First steps toward fitness

first_img“All they have to do is understand.” he said. In basketball, for example, toddlers learn to go to the baseline and place their toes on the line. “We make a huge deal about that,” he said. “We reward with stickers and clapping. We focus on what they can do well.” Dribbling, shooting and passing are also taught with parents’ encouragement at each step. “They aren’t 8, they don’t have to master the skill,” said Michelle Ingram, Everett’s mother. “They just have to be exposed to it. “One kid who can’t dribble might not quite get it,” Ingram said. “We applaud all successes.” “There is such a sense of group membership,” said Julia Smith, 40. “Everyone is very enthusiastic and reinforcing.” Smith’s 3-year-old son, Trip, has participated in soccer and basketball and is looking forward to starting soccer next month when the season begins again. Smith says that not only has her son learned to dribble but he has become more independent on and off the court. Ingram believes her son’s successes on the basketball court have made him receptive to learning from other adults. “He has learned that Mommy and Daddy are not the only ones who can teach him,” she said. “It’s a positive atmosphere.” bridget.schinnerer@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2201160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Bolton said after continually observing tots wandering onto fields and gymnasium floors during their older siblings’ sporting events, he got the idea to form a league for toddlers. At one basketball game, he said, a 4-year-old boy ran onto the court, looked at the clock and waited until one second was left. “Then he shot the ball like he was in a real game,” Bolton said. “I realized that we could be missing an entire group of younger kids who could benefit from team sports training.” Bolton said that like learning to speak and even potty training, the children are taught the fundamentals step-by-step. PASADENA – Shout out the word “defense” and 2-year-old Everett Ingram’s arms shoot in the air. Like most toddlers, he probably cannot quite pronounce the word “defense,” but because of his participation in a sports league with other toddlers ages 18 months to 2 years old, Ingram knows exactly what to do with his body on the basketball court. A Step Ahead, a nonprofit organization that offers sports programs for children ages 18 months to 13 years old, has seen the most growth in its youngest divisions, “Hotshots” – for children ages 3 and 4 years old, and “Toddler Shots” – a parent participatory league for kids, which provide an introduction to sports for children still in diapers. The philosophy of the organization is the same for all ages, Executive Director Jacques Bolton said, “It is to teach youths to identify their natural talents.” last_img

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