IGNITE THE SPARK
The goal in this stage is for young children to have positive experiences while sliding on the snow. Initially, children create an emotional association with physical activity before developing their passion for their sport. Children in this stage should experience the freedom of play and embrace small successes.
- Boys 1-6
- Girls 1-6
- Snow Stars Level 1 - 3
- No formalized competition
Understand that success means giving your best effort and having fun.
Make a personal connection with each child and stay focused on giving them a positive experience. The key is finding little successes in everything they do. Bring everything back to fun and effort at this stage. Avoid reference to talent or outcome.
Be confident and supportive, be your children's biggest fan. Most importantly, tell them you love, support, and believe in them, regardless of how they perform. This positive support will allow them to separate personal value from success and failure in sport.
Remember it is not always what you say, but how you say it. Maintaining an open body posture with a supportive and respectful tone of voice encourages the development of positive connections.
- Sport and activity are fun. They provide an arena of release; play; and connection to oneself, one's body, and others.
- The sporting environment is safe, enjoyable, inclusive, and exciting. The individuals involved should support the child in positive and respectful ways.
- The sport of skiing has a place for everyone. Each child is encouraged to grow and improve at their own pace. All successes, big and small, can be celebrated and acknowledged.
- If the child has a positive attitude, he or she will have more fun, energy, courage, and success. Modelling a positive outlook for the child will help support this principle.
- Children at this stage excel in imaginative play. Encouraging children to imagine themselves positively in sport can inspire and make the experience fun.
Mental Fitness Activities
The following chart highlights mental fitness activities to maximize optimal messaging to young skiers.
|Phase||Mental Fitness Activities|
Present critical messages of success to the child throughout the performance, such as:
Help the child reflect on the following questions:
Children at this stage are very dependent on parents. They have short attention spans so providing a quick change of pace and activities is important but always focus on one task at a time.
Create a safe mental environment for the child through the use a warm, cheerful and gentle approach and do not encourage competition with each other.
Show children what to do through games (i.e., "copycat"). Note, children at this stage cannot process mirror images of movement patterns. It is best to stand beside them when demonstrating.
Children are unable to perceive situations as an adult in a group setting. It is best to work one-on-one as much as possible.
Children can be excited to use their words but are not always able to communicate their feelings.