Helping a Shy Child Feel Comfortable On the Field

543Playing a sport might not require the same audacious personality that getting dramatic on the stage does, but for a child it can be just as scary. While sports build confidence and self-esteem, starting out with a shy or hesitant temperament is a hurdle for the child, parents, teammates and coaches. Does this mean that a shy child shouldn’t get active with athletics? Of course not! Parents and coaches can help a slow-to-warm-up child feel comfortable on the field with some careful planning and kind words.

What can you do to help your shy child?

Role Play

Your child may spend countless hours in the backyard kicking the soccer ball around, but when she gets on the field for real, your child seems scared. You know it’s not the actual athletic activity that frightens her. So, what is it? There is a coach giving her direction and teammates yelling her name. Shy kids may not know how to handle this social sporting situation. Set up a game at home in which you, your spouse and siblings (or a few family friends) play the roles of their coach and the other players. Role-play the game, focusing on how your child interacts with the other people on the field. The more practice your child gets, the more comfortable she will feel. This leaves her mind free to concentrate on the game, instead of on the social side of things.

Focus on the Pluses

Your child may not speak his mind and he often shies away from anything that’s unfamiliar. But, when it comes to hitting a ball he’s a homerun super-star. Find and focus on the positive parts of play for your child. If he excels at a sport, or a specific part of the sport, praise him. Keep in mind, not every child is a natural athlete. If your little slugger is still learning the game or isn’t the top player, you can still find a positive to point out. This could include his amazing effort, how well he focuses during game play or his good sportsmanship practices.

Hang Back

Shy children don’t want to be the center of attention. If the spotlight scares your child, don’t focus it on them. Although you want to cheer them on, don’t have to go overboard and embarrass them. Nix the high volume, “Yeah, you can do it! Get the goal! Make the shot!” screams as you run up and down the field alongside your child. Instead, hang back and provide praise in a low-key way.

Start Slow

If social situations challenge your child’s shyness, start with a single sport that he plays as an individual or go for private lessons. This isn’t to say that he can’t, or shouldn’t, play on a team. Instead, let him warm up to a sport through an activity that is one-on-one such as private tennis lessons.

Set Goals

Work together from the beginning to set realistic goals. For a shy child these may include asking the coach to play a favorite position or stepping up to bat with confidence.

Just because your child is shy doesn’t mean that she should skip sports. Ax the anxiety and help your child to enjoy athletic activities. The more comfortable they feel on the field, the more their self-confidence and esteem will grow!

Sportsmanship and Social Development: Bringing Teamwork into Everyday Activities

DSCN1094Your child knows that he needs to shake hands with the opposing team whether he wins or loses. He knows to pat a teammate on the back after he scores or fails, and knows to cheer everyone on. Even though your child is considered a “good sport” on the field, do these positive practices translate into everyday life? They can! Good sportsmanship is part of social development, and can help your child at school, with friends and anywhere off the court or off the field.


Between ages 3 and 5 your child is laying the foundation of social skill development. While they aren’t “pros” yet, they’re beginning to share, cooperate and take turns with others. As your child is building these skills, they may also be experiencing their first organized sports play. Whether its playing t-ball, pee-wee soccer or another sport, you can help your child to take what she’s doing during practice and games and put it to use everywhere else.

  • Sharing: Passing the soccer ball or basketball back and forth is certainly a way to score — but it’s also a way to share. Instead of one player making every goal or basket, passing during a game teaches kids how to share and support each other.
  • Cooperation: As the saying goes, “There’s no ‘I’ in team!” Even a young child can understand that it takes more than just her to play a game. Take this idea home and explain that helping you to carry the folded laundry or picking up toys with her brother contribute to the family ‘team’.
  • Taking turns: Part of fair play is waiting until you’re up at bat or called to the field. If your child is struggling to wait for the swing at the park or her pre-k teacher tells you that she’s cutting in line during hand washing time, gently remind her about how she sits on the bench until her t-ball coach says she’s up to hit.

Older Children

By the time your child gets into the elementary school years, he or she begin building true social connections and becoming an expert at interacting with others. They will be gaining control over their emotions and become able to use words to express their feelings. That said, your child is still working on his social behaviors. What can sports do to help social development?

