Help! I Volunteered to Coach and Am Clueless!

Tell me if this is you or has been you:  “Mom or Dad, be my (fill in the sport) coach this year, please!”  You have no clue about much in that sport much less any kind of true fitness knowledge, yet now you’re in charge of 10-15 kids and they expect you to know and show them all how to be professionals.  So you ask another parent to volunteer and be your trusted assistant, maybe they have some kind of sports and/or fitness knowledge.  Somewhere in your mind you remember your football or PE teacher who coached football, and make the kids do the same warmups you did in high school.  The recreation district gave you a book to read and use to teach the sport and some drills, but who has time for that?  Each practice you hope nobody gets hurt, no parents yell at you, your kid still talks to you, and you go undefeated by some miracle.

Unfortunately this scenario plays out all over the country, in every sport, every season of every year.  What is being done to educate volunteer parents on fitness and age appropriate exercises so kids keep coming back past the age of 13?  The answer is not much to nothing at all.  The majority of kids do not start at a travel team level and do not advance to that level.  Most kids just want to have fun with some friends and winning comes later.  With all of the issues dealing with government, recreation district leaders do not invest in providing volunteer coaches with the proper tools to teach kids how to be overall better athletes and develop a love for all sports.

As we all know, the more educated you are in a subject the greater the appreciation you have for it.  It is about time recreation districts provide a way for volunteer coaches to be better and have more confidence in leading their teams.  With the technology of devices today, a systematic approach to age appropriate fitness can be provided along with the old handouts on a specific sport.  That is what my company, Movement Academy, is working on with a sports complex in Hammond, LA.  No infrastructure needs to be invested, and all coaches in all sports benefit.  Kids are smarter because their brains are stimulated properly, they will stick to sports longer, less injuries occur, and more revenue is generated as a result of all the above.

Recreational sports are the backbones of communities.  Kids from different schools meet each other and develop friendships, parents develop new friendships, and lifelong memories are made.  It is truly about having fun, learning socialization skills, and having new experiences by playing a variety of sports.  Suggest to your rec district leaders to invest in providing volunteer coaches better tools.  Everyone wins in the end.  For a free report on how fundamental movements improve cognitive ability and reduce injury, call 985-276-9394.  Leave your name and email address and the report will be sent to you FREE.  You have no obligation to purchase anything.

Everything starts on the grassroots level.  Let’s get this movement going today!


Quitting Sports at 13

#workoutwednesday #wellnesswednesday

Turning 13 is a big deal for kids.  They begin the true coming of age process and their bodies start wholesale changes mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Each child is different on when they start this maturation process as it doesn’t happen the day they turn 13.  With these changes comes more desire for independence and a stronger focus on what a child likes to do for fun, hobbies, and sports.  While all these changes are new and exciting for the child, they are not always so for parents.

Follow the story, your child plays soccer and basketball and has for the past 3 years in each sport.  He or she is above average, has friends they hangout with in both sports, appears to enjoy practices and games,  and is free from major injury. One day your child walks into the kitchen and announces they are done playing both sports.  You are confused and maybe angry about this choice and ask why.  The answer of “I’m just tired of it,” doesn’t satisfy you and you press on for a reason.  Your pressing meets with more roadblocks then a final, loud expression of anger by your child and he or she stomps away to their room.  You are still standing there dumbstruck and powerless, wondering what just happened and why.

Many sources report a 70% dropout rate of kids who quit sports at 13.  This is not a new topic, but still one that continues to hold interest of parents, coaches, and teachers.  In addition, there is not a single source problem or solution.  One aspect that we at Movement Academy address is teaching sports specific skills to soon in a child’s physical development.  We believe in the long term athletic development philosophy of teaching fundamental movement skills to ALL youth until the pubescent growth curve.  The rationale is giving kids a stronger base of confidence and support in being athletic for life, not just playing a high level of competition in one sport.  The Canadian Sport for Life model is the best worldwide model of this.

