Little Wickets NOVEMBER 2019 Blog on EMPATHY
Empathy In Sport
Wow, how time flies – it’s officially been over a year since the Little Wickets blog started up. I may have missed a few months along the way …. Whether you’ve read every post or this is your first foray into my ramblings about kids’ cricket and the ‘hidden’ benefits of Little Wickets, I hope you find something helpful and/or interesting to take away.
This time the ‘hidden’ benefit I wanted to talk about is EMPATHY (the ability to recognise & relate to the feelings of others). Empathy isn’t something you might instantly correlate to sport, it is more likely to be something people (especially Educators) talk about in relation to developing social skills, building interpersonal relationships and making friends. These are all essential elements of sport.
In sport, as in all other areas of life, the ability to empathise with others is an incredibly useful attribute. If kids can focus and think about how others may think and understand different viewpoints from their own, they’ll become better athletes as well as kinder people.
Being able to communicate with others without assuming that they think in exactly the same way as you do helps avoid unnecessary conflict, supports children as they try to comfort others and builds resilience in the knowledge that others are there to support them if they are finding something tough to deal with.
Empathy, just like throwing effectively, is not a skill you are born with, it is a skill that is perfected over time through experience & repetition. Children aren’t physically developed enough until they are maybe 5 or 6 years old to effectively and fluidly throw a ball and hit a target every time. In fact, young children throwing can look awkward and ungainly, but the more opportunities they have to give it a go the better they will get. Equally, very young children may not be emotionally developed enough to recognise how others are feeling and therefore don’t always respond appropriately in social situations but the more opportunities they have to practice and experience kindness & empathy the better they will be at demonstrating it themselves as they mature.
All of our Little Wickets coaches are handpicked to ensure that they practise what we preach about inspiring empathy in others. The coaches create the fun and caring atmosphere for the kids, giving feedback to the kids about the specific areas they’ve done well in. Our coaches help & encourage the kids to improve their skills in a supportive way so that the kids have the opportunity to improve and remain positive. The kids should always feel ‘connected’ and can come away feeling positive about themselves. In selecting coaches that demonstrate empathy and are capable of inspiring it in the kids, we hope you’ll agree that we’re successful in creating opportunities for kids to live the ‘Spirit of Cricket’, for which empathy is an intrinsic quality.
We encourage communication in a positive, nurturing, and open environment where children feel safe and supported. We want the kids who come through the Little Wickets to know that sport isn’t [just] about winning. You should play because you love the game and you love how it feels to work together with your friends and teammates. You should play because you feel respected by everyone on the pitch, not only for your prowess but for your efforts as well.
Just like the physical skills our Little Wicketers repeat and practice at the sessions we weave empathy, fair play and teamwork into all the Little Wickets activities to give the opportunity to fulfil their potential and become the big kids you want them to be.
We know that not all of our Little Wicketers are going to carry on with cricket after they graduate from 2nd Innings, but all of them will have had the best opportunity to practice to be the best person they can be from an early age. Meanwhile for those that do go on to join a cricket team (or any other kind of sports team for that matter!), using all the skills they have learned at Little Wickets, especially the ability to empathise with their teammates, will make them skillful TEAM players and will make the difference between giving up or pushing through a match (or a difficult moment in life).
Little Wickets Champions Teamwork, Fairplay & Fun for a reason! We welcome boys and girls as young as 2 ½ to 7 years old at our term-time 1st & 2nd Innings sessions (& kids up to 11 years old are welcome at our holiday camps.) Our next holiday activities will be running during the February 2020 Half Term.
I hope you enjoyed this month’s blog post. If you’d like to join the conversation on this topic or about anything else, you’re very welcome to get in touch with us, either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting any of our social media accounts. Our handle is @LittleWickets on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
As always, thank you for reading!
Don’t forget to book for the 2nd half of the Autumn Term if you haven’t already → http://bit.ly/31O8cI2
Until next month,