  • Kindness: It’s not easy to congratulate someone who just beat you, but doing so takes grace and kindness. If your child can do this on the field, he or she can do it in their own life. For example, he may feel like screaming when his best bud gets the starring role in the school play and he gets a secondary role. Talk about the good sportsmanship he shows during game play and ask him to congratulate his pal.
  • Encouragement: Sometimes it’s a friend who needs a lift up. Remind your child how she can cheer her teammates on to success the next time she tells you a friend is feeling bad.
  • Respect: Your child might not always like what the coach has to say, but he listens to the coach’s direction. The same goes for school and home. The respect that he shows his coach should translate to respecting other adult authority figures, such as his teacher and you.

Sports is so much more than exercise for children. Learning good sportsmanship practices at an early age can help your child to develop social skills that she’ll use when she steps off the field!

What Parents Can Learn From The Success Of Jordan Spieth


Synopsis: Jordan Spieth has become a Masters Champion at just 21 years old, and parents of young athletes can learn from his path to success.

At 21 years old, Jordan Spieth has already recorded a lifetime of accomplishments playing golf. He is currently ranked second best in the world, and is the 2015 Masters Champion! By any measure, Jordan Spieth’s career is off to an incredible start. He also appears to have the ability to become one of the greatest players in golf history.

So, what can parents of young athletes learn by observing the early career of this superstar? Plenty. Not all kids have the ability that Spieth possesses, but there are still lessons to be learned if a child is interested in golf or any other sport.

Let Them Set Their Own Pace

Jordan Spieth turned professional when he was just 19 years old. To many people, this may seem like a mistake. He had not even completed his sophomore year at the University of Texas when he decided to make the jump into the world of professional golf. Of course, he had already led the golf team at Texas to a NCAA Championship, and had even made the cut in a PGA Tour event as an amateur. There are no sure things in any professional sport, but Spieth was about as close as it gets.

The lesson here is simple – observe the progress of your child, and allow them to progress in sports at their own pace. For the vast majority of athletes, turning pro at 19 would be a terrible mistake. They would lose out on the opportunity to complete their college degree, and may not be physically prepared to handle the challenges of competing against full-grown adults. In this case, however, it made perfect sense for Spieth. He had done everything he needed to do at the amateur level, and stepping up the competition was the only logical step.

Your child doesn’t need to be a standout performer to learn from this scenario. In fact, even if your child is only just a few years of age at this point, you can still take this lesson to heart. Don’t feel confined by the expectations of others when it comes to your child and sports. Everyone has a different experience in athletics. If your child is advanced for their age, don’t be afraid to let them play against older kids and better competition. If they are having trouble keeping up, find them a league where they will be comfortable and able to have fun. It’s all about creating an environment of positivity and enjoyment for them to thrive. All athletes develop at different rates. The key is to allow for the development over the need to win.

It’s Okay to Be Unique

Any golf teacher will tell you that the technique Jordan Spieth uses is not conventional. If his parents or a local golf teacher had tried to force him into a swing that was more traditional, he likely wouldn’t be the player he is today. Instead, he was allowed to do his own thing and find his own way. As a result, he has a golf swing that is unique to him, and it is one of the most effective swings in the world! There is a fine line between teaching a child the fundamentals of a sport, and allowing them to use their natural ability. It is up to parents and coaches to walk that line so that they offer the kids the information they need without limiting their creativity.

Jordan Spieth is a rare talent; however, any parent with children who are involved in sports can learn from the story of his career. He has been allowed to set his own pace, and play the game his own way, and he has flourished as a result.


Helping Your Child Recover From A Sports Injury


How To - Blog Summaries_Abstracts

Synopsis: Seeing your child in pain isn’t easy, and while you may not be qualified to take care of your child’s sport injury, there are plenty of things you can do to help his recovery. As your child’s biggest fan, it’s your job to get him out on the field again.

Seeing your child in pain and unable to do the things he loves is never going to be easy. Whether he’s suffering from a sprained ankle or broken bone, you will want to make the recovery process as easy for him as possible. You probably know yourself that recovering from an injury can be tough even as an adult, so you can imagine how it much more frustrating it must be for your child! Here are a few things you can do to help your child have a better recovery:

#1: Seek professional help

Even with the smallest injury, there are things the patient can do to aid recovery. It could mean avoiding certain positions, doing regular strengthening or just keeping weight off it, but a professional is best placed to give advice. Your child’s coach may be able to help, but you could always ask your doctor for advice too. By following medical advice you could speed up recovery.

