Posts Tagged ‘fun’

Mastering a new skill

April 15th, 2010 No comments

They have a game here in Australian schools called Handball. No, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Olympic sport Handball. So, what is it then? I’ll tell you in a minute…

I have two school kids (so far). This particular story will include my son who is six. Moving here to Manly late January and starting school just six days later, we where quite eager to see how they would cope, especially him knowing hardly any English, but for a few words. We weren’t particularly worried though; he’s a smart kid and also quite confident and secure. Plus, he loooves anything sports. That always helps a young guy at school.

It didn’t take long to see that handball was the thing at school. The kids play it every recess as well as before and after school. Baltazar wanted to know right away how to play it so I asked a couple of kids to teach him.

So, without further due, please let me introduce the rules of handball:

BigFooty: Who used to play handball (aka four-square) back in school?

Too much for you? I understand completely. It’s a complicated game in all its apparent simplicity. Add to the above rules some Manly(?) specific features like Skillage, Rollings, Grabs, Poison etc. – most of them being dynamic, i.e. dictated by the owner of the ball and/or the current King – and you have an intricate, fast paced game that I for one have trouble understanding even after all these hours of watching and even playing myself.

So, how can a poor six year old kid from the cold north learn this in such a short time without even knowing the language?

…actually, he hasn’t just learnt it; he masters it. He was just unofficially crowned the Best Year 1 Player at Manly West Public School, among 120+ year 1 students (not all of them playing handball of course, but still…)

I’ll tell you why:

  • Because he has passion!
  • Because he’s not afraid to go up against the best in the field.
  • Because he has stamina – he’s not giving up.
  • Because he has fun.
  • Because he’s entering the task with an open mind.
  • Because he just jumps right into it, he doesn’t waste too much time on theory.
  • Because he wants to improve, he wants to be the best!
  • (And of course; because he’s got talent.)

These qualities that come so easy and naturally to a six-year-old; how come we adults find them so hard?

Mastering a new skill is scary business; we tend to focus too much on the vast distance separating ourselves from the current masters. But as with any other seemingly insurmountable obstacle, it helps to break it down into smaller parts.

So, that’s what I’m going to do.

My intentions are to examine these attributes a little closer to try to map out an understanding of how to be great at something and have fun while you’re doing it.

Stay tuned…

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