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Barry Students Reach Out!
Fall 2013 - Spring 2014 Newsletter

“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of” - Nelson Mandela

In this issue:

Community Outreach

Barry University’s core commitments include knowledge and truth, inclusive community, social justice, and collaborative services. Following these core commitments, the HPA conducted a series of different community outreach programs. The focus was to create and engage in meaningful efforts for positive social change. Given the need for community service, HPA members have made a concerted effort to get involved. Some of the activities and experiences included: helping the youth, adolescent, and collegiate populations. The following are accounts of those experiences.

Dynamic Stretching 101

For this HPA community activity, we taught an intramural flag football team the importance of dynamic stretching, along with some examples of stretches. We targeted this group of individuals because there is a lack of a coach and a leader, which may contribute to a lack in motivation to participate in proper stretching techniques.

We gathered two teams consisting of ten people each and asked them what they were going to do to warm-up and prepare their bodies for competition. They responded that they were just going to jog and stretch standing still. We told them that this type of stretching, static stretching may not be the most beneficial method for them. We explained that dynamic stretching, a process of actively moving a joint through the full range of motion, would be most beneficial for them prior to their competition. We elaborated on the basic facts that dynamic stretching increases the range of motion in the joints and increases blood and oxygen flow to the tissues and muscles of the body. By doing this, the risk of injury is greatly decreased.

We gathered two teams consisting of ten people each and asked them what they were going to do to warm-up and prepare their bodies for competition. They responded that they were just going to jog and stretch standing still. We told them that this type of stretching, static stretching may not be the most beneficial method for them. We explained that dynamic stretching, a process of actively moving a joint through the full range of motion, would be most beneficial for them prior to their competition. We elaborated on the basic facts that dynamic stretching increases the range of motion in the joints and increases blood and oxygen flow to the tissues and muscles of the body. By doing this, the risk of injury is greatly decreased.

Exercise and Nutrition; Facts vs. Myths

Our human performance academy project was conducted at Miami Central High School with male and female freshman students. First, we talked about what is exercise, why it is important, and how to exercise with limited resources. For those without gym memberships, we discussed exercises they can do at home that will cost them nothing. We also encouraged them to work out with their peers, as it is easier to adhere to an exercise program when you have someone else doing it with you and holding you accountable. Then we discussed the major food nutrients, how often we should eat, good foods versus bad foods, and the benefits of cooking versus eating fast food. One issue involving nutrition that we talked more in depth about it is that of skipping meals. As students, they are always on the go and will often miss important meals, so we discussed some strategies as to how they can avoid that. Lastly, we played a game of plank wars. This game turns the exercise of doing planks into a fun, friendly competition with peers. The kids were having so much fun they didn’t even realize they were exercising! Throughout the presentation, the students were very attentive, respectful, and asked insightful questions about things they did not know. We were also able to dispel exercise and nutrition myths they thought to be true. Because we are in the age of technology, we encouraged the students to use social media to aid them in leading a healthy lifestyle. Almost all of the students stated they had Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram so we instructed them on how they can follow people and/or organizations who promote healthy lifestyles.

presentation, the students were very attentive, respectful, and asked insightful questions about things they did not know. We were also able to dispel exercise and nutrition myths they thought to be true. Because we are in the age of technology, we encouraged the students to use social media to aid them in leading a healthy lifestyle. Almost all of the students stated they had Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram so we instructed them on how they can follow people and/or organizations who promote healthy lifestyles.

Lift Right

The clinic took place in the Landon Fitness Center at Barry University. The participants performed a ten minute warm up followed by a general stretch. To incorporate the biomechanical and physiological aspect of the exercise, they were shown various charts explaining the different muscles, where they were located, their names and where they were attached. Flyers were passed around showing proper lifting techniques without me explaining how to do the exercises. This was done to determine the level at which the participants were able to interpret and execute what they saw on paper to action in the weight room. Participants were allowed to perform one rep of each exercise and their technique evaluated. After being corrected (if correction was necessary) they were allowed 5 more attempts where feedback was given after each attempt if necessary. This allowed each participant to get comfortable with the correct technique and remember the ‘feeling’ associated with it efficiently.

Our reflection on the activity revealed that a lot of the participants simply did not know the correct technique. This was also supported when those members of the sample who never used the gym before were able to perform reasonably good technique when simply given a flyer with instructions without any explanation. Education on weight lifting needs to be more readily available to those using the gym by having personal trainers go through the basic lifting techniques upon joining and then giving the clients the option to further their knowledge by hiring a personal trainer. This would significantly decrease the rate of injury due to incorrect lifting techniques.

