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Pebbles to Boulders: Attention Please! Attention! Part 1

Tuesday, 7 December 2010 - Posted by Mort Cooper

One of the toughest things challenging Little Rock organizers is how to keep the kids focused on the task of learning how to curl. Many organizers will tell you that several attempts of trial and error are made to find the right formula. Now let’s put one thing to rest right away! What works for one, may not work for another!! There can be more than one way to achieve results. It does not matter how you get to your final destination, just as long as you get there.

Little Rocks

Again, through trial and error, I had found that one hour of Little Rock curling was long enough. (Think about other sports for youngsters and how long those sessions are)  Just because a regular curling game is 8 ends in length, that usually takes 2 hours, does not mean that all curling needs to be played at two hours in length. Modify to your audience and their needs. To have the kids attention for two hours, I think, is too much. The little people will get cold; they’ll become distracted from the task at hand; fooling around might take over which could lead to safety issues on the ice; and washroom breaks may come more often. In general, the longer the sessions, the chances for more disruptions to occur and the more frustrated the organizers and volunteers will become. Oh, that reminds me, it is easier to attract volunteers to help out for an hour than it is for two hours.

To reinforce this point further, just talk to any elementary school teacher about their lesson plans. Each subject covered over the course of the school day is rarely taught longer than an hour. Why? Because the minds of most youngsters cannot stay tuned in much longer than that. In school, after an hour, the routine is continuously adjusted, the student’s minds are redialed to another subject and the learning begins fresh again.

Being a veteran curling instructor, having taught, gosh I do not how many people to curl; I know the method of instruction works, for I have used it successfully over and over. I learned very quickly with the Little Rockers, you throw that methodology out the window. Bottom line, the kids do not want to be taught, they want to have fun. Kids think school is where you learn … the curling club is where you have fun. So let’s make their learning to curl fun.

As a Little Rock curling organizer, you learn to go with the flow. Sure you want to be organized and that is very important (you’ve heard me mention the importance of organization before), but when it comes to on ice expectations, you will want to modify the end results to suit the age group. And before you start pulling your hair out, relax and be patience. If you don’t relax you will drive yourself crazy and those around you as well. The most important lesson here is, FUN, FUN, FUN….. Enjoy It!

This subject of keeping the kids attention is a very long one… there just lots to say! At this time I’m going to ask you to tune in again next week to read more.




About Mort Cooper
Mort Cooper has been a curling administrator for over 25 years, beginning with 10 years as the Executive / Technical Director for the Ontario Curling Federation. He spent 3 years as the Curling Professional at Brantford Golf and Country followed by 10 years as Club Manager / Ice maker at the Brant Curling Club and one year as the General Manager of Guelph Curling Club. Presently, he is working on a semi-retirement career with a few outdoor pursuits, one of which is a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol System with Snow Valley Ski Resort in Barrie. In a volunteer curling capacity, Mort's career is highlighted with 10 years service as the Technical Advisor with the Uniroyal Goodrich World Junior Curling Championships, and along with his wife Donna, are major contributors to the Tim Hortons Little Rock Resource Guide. Mort acts as a resource on Little Rocks and is a Business of Curling Facilitator with the Canadian Curling Association.

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