DH has no idea that he’s going to hear one phrase above all others in the next two weeks whilst we holiday inside the Arctic Circle: “Judy Murray Says”. That’s the Judy Murray Effect.
I credit the Judy Murray Effect with the fact that my children- for the first time in the two weeks they have thus far been on holiday- slept in until 9am this morning.
Before we went on holiday, in a cafe in the heart of Kingston, Judy Murray put my children through their sporty paces. Not because she was searching for a new tennis superstar, but because she is passionate about sport. From the way she dresses, to the way she talks, you can tell that it’s the thing that defines her. More importantly, she wants it to define the generations of children who are passing through Early Years and KS1 learning. Sport, you see, is key.
I’m not talking about football or netball or tennis or any sport that requires lots of expensive equipment and training. I’m talking about running around the garden and throwing a ball: it’s nothing complex, and it can be done at home with things you already possess. As Judy Murray Says, all you need is a child who wants to play and somebody who wants to play with them.
That’s what Set4Sport has set out to do. Judy’s programme, developed in partnership with RBS, is going into schools and sports centres to teach adults simple ways of developing balance co-ordination and agility through fun games that can be created using things you already possess. I am fairly creative in lots of areas in my life but when it comes to doing fun games in the garden, I draw a total blank. I actually felt embarrassed, watching the games that my children played with the Set4Sport team, because I hadn’t thought of them myself.
Jump The River, for example, involved jumping over two pieces of rope and a couple of plastic sharks. The children thought they were jumping over shark infested waters. I quickly saw that they were learning balance and co-ordination.
Jackpot was all about throwing toys in buckets, which was great fun but was actually developing ball handling skills and hand-eye co-ordination. I have no idea why I never thought to use teddies to help my children learn to throw.
Over the next few years Judy and RBS are rolling out Set4Sport across the land. And they need an army. More specifically they need an army of parents. Parents are key to helping their children learn: a few minutes here and there spent playing games with their parents bolsters confidence in children more than anything. A few parents helping a class of children do the same at school makes games available when there may be no budget. A few parents promoting sport as part of the curriculum could have significant effect on the way our children learn. It starts with you.
The Set4Sport resources are available for free: there’s a Set4Sport website which features all the games and ideas and through which you can contact Judy Murray. Through the website you can get your own copy of the Set4Sport book, which gives the same information in a handy laminated format. There’s the Set4Sport App which you can download which has all kinds of sound effects to embellish your sporting adventures.
*Disclosure: for the purposes of writing this post we were invited to the event, were fed and watered and received a signed copy of the fantastic Set4Sport book.