CrossFit Kids

For our Human Performance Academy project we performed a complimentary CrossFit Kids session for teens ages 12-18 at the Boys and Girls Club in Fort Lauderdale. The session was one hour long and included an introduction to CrossFit, a warm-up, technical instruction, a workout and a moment of reflection. Many of these kids are under privileged and cannot afford to pay for CrossFit classes so we were able to provide them with an opportunity they may never have had. We were also able to expose them to a different type of physical activity.

We started with introductions of ourselves and the HPA program. Then we gave the kids an overview of what the session would entail. Most of the kids had never heard of CrossFit and didn't know what it was. We thought this was good because they had no preconceptions or assumptions about what we were about to do. Afterwards we jumped right into the session. We started with the junkyard dog warm-up. This is a dynamic and explosive warm-up that works the entire body. It is performed with a partner and each person takes turns jumping over and crawling under their partner. It is a great way to get your heart rate up and the best part about it was that all of the kids were doing it for the first time...and having fun with it! The next part of the session was the instruction. We taught them how to do a proper air squat as well as front, back and overhead squats. Then we moved on to teach them a strict press and push press. All of the instruction was done with PVC pipes to ensure safety and reinforce technique.

After the tutorials we started to explain the workout. We set up four different stations: 1. Push presses with a 15lb bar, 2. Sumo Deadlift High Pulls with kettle bells, 3. Burpees, and 4. Medicine ball Thrusters. The group was divided into four, and each group spent one minute at each station for two rounds; thus the entire workout was eight minutes. Some of the kids enjoyed it more than others and some needed a little extra motivation, but everyone finished. There were even a few kids who excelled with the movements and were able to add weights to their bars. Once the workout was over we cleaned up and had all the kids sit down so we could reflect. We talked about how tired they were, and how much of a workout they could get in ten minutes or less. We also discussed why it is important for kids their age to exercise. Some answers they gave were: to be healthy, maintain weight, be active and think better. We added on to that list, telling them about the mental benefits of exercise, i.e. increased neural connections, better sleep patterns and improved mood/affect. At that moment we were finished with the session and thanked them for their time and attention.

This session was truly a great experience because we were able to provide a healthy, active outlet for a population that is fighting obesity and related disorders. We also learned that some of the gym and weight equipment had been taken out of the facility so we felt good about the fact that they were able to use and workout with the different equipment. Sometimes, with these programs, counselors are limited to doing certain games and activities because of the equipment and supplies available. We were able to provide the kids and staff with a fresh, hands-on experience in physical activity from which they were able to learn new movements and exercises. A lot of time children get bored with doing the same things over and over again, so our CrossFit kids session was great for them to get out of their normal routine. They also learned that you don’t need an hour of your day to work out. They were tired after only eight minutes! Quick, high intensity workouts are just as effective, and I think we were able to get that message across. The staff really appreciated the programming and expressed interest in us coming back and doing more sessions. Hopefully we will be able to work out another day and time to do another workout and teach more skills and exercises.

A Day at Watch Me Grow 2

Kertria and I did our HPA activity at Watch Me Grow 2 private school located in Miami-Dade County, where we perform three activities with two kindergarten classes all age five years old children; giving us a total of 35 students. The teachers also help with the activities which were group/numbers, radio, and tic tac toe. In the group/ number activity the whole objective is to group yourself and others of the number being called. If they did not have the number that group of people called, they had to sit out until the remaining group of children was standing. The children enjoy this game a lot because they were outside and we had them spread out across the field to make it a little challenging.

In the radio activity, the point of the game is to count double numbers without messing up. We modified the game a little so that everyone gets a chance to say a number, so instead of repeating to different numbers twice, we had them say two numbers once, for instance 1, 2-2, 3-3, 4. We put them into five groups of seven and the highest number has a class they agree on was forty-five, which was shocking and amazing to watch. Some groups did not reach forty-five but they were close. After putting them into groups, we actually try it in one big circle and we reach sixty with a few trails and errors. We were all happy for them and it was good to see them work together as a class; if one classmate messed up, the other classmate would say what the next number was. Not all the children liked this game and one could tell who were stronger in the numbers.

