The objective of this course is to provide a dynamic fitness workout that promotes playful experimentation. This obstacle course activity helps children develop agility, balance, coordination, and body strength. How each child attempts to move through the course can add variety to the training experience. Kids may elect to move laterally, backward, or forward. They may jump, jog, or walk. The basic setup consists of five stations. Each station can be adjusted to increase or decrease the level of difficulty by adding elements or taking props away.
The equipment required for this obstacle course:
- 16 banana hurdles (low hurdles) of two or three different heights (six, twelve, and eighteen inches)
- 2 agility ladders
- 10 disc cones
- 6 half-foam rolls (an additional 6 half-foam rolls are added for harder courses)
- 4 pairs of poles, cones, and clips (set up above the half foam rolls)
The course takes up approximately 900 square feet. It can be set up in a space as small as 250 square feet, however, by reducing the number of banana hurdles in each row. Each station can be set up and adjusted to suit the training purpose, usage, and age and skill level of the kids.
Dynamic Balance and Multiterrain Station
This particular station, which helps build balance, agility, coordination, and lower body strength, requires more set-up time and attention. The simplest setup includes four sets of poles, clips, and cones arranged at different heights approximately six feet apart. Each participant passes through this station by moving in a squat position under each pole set, maintaining balance without touching the ground with his hands. You’ll find photos and video of the set up and execution of this drill at www.wholechildsports.com.
After passing under each set of poles, the participant stands up, continues to move forward without stopping, then immediately lowers himself into another squat position to go under the next pole set. This continues until he has completed the course. All participants should keep their backs straight and torsos upright, taking care not to bend at the waist as they pass under each obstacle in the squatting position. The level of difficulty can be increased by lowering the height of the different pole sets.
In the most advanced version of the station, five banana hurdles are set up between the pole sets, along with four sets of two half-foam roll pairs, which are placed underneath the pole sets and hurdles. The children must move under each obstacle, keeping their balance while stepping over the banana hurdles.
Again, the exercise can be made more difficult by lowering the height of the different pole sets.
A third version of this obstacle station can be set up by replacing the pairs of half-foam rolls with a single row. The athlete now has to maintain his balance on the single roll, which is much harder.
In a fourth version of the station, the terrain is altered. The banana hurdles are eliminated and the half-foam rolls are arranged in different directions, requiring participants to readjust their footing while trying to stay balanced. ♦
From Kim John Payne, Luis Fernando Llosa, & Scott Lancaster. Beyond Winnning: Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment, (Lyons Press, Connecticut).