The financial impact of youth sports is now a multi billion dollar industry, and not especially regulated with a child’s health & safety as a primary goal.  Parents pay 10% and sometimes more of their income for their 10 year old to travel every weekend and practice 4 nights a week for up to 2 hours per practice.  While no science states this specialization at an early age makes children better, it certainly generates more revenue of which sports teams and clubs are not about to give up. Youth sports is now “Keeping up with the Joneses,” and the short intense rush ends up to be a long slow burn.  The enjoyment and fun is too quickly replaced by the win now at all costs.

Wouldn’t it be great to have more recreational sports available till the age of at least 16?  How much healthier would our society be with more kids being active for more years?  Yes, winning and losing are important lessons to learn, this is not about the “participation trophy.”  Instead, it’s about helping youth maintain a physically fit lifestyle where they can have fun playing sports they enjoy, even though they are not the top talent.  Remember, less than 5% of kids get D1 scholarships.  Sure, make wins and losses count, while continuing all the intangibles sports provide, just on a less win or die trying system.  Lots of adult leagues exist in a variety of sports, no need to make a person wait 10-15 years before doing something they truly love again.

The sad truth is money makes the world go round, and this trend of sports specialization from the womb to feed someone’s wallet isn’t stopping soon.  Parents, keep kids in multiple sports for their entire youth and make sure they are physically literate.  You are the frontline and decide if Coach Joe Knowitall gets to coach your child.  Encourage the fun and give your kids proper fundamental training before they go all in on something.  You were once 10, and have memories of what made you love being on the field or court.  Help your kids make those memories last longer and for a lifetime of being fit and active.

If you don’t agree or want to give support, contact Matt Peale at  He wants to hear from you.  Also check out his company Movement Academy.


Educating the Physical Educator

Professional development is a standard part of being a teacher.  While in school, I thought teacher in service days were awesome because I got a day off and the teachers really didn’t do anything worthwhile and also had a similar vacation day. Fast forward to now, my company, Movement Academy, puts on professional development seminars for PE teachers.  In reality, the teachers don’t have a full day off and hopefully learn a few valuable lessons to make them more effective.

To date, we have conducted seminars throughout Louisiana and in the Birmingham, AL, area.  One alarming issue is consistent, physical education teachers do not receive the same professional development attention as STEM and core subject teachers.  PE teachers unfortunately are viewed as elective instructors and not necessary for ongoing new learning.  Many school districts we talk too do not have dedicated professional development for PE, instead lumping them in with other elective courses or forcing them to scavenge for something they can talk about.  Last time I checked, childhood obesity and inactivity is still an issue talked about on the news, but school boards like to dodge the issue and not give their teachers and coaches anything consistent to combat the problem.

PE teachers thirst for knowledge to keep their classes interesting and renew their personal “why” just like other teachers.  To prevent “roll the ball out”mentality that is too prevalent, school boards have to invest the same attention and money into true physical education.  Where can it start, with parents who take an active interest in their child’s physical health besides their ability to read and write.  Obese and inactive children become obese and inactive adults that are out of work more, and cost more money from insurance companies and employers to keep around.  Where does it start, in PE every day and week.  Unlike subject specific teachers, PE teachers and coaches teach EVERY child in the school and sometimes EVERY year depending on school size.  Yet why are they being neglected to improve their skills and abilities to make an impact on the most important aspect of living, our health!


The common theme to why PE is treated like a step child is due to no standardized testing.  States and school districts leave the how and what to test up to individual teachers.  Human nature is to follow the path of least resistance, so with nothing definite to hold people accountable, what do you think is the outcome?  It’s the 80/20 rule, 20% of the PE teachers really care and do 80% of the push to improve their skills.  Nobody will admit to it, but I promise if a secret camera could be used to show what is done in PE, the 80/20 rule is 100% in effect.  Superintendents, administrators, principals, state leaders, start showing PE teachers and coaches love by providing regular and dedicated professional development.  EVERYONE BENEFITS!!