In the last activity, the groups were mixed; meaning the ones who always worked together were placed with other classmates. When we played tic tac toe, some children knew how to play and others had to learn the game. With this activity, we participated as leaders since there were more people who didn’t know how to play. To tell the X’s from the O’s, the teams had papers with an ‘X’ or an ‘O’ on them. The objective was to get three in a row. We saw growth in the math, communication, team work, and listening skills. For the ones who had a difficult time we encourage them to continue playing and enjoying themselves in the process and use what they learn as well as. We told them that it’s okay for them not to know because they are in the process of learning. So children ask for help when they didn’t know and the teachers made sure they explain the importance to ask the teacher for help.

The children really like the number/group game the most because they were running mainly and they say it reminds them or musical chairs because people had to sit out. In the number game, the children wanted to count by 2’s but the teacher suggested doing it next year because they were not strong as a class to count by 2’s. As for the other activities the girls were into radio more than the boys and tic tac toe was a learning experience for everyone. The teacher liked our ideas and mentioned they will include them into their class routine. Our HPA project showed the growth in a learning environment that children can take with them later on in life.

Hear Your Fear

For our Human Performance Academy activity, we targeted college students at Barry University. Our project was called “Hear Your Fears”. The purpose of this project was to have college students recognize their fears, write them down on a post it note, and place the post it note on the presentation board we had available. This allowed the students to see that other people share the same fears and that they are not alone. We targeted this group because college is a difficult transition period for many people. The transition between high school and college can be difficult and filled with fearful anxieties, but not many people know how to reach out for help.

After presenting out proposal to the class, we contacted Gaston Arellano, who helped us coordinate reserving a table for a specific date. We were able to reserve a table for a little more than an hour in the Landon Student Union at Barry University. We prepared a trifold poster board with the title of our project and had the words “write something” written on the bottom as well to gain the attention of college students walking by. We left the board blank, but wanted people to feel that they could write anything that they wanted to with no restrictions or judgments. Once we placed the poster on the table, we put colorful post-it notes with markers in order to catch the attention of the students. We also placed starbursts on the table as an incentive to attract the attention of the students even more; we were nervous that people were not going to want to get involved at all. However, people would walk by and ask for a Starburst, or we would see people looking at the candy. This was our way to get them involved. We would say to them they could have a Starburst if they just write down on a note what is one thing that creates fear, anxieties, or levels of stress related to college. While they wrote down their fears, we did not look at them and we allowed them to put the note on the board themselves to allow anonymous answers.

Overall our delivery was much better than we had expected. There were not many people walking through the building at the time that we had the table set up. We were nervous that we were not going to be able to talk to many people, and let them know that everyone has some sort of fear, whether it is small or large. However, after some time, we ended up having a great turn out and we started to warm up to people. People would approach the table and we would have friendly conversations with them and encourage them to write something down. We explained to them that they can write anything down, and they didn’t have to share it with us if they didn’t want to. Many of these participants did actually talk to us about their fears. They asked how they can start overcoming these fears and asking how they can face their fears. We assisted them to get them thinking about ideas and provided them with a tip sheet. It was rewarding to see people interacting with each other after they had left the table, looking at the tip sheet and talking about what they have done and what they can do.

After an hour and a half at the table it was an overall great experience. We not only were able to provide people with helpful information, but we learned how to encourage people to open up to us about something that may not be easy to talk about. On the other hand, there were a handful of people who wrote down their fears privately, put it in the board, said thank you and left. This was not a bad thing. It was good for people to write down something and see what others had wrote to learn about other people’s fears and how they relate to each other.

Hurricane Jumpers

In our practicum work, we were given the opportunity to work with a local jump roping team. This team presented a lot of new obstacles that we had never encountered before. We had to not only translate all of the sport psychology information into digestible information for their age group but we also had to translate it to their specific performance area (jump rope). Neither my partner nor I had any existing knowledge of jump roping let alone competitive jump roping. However, we did our research and spent a lot of time observing the team in order to have a better understanding. Through our research and observations we came across another obstacle. In competitive jump roping the individuals on the team not only compete with one another (i.e., double dutch) but also against one another. This was a new and unique factor that we had to take into consideration when planning our weekly team workshops.

We conducted a total of six workshops. All of which were geared towards building and enhancing team cohesion while also sparking individual responsibility and competitiveness. The workshops were extremely interactive and were always followed by a “debrief” in which we allowed the team to make sense of the activities and develop an action plan to put in place for the practice that immediately followed the workshop.

Overall we saw immense progress in the team and across each individual. We had a lot of fun and learned so much about the art of applied sport psychology.

HPA Newsletter Editorial Board:

Julianne Giusti, B.S. - julianne.giusti@mymail.barry.edu
Gualberto Cremades, Ph.D. - gcremades@barry.edu
Please feel free to send us your comments, feedback, or suggestions.

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