The Whys of Athlete Academy Ages 9-12: Reflexes and Reaction
In order to build on my last piece about coordination, the next step is putting those into action. Reflexes and reaction can be greatly influenced at this age. You may see it in your kids now as this is normally when we start to see growth spurts and physical changes to some degree. You may see your child was one of the fastest, then he grew 4 inches and all of the sudden they are slower and look like they can’t control their body.
When that growth occurs, the body has to learn to adapt to the new changes - that’s where coordination, reflexes and reaction come into play. It's about teaching the body to move in space. I have seen it myself in doing things with kids within the last year or two. Think back to when you were in school playing tag, or capture the flag (or steal the bacon, whichever name you used). Now with that knowledge, go get a group of kids together and try to play the same game. You see kids running into each other, major collisions, one child runs with the flag, sees two other children and has plenty of time (in your mind) to react and change directions but they don’t and end up running straight into them.
Why? Why does it look so chaotic? So unbalanced? Why does your child, who used to be the fastest in their class, seem slower and more uncoordinated? Without the proper movements, these traits don’t develop. That’s why the next step in our 9-12 year old program is working on reflexes and reaction.
It isn’t so much to teach a child how to be the fastest or to cut to avoid a defender, although that may be a positive side effect. It is teaching the brain how to communicate more effective with the legs that are now longer and the muscle, which is now larger and more developed.