So many systems and methods out there, right?
Complication of the simple. From complication to compilation, here are a few clips of my son Fletcher, who is now 5 years old. Before any comments come back at me that I am an irresponsible dad who can injure his child, know this: Fletcher has been a very active child since before he could walk. He’s naturally been inclined to run, climb, jump on, jump off obstacles and keep running. He may have seen me lift a kettebell or barbell, and he naturally did shoulder presses, barbell curls, deadlifts, jumps, climbs etc. He loves to run, hitting is his favorite thing in T-ball, and when he found boxing gloves at home, he put them on and asked me to spar. We’ve been wrestling and roughhousing playfully for as long as I can remember (and his 1 year old brother now joins us in epic ground mêlée fights). He asks me to take him surfing, I don’t push or encourage anything, other than consistency and stick-to-itiveness so he doesn’t quit and learn effort and persistence.
The larger point I want to make is progression: he started low, he started young. As he gets older, he climbs higher, jumps from higher ground, but he’s also taller, so elevation is relative: the absolute goes up, but the proportional remains the same. The skill is engrained. There is minimal coaching, where applicable. But if he can do something well, pain-free, and wants to repeat it, I will not deny him the joy. The risk is calculated. The only risk is avoidance, because denying him his true nature is not what I am about.
In this clip here, he jumps off an elevation (depth jump) from a standing position:
In this one, he starts from a seated position:
The jump can be improved by having him swing his legs more, but since the “wall” doesn’t allow for a full swing of the legs to build momentum, the thing to do is to push off the wall using the hands, which Fletcher didn’t do. Not as good a jump, but he made up for it by rolling and increasing the duration of his landing, therefore reducing impact. And using ONLY the hips, he is building the biomechanical skill needed for swings, for instance. A little coaching into a natural movement.
In this last clip, he is simply walking on the equivalent of a balance beam: similar width, he can fall into or out of the boat he is playing on. He is training not only balance, but to work from an elevation.
You know how you can walk on a beam on inch of the ground, but fear doing so if 20 feet off the ground? Yeah, well, here, he’s learning to not be afraid of that.
So, there you have it, a sneak preview of jumping drills from The Natural Method’s 3rd book, due out in a couple of weeks, and balance work from the fundamentals mentioned in Book 2.