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Jenny Meadows – Life From The Track Part 4

Posted on September 23rd, 2016

Part four of Jenny Meadows’ and Trevor Painter’s interview, we find out the benefits of teaching children the importance of physical exercise…

Moving on to competing, how is it different now, to when you began?

 Jenny: I think a lot of kids now, don’t really like competing. I think a lot of people, they like training and taking part. There are always going to be the really good kids who are dead sporty and they love competition. I think a lot of younger children shy away from competition which is a shame really.

You coach young kids don’t you?

Jenny: You do [pointing to Trevor]

Trevor: Yeah

Jenny: A lot of them say ‘I’m not very good at this’ they don’t have the confidence.

Trevor: Self-esteem is quite a big one. But I think it didn’t help when the schools cancelled Sports Days, because you’ve got kids in class who are phenomenal at Maths, phenomenal at English and they’re always getting A* and whatever, with their names on the wall; but then the sporty kids, you go and cancel Sports Day and what do they do? Where do they shine? Where do they get their self-esteem from? Then that carries on down the line, their competitive spirit is getting weaker and weaker and then with society getting all of these wonderful PlayStations and things like that; you can be halfway through playing a game, if you’re not quite winning anything, you just press reset and you go back to the start and you start again.

Whereas that doesn’t happen in life and we need to change kids’ mind sets to actually fight for it.

Jenny: What we always find now is, when we go in to schools or you get some children who come in to the running club, their motor skills and development are not very good.

Trevor: So you have to work harder to get them to the level you want them to, before you can actually train them.

Jenny: I think just general hopping, skipping, and jumping. I just don’t feel the fundamental movement skills are as good.

Trevor: Balance

Jenny: So what Trevor does quite a lot is, you [Trevor] coach and have to spend a lot of time doing the basics first.

Trevor: Which is wasting their time with me, because they’ve come to me for the expertise, but I’m teaching them the stuff they should be learning in primary school.

Jenny: It’s such a shame

Trevor: Teaching is all about stats and ‘how many have you passed through English and Maths?’ and they don’t really care about sports and a healthy lifestyle.

But now people are talking about giving kids a healthy lifestyle.

Trevor: ‘For years you’ve been neglecting this, so it’s understandable this is how life is going to be.’

Is that changing at all?

Trevor: Well it’s going to take time to change. They’re only just now starting to bring

Activators in, so they can engage with kids.

Jenny: I think Harris & Ross will probably find that as well. […] some children might come in, because they’re really sporty. When they receive treatment, they’ve got various problems. But I think they might find that at Harris & Ross, they have to work a lot with the movement skills. Maybe that’s why there’s injuries occurring, because they’re not using the muscles or their body right.

Trevor: You know they play silly games at school and stuff, which is nice, it’s getting a bit of competitiveness. If they [the schools] taught them, fundamental movement skills, it would enhance their sporting life, even if they’re just a jogger, or they like going for fun runs, or if they want to be a Wayne Rooney or Mo Farah; if they want to be these elite athletes, well they’re going to have a much easier transition if they’re taught from a young age, how to stand, how to walk…

Simple things like your posture

Trevor: ‘It’s easy, what do you mean, you’re telling me how to walk!?’

We’re driving down in the car, watching people walk past when we’re stopped at the traffic lights and it’s just unbelievable ‘Well, he’s going to have a sore knee later in life and he’s going to have a bad back.’

Jenny: You can see it

Trevor: If you engage with the posture correctly and if people are taught, their lives would

be enhanced so much

You don’t even realise it, but I will definitely think about it in the future.
What do you see happening at the moment, you say it’s going to take a while to change, but do you think more and more people are noticing it?

Trevor: Well, if you look at the active participation survey, the numbers are okay, but it’s the standard. The number of kids who are coming in to sports clubs has reduced, but the standards of those kids have also reduced. Everyone complains at how poor England are at playing football, it’s understandable because the level of the kids coming through the Academy is much lower, there’s much less numbers; because it’s easier for the club to buy this guy from France and that guy from Germany.

Do you think it’s culturally different?

Trevor: I think so…You look at the ones who are doing well in the Premiership. They’re all from Serbia, Bosnia, all these places where they’ve had to develop grit and resilience; and our kids, they don’t need grit and resilience, because like I say, you’re on a PlayStation game and you press reset, if it’s going bad, you know, your mum and dad drive you to school; you’re mollycoddled from a young age, life’s easy.

Jenny: There are some things like Sport England; instead of having coaches, because it’s quite a traditional, scary word, they’re trying to have Leaders and Activators. So maybe people like that going in to schools, because teaching is hard, not all the teachers are going to have this PE specialist subject; so, I think they’re trying to find more money for Leaders and Activators, to lead that, it’s got to start at schools so hopefully that’s how it starts.

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