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athletic support by eli cranor

Athletic Support: Shift to virtual learning causing lag in young athletes

Dear Athletic Support:
My son is two weeks into this new “virtual learning” style of education. He’s in seventh grade, and honestly, I don’t think it’s good for him. We decided to keep him in school, but now all his work has shifted completely to computers. What’s worse, I think it’s impacting him physically. He’s not sleeping very good, and he says his back hurts. His football season just started a few weeks ago, and I’ve never seen him act so lazy on the field! Not going to lie, I really think all the time he’s spending on computers is hurting his game. Is that even possible?

— Tired of Technology

Dear Technology: The biggest problem I see with this new shift to virtual learning is an uptick in sedentary behavior. Computers and social distancing guidelines, by nature, restrict movement within the classroom. As a result, kids are sitting for longer time periods throughout the day.

As you probably know, a sedentary lifestyle brings with it all sorts of negative health implications. However, the few weeks your son has spent glued to a screen at school probably aren’t long enough for him to have any serious problems.

His athletic performance is another story.

Hip flexibility is one of the most important attributes of a successful athlete. We use our hips to run, jump, and move laterally. The good news is, everybody starts off with great hips.

Want proof? Just look at babies. Have you ever seen a baby with stiff hips? No way! They can do the splits without batting an eye. As time goes on, though, most of us grow stiff. And this mostly has to do with sitting.

Different stretches can greatly help loosen up stiff hips. A simple squat will do wonders! Urge you son to check with his teachers about taking standing breaks. Surely, they’ll allow him time between assignments to move his legs and stretch.

Outside of athletics, kids’ brains are also at risk. Who knows what sort of impact virtual learning will have on their cognition and critical thinking skills. In this regard, I offer one simple tool — a good book! And luckily, I know just the book for kids struggling with the shift to virtual learning:


Okay, you caught me… I’m the author of this book. It was published last week and awarded a #1 New Release ranking on Amazon. BMBTB deals directly with the same topic covered in this column, except in a much more lighthearted, kid-friendly way (zombie teachers and brain-munching screens!)

If you end up purchasing this book for your children or grandchildren, I only have one final suggestion — ask them to read it while standing up!

books make brainz taste badEli Cranor's new book Books Make Brainz Taste Bad has just been released. ZOMBIES HATE BOOKS! Especially the zombie teachers at Haven Middle School. That's why they're using VR headsets to fry kids' brainz. Luckily, Dash Storey knows how to save his classmates from the zombie teachers—BOOKS! They make brainz taste bad!

"Eli Cranor has an almost unbeatable advantage. He can remember how it felt to think like a twelve-year-old and he can see the very same events like the adult he is. Don't try to resist this book!"
- Jack Butler, Pulitzer-Prize nominated author

Previous Athletic Support Columns:
What you look for, you will find
Back to school woes
Football guidelines a breeze compared to band
What to do if your season stalls
Left behind
Travel ball leads to constipation
Collegiate sports for fun or money?
No right answer
Sunburns not part of the game
Summertime soreness
Vulnerability is key in uncertain times
Sick of COVID-19
Racial tensions rise as sports gear up again
Silver lining for post pandemic sports
Wearing masks to practice
Coach disappears after season is cancelled
What happens to the team if a player gets COVID-19?
Will there be football in the fall?
With sports gone, son’s grades tanking
Lost without sports
Teddy bears and tessellations
Cornavirus? We’ve got games to play!
Girlfriend getting in the way
A parent’s role when sports are over
Talk to your grandkids, carefully
At what age should sports stop being fun?
What ever happened to going door to door?
Lack of respect for track
Should my son take supplements?
I need your help
Help! My daughter wants to play football
Transferring to a smaller school: the good, the bad, and the ugly
What’s that smell? It’s not as bad as you think
A break from school but not from sports
Should a coach pray with his team?
Coach tells player not to shoot
Do nice guys (and girls) really finish last?
Coach cancels post-season awards banquet
No cellphones in the locker room!
Fake scholarship signing?
Withholding football as punishment
Sick and tired of losing
Late bloomer, a blessing or a curse?
Scholarship hopes dead, now what?
Is my son a butterfly chaser?
Don’t force sports on your kids
Hunting or Football?
Beat the Heat
Idle Hands
Coach’s son gets special attention

Published September 5, 2020

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