc.

Now our kids like setting up their own courses as much or more than they enjoy racing through ours. Watch the time lapse in the video below - even setting up the course requires running back and forth, over and over, giving these kids plenty of exercise for the day!


Sports Performance Skills

With practice and games cancelled, your young athletes are going to want to stay in shape and keep their skills sharp! Raising Rookies was started with the purpose of providing parents with resources that help introduce skills that will help kids in their athletic pursuits. We believe spending 20 minutes performing these movements with your kids will help improve their agility, balance, coordination, power, speed, and strength. Start off with these three videos this week, or find more on Instagram @raisingrookies.

Agility Ladder

Agility ladder training is a family favorite of ours, and it can be adapted to fit any age and ability. Increase the difficulty by increasing the quickness of the footfall. Use it to improve footwork, coordination and concentration in young athletes. We will build on our ladder training as the weeks go on, but here are five drills to get your athletes started.

- If you don’t have a ladder, use sidewalk chalk to draw a ladder outside or use painter’s tape indoors. 10-15 boxes should work well! (boxes are 18-20 inches wide) If you want to order an agility ladder online, you’ll find a few affordable color and length options here. (There is also a ladder plus cone set.)

- Cues to give your athlete include staying on the balls of the feet, keeping the hands athletically by the sides, and working to keep a steady rhythm through the movements.

- Encourage them to start slowly, then challenge them to increase their quickness once they have mastered the footwork.

- Be sure to perform the movements by leading with both the right AND left legs.

-Perform each drill 5x up and down the ladder. Or perform a drill up the ladder and jog back to the start position.

1) One Foot In

2) Two Feet In

3) Ickey Shuffle

4) Lateral Scissor

5) Hopscotch

Cone Agility Drills

Our kids have had fun with these two drills, and  they continue to perform them in an attempt to improve their times.

Two drills are shown in the video that can be adapted for any age and skill level. If you do not have wiffle balls and cones, use other objects to achieve the same purpose. These promote MOVEMENT, change of direction, speed, agility hand eye coordination.

Star Drill: Cones are placed in a circle or star with a bucket in the middle. A ball is placed on top of each flat disk cone. Higher level athletes retrieve the ball with the outside hand and perform the drill both counter and clockwise. Younger kids retrieve the balls in any pattern. (Shown in video) Dimensions can be adapted for younger and older/bigger athletes.

Shuttle Drill: Place cones in a straight line, 5-10 feet apart. Place a ball on top of each cones. On “go”, the athlete retrieves each ball starting with the one closest the the bucket. 

Monkey Bar Variations - Upper Body Strength

For those of you who need to venture out beyond your backyard, consider finding a park or playground with a monkey bar set. If you’re concerned about playing on public equipment, take along your own container or Clorox wipes and use hand sanitizer after.

Time spent on monkey bars not only builds upper body strength, but it improves core and grip strength, coordination and shoulder stability. The body swings in every direction and and has to react. The following variations are shown in the video:

1) Singles

2) Parallel Wide Grip

3) Toes To Bar

4) Lateral Bar Traverse

5) Backwards

6) Pull-up Each Rung

7) Lateral Side Swing

8) Skip A Bar

Coming next Monday

Too Cool For School - Virtual Kids Camp Week 2