We’ve had the Euro Championships, the Tour de France, Wimbledon and more… but the biggest and baddest of them all – the 2012 Olympic Games in London – are finally upon us.
As children growing up in the Midlands of England, my friends and I were always inspired by televised sporting events. During Wimbledon, we’d pretend to be Bjorn Borg at the local courts, ride for miles during the Tour de France, and grab our grandfathers’ wooden golf clubs and head to the nearest open field thinking we were Seve Ballesteros. And, of course, there was always soccer (what I knew as football). We seldom needed inspiration to play the national sport, however, during the Euro and the Olympics, the excitement reached fever pitch and every field in town was packed.
This month, the Olympics will bring a multitude of sports to our living rooms, that with some imagination and creativity, we as parents can bring to our kids on a smaller scale. Here are just a few ideas of how you can create a memorable Backyard Olympics for your children:
Football – My favorite sport and easily played in the backyard or park. Grab a ball and work on dribbling, passing, juggling and of course, scoring goals! Be sure to explain that British football is actually American soccer.
Discus – Use a Frisbee and have the kids rotate 1.5 times, using solid footwork. Be sure to have them step forward as they throw the “discus.”
Triple Jump – A popular track & field event, the Triple Jump involves a simple hop, a step and a long jump. Give it a go in the sandbox or on grass – whichever you have!
Volleyball – Teach them, with a volleyball or soccer ball, how to bump, set and spike. These are the essential moves with the goal of not letting the ball hit the ground. Start with a simple back and forth volley and move to the net if when you’re ready.
Shotput – Use whichever ball you have, or even a softball or baseball will work here, and encourage your kids to “put” the ball as far as possible. Get wild with water balloons.
Gymnastics – Time to be graceful! Start with somersaults, forward pike rolls, cartwheels and handstands. Get creative and encourage a rhythmic gymnastics game of freeze dance.
Torch Race – While this isn’t an Olympic sport, I recently read about it and had to share. Thanks Jamie, from Macaroni Kid! Create mini Olympic torches with ice cream cones and popcorn. Scoop popcorn into your torch (ice cream cone), race a short distance while trying to not drop any popcorn, dump the popcorn into a bucket, then go back to the start for more. The first person or team to fill their bucket with popcorn wins!
Author- Martin Moreland is the Coaching Supervisor at Super Soccer Stars. He has been coaching soccer for 18 years (9 in the USA) and has his FA Coaching Certificate & NSCAA National Diploma.