Curl On This

It’s been a while since I last posted – I got distracted with a few very packed weeks at work and in my personal life (largely the latter, almost entirely for good, and just the nature of life sometimes).  But now that things are quieting down a bit…

This weekend was another outing to the curling rink with both boys.  R is slowly getting it… but the news is that I had an epiphany about the Monster on the ice.

Curling’s a weird sport, in that it looks really easy when you watch it on television/online, but it actually requires quite a bit of fitness, flexibility and kinesiological awareness.  You can learn the basics of play in about an hour, and like a lot of other things, it takes years to really get good at.  Granted, the kids are four and eight.  R’s major problem is that he’s four, doesn’t want to pay enough attention to understand what he’s doing wrong, and is easily distractible by the fact that it’s cold and he doesn’t like falling down.  But the Monster’s problem is deeper.  He definitely seems to be having fun, but he’s not making any progress learning a delivery, which is what we’re mostly drilling the kids on at the moment.

With his gross motor deficits, he’s not getting how the muscles should be moving to get him out of the hack and sliding down the ice on one foot.  With his language deficits, he’s not understanding when we’re trying to communicate with him as to how he should be moving, and can’t relay back what’s going on in his head.

But what I did notice today is that he was getting the basic idea of the drill.  Slide out of the hack off-center on the sheet, with the stone in front of you, and release towards an orange cone.  He’s actually picked up quite a bit, in fact – that he has a slippery foot that should stay on the ice, that he should step onto the ice with his non-slippery foot, and step off with the slippery foot first.  But most of all, that he should aim in a straight line towards the target.

We have a solution for this, in curling.  If you’re not able to get down in the hack for any reason… you can use a delivery stick.  It’s a telescoping stick that hooks onto the handle of the stone, and you walk forward, starting with a foot in the hack, towards the skip’s broom, before releasing and imparting curl on it.  So why not teach him with that?  Sure, he can’t play in anything that leads to a major championship with a stick, but he’s not about to do that… and sports for children with different abilities are supposed to be about being adaptive for the children, right?

And sure enough, with some coaching (namely, I’m still helping him to know when to release), he’s actually doing decently with it.  The coaches in the Middle Rockers program are suitably impressed, and we’ll continue forward working with him on that.

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