Monday, February 28, 2011

Early Progess and 2 Turkeys

I have been telling a few of my friends about how much fun I am having being Junior's mentor and they wanted to meet him. So this past Wednesday, Junior, a few of my friends and I went bowling at the local bowling alley.

It was interesting to see how Junior would approach my friends because his parents want him to stop talking to strangers, so at first he did not say hello until I introduced him to them which was excellent! As we began bowling I was happy to see that Junior wanted to try bowling with one hand right away. He still releases the ball with his palm down but he was stepping with opposition (as pictured above). There were some occasions when we would bowl with two hands.

During the game, every time Junior would bowl with a certain ball, the ball would roll into the right lane like it was oddly weighted to go right every time. After closer inspection of the ball, there was a crack in the ball and I'm guessing that may have had something to do with it. Before we switched the ball out, Junior bowled the shot of the day as he volunteered to pick up a spare for me. The #10 pin was the only one left standing on the far right side and Junior bowled the ball towards the left but at the perfect time it curved and knocked down the pin! He was so excited to pick up the spare and requested that I tell his mom!

That game must have been my best game in a long time since I bowled a 190 with two turkeys (3 consecutive strikes). I ended the game with a turkey in the tenth frame. One of Juniors goals is to bowl a turkey and it was cool for him to see me get one because he knows it is possible. I think it will motivate him to work harder. I explained to him how I bowled a lot better this time because our practice was improving my game so the more we played the better we would get. I also mentioned how I had a great score because he helped me pick up that key spare!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Getting to work - Project DREAM

This past Sunday, Junior and I went to the racquetball courts in park center to start getting really active! My plan was for Junior to play some racquetball to work on some cardio, then we played a variety of small games to work on his muscular strength and endurance, and we finished with working on his bowling technique.

When we began playing racquetball, it became apparent to me just how badly Junior needs to increase his activity. Within 5 minutes of playing, Junior said he was tired, his arm was tired and I could hear him breathing heavy. So we would play but take frequent breaks for water. We played with modified rules because as long as Junior is playing, staying active, and enjoying himself, I don't mind tweaking the rules.

We moved onto a variety of reaction time games that incorporated a variety of exercises. Using two different color bean bags between Junior and myself we would do either a sit up, a push up, a lunge, or jumps before we could grab the correct bag. Junior enjoyed this game and I was able to disguise fitness during the process.

We ended the day by working on his bowling technique focusing on using one hand with the the palm facing up and stepping with opposition. We simply used empty water bottles and my Gaelic Football which is slightly heavier than a soccer ball. I was impressed to see Junior get stepping with opposition down and being able to bowl with his palm up. We still need to work on releasing the ball close to the floor so its more of a roll instead of an underhand throw which can damage a bowling alley with a real ball. We finished the day on a Junior strike using our modified bowling alley!

Junior has told me he wants to go to the weight room to work on his strength and I have to check and see if we can get that arranged for him. He really enjoyed himself and told me he was going to bed early that night because he knows he was going to be warn out from all this exercising. I smiled and told him he needs to get good sleep, eat healthy and keep exercising because they more he is active, the harder it will be for him to get worn out. In the future we can discuss good nutrition.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Figuring out our DREAM

This past Wednesday, Junior and I went for our first one on one session and since bowling is a good activity he can do with his family, I decided to take him to the local bowling alley. My plan was to get better acquainted with Junior, explain Project DREAM more and assess his bowling skills. When I picked up Junior, he just came home from going out to eat with another mentor and his first words put a smile on my face! Junior comes home and says, "Wow, I'm having a busy day!" so from then on, we got right to it.

As we bowled, Junior said he wanted the bumpers up so I put them up for him. As I mentioned in my first post, Junior is thin and fairly weak for his age. We got him a very light ball and I asked him to bowl one handed for me. When he bowls with one hand he releases with his palm facing down as opposed to facing up so he has to learn how to bowl with his hand starting in the supine position. After a few attempts I let him bowl with two hands. So we are definitely going to work on his form and strength.

Junior didn't make it to our Project DREAM opening night but on Wednesday, I was able to explain how he had to come up with a physical activity dream and after explaining how we need to set a goal, Junior decided his dream is to bowl a "turkey" or 3 strikes in a row. His other dream is to get stronger so we will later quantify what getting stronger means. I was glad to hear that he wants to play with other kids and I know he has a friend in the program so I'm planning to set up some sessions with his friend.

I'm meeting with Junior again this weekend and we are going to the racquetball courts to play some games, work on his fitness and strength, and his bowling technique. Over the course of this semester we are going to work on his bowling technique, bowling etiquette, strength, playing with his peers and also getting Junior to refrain from talking to strangers. I had a blast hanging with Junior and I'm really looking forward to being his mentor this semester! He bowled an 88 that night with the bumpers up and I mentioned that was the year I was born. Juniors response was, "Does that make you an immigrant?" I couldn't help it and I laughed while he explained that is when the immigrants came but I clarified to him how people can immigrate to America years ago, last week, yesterday, today or tomorrow! That's just a small example of the good times we shared of many to come!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Project D.R.E.A.M.

A big part of this semesters work will be my role in Project D.R.E.A.M. where DREAM stands for Diverse Recreational and Educational Activities Mentor-ship Program. My classmates of Adapted Physical Activity and Individual Differences and I will be mentoring a student from the local community ages 13-21. We will be helping our mentee's achieve a physical activity DREAM of theirs by working with the student at least 2 hours a week for a total of 20 hours. I will be using the "PE Giving Tree" blog to document this awesome journey. This journey began with an inventory report in which I spent an hour at my students house, getting to know the student.

To maintain confidentiality, I will refer to my student as "Junior." If you just took a look at my inventory report above by following the link, you would realize Junior is 15 years old, has ADHD and is on the Autism spectrum but is very high functioning. Junior was unable to decide on a DREAM goal but I have some ideas from talking with him and his family during the inventory report. Bowling is something he can do with his family and he enjoys racquetball. Since Junior is very small for his age and doesn't have much muscle mass, I really want to get him moving and supporting his body weight in various ways to increase strength. I'm leaning towards one day a week of bowling and one day a week in the racquetball courts playing games while working on muscular strength and fitness activities Junior could perform on his own. This week I will be taking Junior to the bowling alley to assess his bowling skills and to have an enjoyable evening so I can get to know him better, figure out a DREAM and explain how we are going to achieve that dream!

Junior is an extremely lovable person. He is extremely friendly and wants to know everybody's name and he will remember them too. I can tell he just wants to get out and have a fun time. I am going to show him how various forms of physical activity are really good times especially when he plays with friends. I am so excited to be his mentor and keep a look out for bi-weekly updates of our journey!
(A few of the Project Dream Mentors at Opening Night)