Physical literacy is the same as reading literacy, it must be taught and nurtured to grow strong and have a true appreciation for a lifetime.  Please contact me regardless of where you live, to start a wave of professional development for physical educators.  If you are in a leadership position, I challenge you to start this month with your PE teachers.  Email me, Matt Peale at, and I will help you get started.

#thursdaythoughts #thankfulthursday



Being on the Frontline of Childhood Obesity

#motivationmonday #childhoodobesity #parents #obesity

Childhood obesity is not a new topic.  It’s talked about on the news, internet, and in print media.  Like a lot of issues, people like to think it does not apply to their family, students, or children.  The fact is the opposite.  It is everyone’s responsibility to teach healthy habits to our youth.  Kids learn how to eat and lead a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle from parents and teachers.  In giving seminars to PE teachers, we stress the importance of being the fitness and health role model just like math, social studies, and science teachers are the role models for those subjects.  The role of PE teachers is changing from a sport coach to a group fitness instructor.  Look at the PE standards coming out on a national and state level.  They don’t emphasize teach kids how to play football, baseball, basketball, and soccer.  Instead the standards emphasize movement and all around fitness.  Remember, only .5% of youth who play sports actually make a living at it on a professional level.  What about the 99.5% of us who have to get real jobs and figure out how to eat and exercise on our own?

The only way childhood obesity can be reduced and eliminated is by being the role model as parents and teachers for healthy, active lifestyle.  It’s ok to enjoy vegging on the couch and having dessert/sweet treats, just not on a daily basis.  Nobody wins when the whole family is sluggish, overweight, and inactive.  PE teachers, are you active and making overall good choices to show your students?  Can you perform the movements properly in teaching your classes?  If a math teacher doesn’t know their long division, they do not stay math teachers long.  If a PE teacher cannot demonstrate movements and be healthy, there is no penalty.  That doesn’t seem right.

Children do not pay for food and put it in the grocery cart.  Children also do not get paid to teach physical education and teach healthy habits.  It does not take drastic changes, just small ones on a daily basis.  Do not buy those cookies this week, instead buy fresh fruit.  Set aside 20 minutes to get your own exercise in twice this week.  Small changes lead to larger changes in time.  Start small and work your way into big, the brain and body will guide you automatically.  Your kids will thank you, I promise!


FUNdamentals For Physical Development

You see a 7 year old child in his or her’s second year of playing soccer and that child is one of the best players on the field for either team.  Parents, coaches, and even referees comment about that child is scholarship material and SHOULD now play only soccer.  The academy/select level coach hears about this child and tells the parents to get a private coach and sign up for their team, giving up the other sports & activities.  Does this sound familiar?

In teaching physical literacy, children 6-9 years old are still learning how to move their bodies in space.  Developing overall agility, balance, coordination, and speed is the main idea for an overall better moving child.  Playing structured and unstructured games using their entire body in different environments (water, ground, and air) gives them the skills necessary to be healthier and active, not just the glimmer of the 2% club getting a D1 scholarship.  Learning how to make decisions with and without a ball, in space with other kids around, and what is proper behavior in a variety of games are all vital skills needed at this age to be a better athlete if the child chooses as a teenager and beyond.

Early sports specialization does not promote a superstar athlete.  Many factors come into play that changes a child’s desire, skill, and motivation to continue playing a specific sport.  Tell that advanced level coach NO!  It is way too early for your child to choose one and only one sport spending thousands of dollars to play.  No evidence says entering a select level team at the age of seven means a professional contract is waiting for them in high school.  Enroll them in a variety of sports/activities so they can find an interest to pursue as they approach adolescents and then develop sports specific skills.  The fact of playing multiple sports reduces fatigue, dropout, and overuse injuries seen way to often at the prepubescent stage.

It’s called FUNdamentals because FUN is a huge part of physical activity.  When a child is not having fun, they have poor attitudes, performance, and behavior issues.  Yes, they will naturally gravitate to an activity or sport they like more, but until they try a variety, they may find something else they like better.  Don’t beat up your kid, physically and mentally, at this age for competition.  They know the score and will typically forget it a few hours or days after the game anyway.  Encourage, smile, and laugh with them to help foster a love for physical activity that can lead them to a healthier, active life when YOU, and they realize being a professional athlete is not in their future.

