Kill two birds with one stone

Kill two birds with one stone

10 March 2020

Professor aimed programs at dads to involve with girls with sports

An athletic program which for daughters and fathers is attracting attention in Australia . In Australia, it has been considered that girls tend to lack exercise and have poor basic physical capability when compared to boys. It was designed as an initiative to solve problems through interacting with parents and children. The architect is also expecting another effect.

It's still a bright Tuesday evening. Twenty pairs of fathers and daughters began exercises at a gymnasium in Newcastle , southeastern Australia .

Daughters stood on their fathers’ backs who were getting down on all fours and posed in a balanced manner. Next they were playing catch. However, it was not the usual way, they were clapping hands before catching balls thrown by the opponent, or doing forward rolls after jumping aside and catching them. All the girls were struggling against their big fathers but smiling.

This is an exercise program for daughters and fathers, dubbed "Daughters & Dads Active & Empowered" .

Professor Philip Morgan of University of Newcastle, who designed it said that the program is ‘‘associated with social and emotional skills , aside from being extremely fun and a good vigorous workout is actually associated with better emotional regulation in children.” A lot of the sports require participants to learn “how to land, to how to transfer weight, to develop spatial awareness so there's benefits.

According to Professor Morgan, many studies in the world have shown that more and more children in recent years, lack exercise, and that girls are more likely to be than boys to experience this. Especially in Australia, there is research that suggests that girls cannot perform basic physical skills such as jumping, throwing and balancing better than boys.

 Is it possible for girls to acquire physical skills by enjoying sports with their fathers instead of doing with their mothers?  Professor Morgan thought like this and created this program. It has another aim that makes fathers understand the importance to be involved with growth of their daughter in their life. Fathers are expected to understand and support daughters to enjoy their favorite sports regardless of gender.

 Girls from kindergarten to Year 6 and their fathers can join the program. The basic course has nine sessions . Each session is held is once a week for 90 minutes on weekday evenings . Since 2015, a total of 1,300 people have participated.

 There is around 30-minute lecture before physical play. The theme of this day was "self-control". "What do you do to stay calm when things go wrong in sports?" Parents and children discussed questions from the facilitator.

 There are sessions to learn not only the content that assume sports scenes, but also "gender prejudice ". "Girls like pink, clothes , boys like blue ones". They learn such of stereotypes of gender are in the background of the gender gaps.

Professor Morgan said, “we were addressing physical activity it was really about empowering girls to know that their opportunities are not defined by their biological sex. Careers are for everyone, that sports are for everyone, that colors are for everyone and they can aspire to be whatever they like to be and they are unlimited.”

Mr. Chris Tyrie  (36) and his daughter Lucia (6) participated in the program last October-December. Lucia said“It was good when we got do the skills, like catching and throwing and had rough and tumble”, She learned ‘‘that there's no such thing as girls and boys colors and you can do whatever you want in life. ” . Chris said “it was really good for her to see that and I've noticed that she's a lot more self-confident.”

Jonathan Poynter (51) and his daughter Celeste (13) took part in four years ago. Celeste says that this experience changed her consciousness. “My music teachers they would say ‘‘we are going to get the boys to do a rap or a hip-hop part in the song’'. I would go up to them and say ‘‘but girls can rap as well and do hip-hop'” she said. Jonathan said that, ‘‘Most definitely, she will be trying all sorts of things and deciding what she likes and going for it.” Can your daughter break the glass ceiling in future? “I would not be surprised at all’’.

When Morgan and his colleagues assessed 130 fathers and daughters who participated in, many of them found positive changes in social and emotional aspects, such as efforts goal-directed behavior, optimistic thinking, and self-management.

In Australia sports like cricket and rugby soccer are popular. According to Prof.Morgan, these sports organizations are interested in the effectiveness of the program. A project that adopts elements of cricket began this year and other organizations show their intentions to follow suite.

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