#2: Following the advice

One of the problems most patients face is that they feel recovered before they really are. As soon as your child feels able to play again, he’s going to want to get out on the field. Putting the body under stress too soon, however, could lead to even more problems. If a doctor has advised six weeks away from the game to allow for a full recovery, it’s important you stick to this. Help your child to understand the importance of letting his body heal properly, after all, another injury could see him out of the game for even longer next time!

#3: Deal with any anxiety and build confidence

If your child suffered a sports injury during a game, he might be feeling anxious about the idea of playing again. He may also be lacking in confidence, especially if he took a tumble in front of the team. Let your child speak openly and honestly about how he feels, and be careful not to dismiss his feelings. Help him overcome the feelings of anxiety by reminding him of how much he enjoys the game. When he does start playing again, make sure you’re there with plenty of compliments to help rebuild his confidence and remind him that he’s a valued part of the team.

#4: Keep up the social side

Being a part of a team isn’t just about sports, there are huge social benefits to it too. Your child’s teammates are probably some of his closest friends, and he may be feeling left out if he’s unable to play for a while. It can be tempting to lock yourself away so you don’t have to watch from the sidelines as all your friends have fun on the field, but it’s important to attend games. Your child will find it much easier to transition back into the team if he’s kept up the social aspect during his recovery. Take him along to the games, and make sure he still goes to any social events or hangouts the other kids might be having.



Organized Sports for Children with Disabilities

Sports are a win for all kids. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, recreational athletics can be especially therapeutic for kids with disabilities, with numerous physical and overall well-being benefits. Even though kids with delays and disabilities may not engage in organized sports in the same manner as other children, understanding the importance of inclusion is necessary for all parents. Whether or not your child has a disability, knowing the why’s and how’s of including children with special needs in sports makes team play possible and positive for everyone.

Participation Considerations
Are you thinking about signing your child up for team play, but aren’t sure if their disability will get in the way? Before jumping full-force into the soccer season or letting them join the school’s volleyball team, check with a professional. Your child’s doctor or medical care team should okay their ability to play first.

There may be special concerns that the doctor (or other medical expert) has when it comes to your child’s mobility, stamina or strength. Additionally, your medical professional may have concerns about injuries. Talking to the doctor can also calm any fears that you have. The professional can present the reality of your child’s condition and what playing sports means for them.

Beyond the Physical
Sure, sports help children develop physically. But, sports can also play a powerful role in your child’s mental well-being. Children with disabilities may suffer from low self-esteem or feel ‘different’ than the other kids. Being part of a team can increase confidence and help your child build social connections.

If your child doesn’t have a disability, playing on a team with a child who does have a disability breeds compassion, and a better understanding of differences. For example, your child may not know any special needs children, and not understand disabilities — or may even be fearful. The opportunity to play on a team with children of differing abilities allows yours to see that a genetic condition or developmental delay isn’t something to laugh at or be scared of. Before he knows it, he may even have a new best bud!

Choosing a Sport
Along with the doctor’s direction, choosing a sport for your child is a joint venture. Not only do you need to consider the pro’s advice, but you also need to listen to your child. This is your child’s time to shine. Let your child help pick an athletic activity he or she will enjoy. Check out a few different types games. You don’t have to go to a professional event to do this. Simply hit the little league field or go to the local team tennis competition to take a look at what’s available.

Special Needs Teams
If you or your physician has determined that your child’s disabilities preclude participation on a mainstream sports team, look for a team that accommodates kids with disabilities. Little League instituted a Challenger Division in 1989 to enable boys and girls with physical and mental challenges to become valued and successful members of a team. US Youth Soccer has a similar league called TOPSoccer. Again, sports have benefits for all children. A disability is all the more reason to get your kids involved in recreation to help them build confidence and learn team-building skills.

Successful Coaches Also Mentor Athletes


Synopsis: Whether you are coaching T-Ball or at the varsity high school level, your role as a leader of young athletes should extend far beyond teaching the sport fundamentals. Reaching out to today’s youth is not always an easy task, but as a coach you are in an advantageous position to become a mentor.