For more info on physical literacy, check out ShapeAmerica and their guidelines for PE and overall active habits.  For a great long term athletic development and physical literacy program, Movement Academy is a web based program for your school and sports organization.  Contact Matt Peale at for any questions or comments.




Get More Kids Involved in PE This Year

I was always the kid who raised their hand and wanted to be picked first to play any game in PE.  Those that didn’t, I never understood why they showed no interest and ran away practically.  Years and a 15 year old son later who is not an athlete, I know the benefits involved with overall physical development compared to only playing sports in PE.  The unfortunate reality is teachers and coaches give more attention the the kids in PE who want to play sports.  Why?  Because teachers and coaches are human, and humans gravitate toward people with common interests.  So how do we make a positive impact on childhood obesity and get the kids who aren’t interested in playing sports to participate?  The answer is long term athletic develoment.

SHAPE America has developed standards around physical literacy that teach movement fundamentals before sports and sports specific skills.  Not all states subscribe to this philosophy for PE, and with PE not a typically state tested subject, the initiative to get more kids involved is left to each individual teacher.  Besides physical literacy and long term athletic development being a NATIONAL guideline, it really does make sense to including all students and not just the sports & active minded ones.  Every child needs to learn how to control both sides of their body in a variety of environments.  Whether they are in a pool, on a field, on the ice/snow, or in the air like gymnastics; controlling your body and having confidence in the related movements creates a healthier child.  Less than 1% of kids become professional athletes, 99% of the population has to maintain their health as an adult to pay the bills and care for their families.  Teaching healthy movements that lead to lifetime skills benefits everyone.

Part of what my company Movement Academy does, is give professional development seminars on LTAD to PE teachers.  Our goal is to educate the educator so they can lay the foundation for a healthier and more active next generation.  To have this goal occur, more education and accountability is needed. Test scores that reflect a knowledge of movement and not just participation are necessary to hold both students and teachers accountable.  Talk to your teacher, principal, school board, and state leaders to make PE accountable not optional.  The only negatives are reduced obesity, stroke, and heart disease in children and future adults.  Learning movement before sports is the key to improving participation in PE and changing our next generation of adults.


Contact Matt Peale, who is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, at, for any questions and comments.




Have You Watched a 10 Year Old Touch Their Toes Lately?

When was the last time you noticed your child’s or any other child’s range of motion and flexibility?  Have you noticed they have problems touching their toes or even ankles with straight legs?  In addition to the obesity and sedentary epidemic, there has become a lack of muscle flexibility epidemic.  In working with youth ages 8-13 on a regular basis, a large percentage of them male and female have horrible flexibility.  Their lower back and hamstrings are so tight and underused they can barely stand on one foot much less bend at the waist to touch their foot.  Ask a child to perform a sumo stretch as in the picture below and you will be astounded by what you see.

Flexibility is one of the core components of overall fitness.  Yes, it is a use it or lose it skill.  Children are more pliable than adults due to their bones still hardening as they mature and hit puberty.  With kids sitting and starting at video screens more often, they are also losing range of motion that is extremely difficult to get back as an adult.  Does this mean you have to enroll your child in Bikram Yoga?  Absolutely not.  What it does mean is teach your child some basic warm and cool down stretches as part of their sports and activities.  Proper dynamic (in motion) stretching before movement, and static stretching after movement is completed.

While touching your toes is not an Olympic event unto itself, practicing flexibility movements does reduce injuries and is part of a healthy lifestyle.  Take a few minutes with your students, children, and athletes to work on their stretches in good form.  It’s the habits we instill in them now that change our next generation.


Matt Peale has seen his fair share of kids have the flexibility of a 70 year old as an NASM Certified Personal Trainer.  Contact him at and check out Learn To Move Academy for your school and sports organization.