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Help for a 10 year old

by Mary Jo Little
(Fort Myers, Florida)

I have a 10 year old grandson who loves sports of all kinds.

Plays baseball, basketball, and soccer.

He has a great understanding and love of the sports but when he runs he gets no where.
He seems to go up and down instead of forward.

No matter how good you are at a sport if you can not run the bases or get down the field or court as fast as the others you are just not going to make it.

I would like to find a way to help him. He is very thin and not going to be real tall as it looks right now (for his sake I wish that were not true because he loves basketball).
He has a birthday coming up and I would like to give him a gift that would help him.
Do you have any suggestions?

No, I am not trying to make a super star.
I would just like to help the child enjoy the sports he likes to play more.

BrrBrr (his name for me)

Answer by Dominique:

Hi BrrBrr ... :)

Your grandson is blessed to have a grandma with a heart of gold who truly wants to help him improve his sporting ability. Apart from that, you visiting his games and cheering him on, what else does he need?

There is not much I can do. From what you are describing his running technique does not sound to be completely optimal.

If he wants to improve his running, he might be best off joining his local athletics or running club.
There, with specialised and educated coaches around, he could improve his running in a safe environment.

So, athletics membership might be an idea for a gift then?
However, with baseball, basketball and soccer already in his agenda, something will probably have to give, so I would make sure that he wants that, before you give it!

I also have to say that pretty much the only questions I refrain from answering are the questions about kids and their running.

I have been asked for running schedules for great talents, for dieting advice etcetera and my answer is always:

Let the kids be. Let them enjoy themselves and have fun. As long as they are engaged in sports and have fun doing it, I am happy.

When you interfere with what they do you run the risks of turning them away from sports all together or, when pushing them too much, getting them injured.

I know you want the best for your grandson and you are not after making him the next sporting hero, but it seems like he enjoys sports anyway, so is there really a need to change anything?

Back to the gifts.
I am really into soccer myself, so I reckon a good gift could be a DVD of Dennis Bergkamp, one of Holland's finest strikers ever. What he does is poetry on the soccer field.
There are a few DVDs about him and other great players ("Arsenal Centurions - 100 goals of Henry & Bergkamp", "Arsenal 501 goals", "Arsenal the untouchables") which should be a straight hit. Unless he hates Arsenal... :)

Anyway, hope you understand I do not want to get too involved when it comes to kids running, hope you find him a suitable gift and hope you and your family enjoy his birthday.

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