You may think the idea of a coach accepting the additional responsibility of mentorship is a relatively new concept. The fact is the coach/mentor tie-in has been around since the beginning of organized sports. Look at college basketball coach John Wooden and the NFL’s Vince Lombardi. While they are remembered for winning championships and building dynasties in their respective sports, they are praised more so for the way they delivered powerful life lessons to their players. The ‘Pyramid of Success’ developed by Wooden, and the motivational attitude of Lombardi remain valued sources of inspiration used by corporations and individuals.

Some coaches feel that mentoring a young athlete has to mirror the ways of the work world. A meeting is scheduled, a specific amount of time is blocked off on the daily planner and the two people meet face-to-face. Thankfully, this is not necessary and your mentoring sessions will come about in a casual, more organic way. A few minutes during a water break or a quick walk-up to the athlete while heading to the locker room can bring about surprising results. Players become comfortable around coaches, and learn to initiate such mentoring moments on their own.

The ‘mentor radar’ must always be on high alert with coaches. “How are your grades?” An easy question such as this while walking off the practice field is a great starting point. This quickly eliminates the barrier between the athlete and you. You are not talking about the practice mishaps. You are showing a personal interest in the player. A mentoring session is about listening and understanding what is going on inside your player’s head, and it does not have to be necessarily long.

There are ways to mentor athletes in small groups as well. After hitting fly balls to the outfielders, get them together and talk about something not related to sports. Open up short conversation about the latest movie, or an appropriate news event. Get your players to start interacting with each other. This will make it easier for them to approach you, both as a coach and as a mentor.

You want to keep the communication lines open, so be careful not to cut one of your players short when they approach you. When a player decides to confide in you about a personal issue, now is not the time to turn your back. Even if practice lasted twenty minutes longer than expected, and you are already late for the family dinner. If you fail to listen to your player, you’ll lose all the mentoring ground you have gained from past sessions.

The end of every practice should include insight directly involving your players. This is the time you may want to talk about issues that may be common among all players — for instance if a teacher or parent approached you regarding a few players who decide it is ‘cool’ to leave their lunch trays on the cafeteria tables instead of busing them. You don’t have to single out any of the players, but acknowledge you are aware of such inappropriate behavior and how this has an effect on how others view the team. Providing such positive leadership to youth can go a long way in terms of your players becoming better people overall.

In Pursuit of the ‘Coveted’ Athletic Scholarship

Synopsis: Blame it on the fact the cost of a college education has obtained a permanent place on the escalator to infinity. Blame it on the fact the plethora of sports-related cable/satellite channels are so hungry to fill vacant viewing hours athletic participants of every intercollegiate sport offered are capturing their version of Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame. Whatever the reason, there continues to be an upsurge in the efforts put forth by high school student-athletes (and parents) to reach the promised land of a secure college athletic scholarship. IMG_3601

Reality is the best starting point when discussing athletic scholarships. A University of Washington study found 59 percent of high school varsity football players believe they will receive an athletic scholarship upon graduation. In reality, only two percent of all high school athletes will participate collegiately in any sport. A snapshot of NCAA Division I and Division II sports offerings put the number of athletic scholarships in the vicinity of 138,000. Break that down further by looking at the number of high school girls track athletes (over 600,000) and the number of collegiate track scholarships in those two NCAA divisions (4,500), and the sting of reality is even greater.  Only four NCAA sports offer complete scholarships, also referred to as ‘full rides,’ a fact which also needs to be understood.

Those realities aside, there are still opportunities for those student-athletes not considered among the elite in their respective sports. Regardless of whether the student is an elite athlete, academics cannot be discounted. Intercollegiate athletic recruiters want to see how successful student-athletes are in the classroom, as well as ACT and SAT scores. A gymnast with a 3.4 GPA is likely to get the nod over a recruit of similar athletic ability who carries a 2.7 GPA. Recruiters will also ask classroom-related questions such as:

·      How much does the student-athlete participate in class discussion?

·      Do teachers consider the student-athlete responsible and committed?

·      Are homework assignments turned in on time?

·      Is the student-athlete self motivated?

College recruiters want to fill rosters with student-athletes who have the focus and motivation to earn a degree. They want athletes who will commit to athletic and academic disciplines.

Student-athletes need to be involved with other extracurricular activities –besides sports. Leadership is also a big part of being a team member. Holding a position in student government or being a part of a thespian group may show the initiative a college coach seeks in a player.

