By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
On the surface, sports like basketball, volleyball and biking may seem mundane, best left to be learned early in life, in school or on one’s own. But for people who champion these activities, learning — or relearning — the sport cannot ever come too late.
“It’s never too late to learn anything. The proficiency may be different but to be able to learn and enjoy a sport is limitless,” said Patrick Joson, a Triathlon Level 2 coach and coach facilitator certified by the International Triathlon Union (ITU), in underscoring that anybody fit enough can learn sports even in adulthood.
Mr. Joson conducts biking classes once every quarter of the year, or, in some cases is commissioned to do so in places south of Metro Manila, like Alabang, Nuvali and Tagaytay.
“It is now widely accepted to have coaches teach biking and running which a few years back was a bit challenging to justify as they would have assumed that such activities are naturally acquired by just simply doing it,” said Mr. Joson in an interview.
For the classes he conducts, the sports coach said that lessons for adults are somehow different from those offered to kids.
“The fundamentals are the same but the manner of teaching would be different. The older the learner the more theoretical it generally must be and vice versa to kids,” said Mr. Joson, who is also editor-in-chief of MultiSport magazine.
He went on to say that there are usually two parts to his classes — theoretical and practical — followed by an open discussion.
“Theoretical is where we would ground the instructions or techniques based on science and general laws or common logic. This is for safety and bike rules and norms. The second part is the practical application based on the theories discussed. The transfer of knowledge to action takes place as each technique is repeatedly drilled to achieve a level of mastery. In the open discussion the learner is free to ask questions or clarifications on the topics or techniques discussed,” he said.
The techniques-based approach — inspired by the Pose Method developed by Russian scientist Nicholas Romanov — he is using is important, Mr. Joson said, to make “knowledge transfer” for the learners easier.
“I offer cycling classes that are based on techniques. That makes us efficient by knowing proper biomechanics and how it relates to physics. That angle of learning movement can only be learned when you study the science of it which makes just doing it limited in its understanding,” he said.
“One may be a strong cyclist and win all the races but if he is not knowledgeable with the science of movement, he/she may not be able to explain or transfer the technique,” he added.
Enticing adults to pick up sports is a thrust shared by the BEST Center, which has been conducting regular basketball and volleyball classes in different parts of the country for more than three decades now.
While it said that adult enrollment in its classes has not really been big in numbers, it nonetheless has picked up, particularly in volleyball.
“Since 10 years ago we had thought of offering parents — who bring their sons to the clinic and stay with us up to the end of classes — to join. Up to now, there is some reluctance on their part since they feel they may be out of place. But more people are giving it a try,” said Marilyn Jorge, BEST Center Executive Director, in a separate interview.
Ms. Jorge said that initially parents join their classes to be, and bond, with their children, but as they progress the value of staying active and having fun is not lost to them.
One such parent is Mary Sheila Querol, who enrolled in one of BEST’s volleyball classes along with her daughter.
“It has been fun and it has regained my love for the sport. It inspired me to relearn volleyball,” said Ms. Querol, who played volleyball in college and is now a triathlete.
“I also find the volleyball drills useful for my triathlon trainings. The drills can develop my agility, speed and endurance, which are essential for triathlon,” she added.
Using a ladderized and systemic approach to teaching is key for adult learners, the BEST Center said, as it can take them through a step-by-step process and make the classes less intimidating, especially for those who are taking the sport up for the first time.
Believing in the “boundless” nature of sports in general, both Ms. Jorge and Mr. Joson are one in encouraging adults to take up a sport if it is something they are interested in doing.
“It is never too late. Just like gym, dance lessons, all it takes is interest,” Ms. Jorge said.
“We have limited time and having to learn a [sports activity] by ourselves requires more time while if you have teachers it shortens the learning curve and keeps you away from unforeseen injury caused by bad movements and unsustainable training loads,” Mr. Joson said.
Those interested in trying out the classes of Mr. Joson can reach him at 0998-550-5894 or through FB and IG (Patrick Joson). The BEST Center can be reached through hotlines 411-6260, 372-3066 and 372-3065 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.