Student-athletes need to inform their high school coaches early on about their desire to play collegiately. It is common for high school coaches to ask players after their freshman year of their intent on playing an intercollegiate sport. If a coach does not do this, the student-athlete must take the initiative and initiate the conversation about playing the sport at the college level.

It is important for the student-athlete to research the universities that interest him or her. At this step, parents and student-athletes must become realistic. Look at schools that will fit the athletic and academic level of the student-athlete. Ask the high school coach for input. Good high school head coaches will assist players in initial contacts and introduction packets to be sent via email. Recruiting visits are not limited to the major universities. After narrowing down the potential colleges to attend, schedule a visit during the student-athlete’s junior year. Interested college recruiters may also make such invitations if there is mutual interest.

Even if the student-athlete is not expecting to be recruited at a Division I or II university, do not forget to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse. A college recruiter may see something in a student-athlete that a parent or the player may not recognize. Not being registered with the clearinghouse process could result in a lost opportunity for the student-athlete.






Are Youth Sports a Deterrent to Child Obesity?

DSC_0886Synopsis: As obesity rates among children in the United States continue to be a major concern among parents, educators, and health officials ,the issue of whether or not participation in youth sports can be part of the solution.

There are many reasons parents and pediatric experts encourage children to participate in youth athletics. Organized sports offer an atmosphere where children can interact in a positive manner, working together toward a goal, developing friendships as well as interaction with adults whom are not family members. There is an ability to develop motor skills, and develop a sense of self assurance. Many also believe youth sports participation will lead to better exercise habits which can help to curb the nation’s child obesity problem. It is a subject up for debate.

A 2012 study published in the journal Pediatrics calculates the effect participating in two sports teams per year would have on adolescent obesity. The study claims obesity numbers would plunge as much a 26 percent. The same study shows if all adolescents would walk or bike to school four out of five days the obesity rate would drop by 22 percent.

A report by the American College of Sports Medicine which provides contrasting information was published a year earlier. The report compared the research of 19 different studies on the subject. The report agrees with the assumption that sports participation is a great way for the nation’s youth to develop numerous physical and social skills, and athletics provide the setting for pursuing obesity prevention goals. However, the ACSM report also takes into account other pertinent information gathered from those 19 research studies. Data shows the increase in physical activity was in direct correlation to the youth participants increasing the amount of their food consumption, including some unhealthy food and beverage choices.

Obese children face another obstacle should they decide to initiate participation in organized sports. Just as sport is a great way to create a sense of self worth and accomplishment, it can also foster an adverse atmosphere for the obese child. The obese child is confronted with a body type which may hinder the development of sport-specific skills. The inability to positively contribute to the overall team effort may result in the obese child losing interest in the sport or quitting the team. Parents and coaches must prepare themselves to address such a scenario.

Many pediatricians believe introducing youth into organized sports is just the first step toward attacking the child obesity issue. Parents need to address the eating habits of the entire family. Making changes to everyone’s diet. Unfortunately, sometimes it is involvement in youth sports which attributes to unhealthy eating. Game times interfere with normal dining hours, leading fast food takeout. Dieticians suggest preparing meals ahead of time for such evenings.

Family exercise is another step to take. Not only are obese children increasing physical activity a few times a week on a court or ball field, they are taking a nightly walk or bike ride with parents and siblings. A family game of wiffle ball or tossing a Frisbee can offer more than just physical benefits to children.

Positive Coaching and Your Child

DSC_9185Positive Coaching and Your Child

It’s half way through the middle school wrestling match. On one side of the mat the coach is sitting with laser focus, watching his player move. He’s shouting out words of support, “Good job!” and giving detailed directions, “Get your leg up” over the cheers of the team. And, then there’s the other side.

The other team’s coach is shouting too. But, he’s not giving words of support or even helpful directions. With a pained face he’s whaling, “Oh come on! Really? Take him. Do better!” When his player gets pinned he throws his hands up in exasperation, turns his back and walks away. As he shakes his head one of the parents joins in with an audible, “That was terrible!”

This is a true story, and one that illustrates two coaching styles. The first is positive, insightful and focused on helping the young athlete to perform at his best. The second, not so much. The second coach wants his player to win (what coach doesn’t?), but at any cost. Does this help the player? Does this turn a child into an athlete? Beyond the shame and hurt that the player may feel, this type of aggressive coaching cultivates a culture that is far from motivational.

According to Positive Coaching Alliance, coaches should use positive reinforcement and constructive criticism. This doesn’t mean that the coach needs to tell your child that he’s “the best” when he’s not or hand him a trophy just because he walks out onto the field and stands there. Instead, the coach is responsible for help young athletes learn the game and develop skills.

If you’re wondering what your child’s coach can do to help him succeed, youth coaches should:

  • Understand what’s appropriate for your child’s age and developmental level. A 5-year-old can’t physically perform in the same way that a 12-year-old can. Your child’s coach should never expect him to play the game in a way that’s out of his age range.
  • Provide instruction. Your child needs to know the rules of the game, the vocabulary and what he’s supposed to do before he hits the field.
  • Acknowledge that players have different skill levels and different amounts of knowledge. Some kids start playing a sport in preschool, while others wait until much later. A coach shouldn’t assume that every older child, tween or teen is well versed in a sport just because of his age.
  • Give genuine, truthful feedback. This doesn’t mean that the coach needs to be brutally honest. Instead, the coach shouldn’t tell your child that he’s a perfect player when he’s not. When your child does a great job the coach should let him know. But, if your child isn’t trying or is making mistakes, the coach should constructively correct him.
  • Model good sportsmanship. Coaching is a leadership role. Your child’s coach should demonstrate good sportsmanship practices at all times.

Coaching isn’t an easy job. Your child’s coach is his teacher, cheerleader and often a support system. If you feel that the coach isn’t acting in an acceptable way, is negative more often than not or is constantly criticizing in ways that are far from constructive, talk to him. While you don’t want to tell the coach how to do his job, you also don’t want one bad experience to turn your child off from sports. If your child voices his upset or anger at the situation, have an honest discussion. Let your child know that you want to help him succeed and that you believe in him no matter what.

What Age Should Children Start Sports?

DSC_6360Are you over-the-top excited about signing your little slugger up for t-ball? Maybe you can’t wait until your pint-sized player starts soccer? If you’re wondering what age is old enough for a child to start sports, the answer isn’t exactly clear-cut.

Developmental Differences

Not every child develops at the same rate. Your 4-year-old may not be at the same physical level as your BFF’s preschooler. This means that setting a specific start age for beginning sports isn’t easy. While you’ll need to go by the league’s, team’s or school’s rules for a minimum start age, that doesn’t mean your child has to begin the moment that she hits that magical number. You need to factor in what your child is able to do right now and what you think she can master with instruction.

It’s Not All Physical

Even if your 3-year-old has the physical prowess of a much older child, that doesn’t always mean he’s ready to join the local league. Sports aren’t all about motor skills. Keep in mind that your child needs the attention span to concentrate on the game, social skills to show good sportsmanship and emotional control to keep her frustration in check when she loses.

By the time that he’s in kindergarten he should have the basic skills that he’ll need to make it through practices and games without having major meltdowns. That said, some children may need extra time to develop the cognitive, social and emotional skills necessary to handle organized sports. If this is the case, you can keep working on the physical part of playing sports at home or informally with friends. This gives your child the chance to keep physically fit and become familiar with the game while he is developing and refining the other skills that he needs.

Coordination and Age

Before age 6 your child most likely lacks the coordination to play complex sports. That said, she can start playing sports before she gets to grade school. Many teams and instructional programs have athletic opportunities that are specific for younger children. These help preschoolers to develop the coordination that they’ll need later on.

Instead of expecting your child to use coordinated movements that she’s not ready to, an early childhood sports class or program starts with basics that are age-appropriate. For example, instead of teaching intricate sets of movements, a pre-k karate class may help younger kids learn how to kick forwards or work on stretching exercises.

While your child’s age certainly plays a large role in when she starts sports, don’t forget about his interests and opinions. If your child is resistant to play, back off and don’t push him. There’s no rule that says all kids need to start soccer, softball or skating the moment that they can stand up and run. Forcing a young child into playing a sport when he would rather run around the backyard isn’t likely to result in a positive experience for anyone. Instead, wait until your child is excited about and engaged in the athletic endeavor. Doing so helps to start a life-long love of physical activity and fitness!