Thursday, August 31, 2006

Girl Pushups

Earlier today we had an unusual volleyball practice at school. The room we usually use for practice was full of chairs that were set up for Back to School Night. Since we didn’t want to move all the chairs then set them all back up again in 2 hours we moved practice to a different venue.

We started out in our normal room with a couple warm-up runs around the inside of the Parish Hall. Then stretching, then we moved outside and I sent them on a run around the campus. This new exercise was not a welcome addition to our volleyball routine. Based on the amount of grumbling and moaning it produced I may have to make it a regular part of practices. At a minimum it has to be a weekly event.

Then we moved over to the 6th grade classroom. We held practice in this room for two reasons. First, the teacher was willing to let us move all the desks to clear the center of the floor as long as we put them back when done. Secondly, that room has air conditioning.

Since we couldn’t play volleyball in this small room, we spent the day talking about volleyball instead. We discussed rules, play strategy, common volleyball language, volleyball strategy, and offensive rotations. We divided up all this talk with a series of conditioning exercises. We did jumping jacks, squats, arm circles and pushups. I started the conditioning with the pushups. I told them to all to spread out and get down on the floor and do 10 pushups. My 8th grade players and most of my 7th grade players got down on the floor but then waited to see if I was kidding. The 6th grade players and a couple 7th grade players got down on their knees. They all looked around at each other then someone eventually asked the inevitable question, “What kind of pushups?”

I looked at them with my best ‘confused’ facial expression and asked “What do you mean? Pushups are pushups.”

Then I got the exact question I was expecting, “Regular pushups or girl pushups?”

This gave me the opportunity to spout off with my favorite rant to direct at young middle school aged girls. In my best drill sergeant voice I told them:

“There is no such thing as ‘girl’ pushups. I don’t want you to ever settle for taking short cuts like doing fake pushups with your knees on the floor. Remember this ladies, anyone who ever tells you it is okay to do ‘girl’ pushups is not your friend and they are not helping you. And you should resent their coddling with every fiber of your being. It is NOT okay for you to take short cuts. It is NOT okay for you to be weak and helpless. And it is certainly NOT okay for you to cheat yourself into thinking that any of those things are okay. Any Questions?”

By the time I’ve finished my rant my experienced players who have heard this speech before have decided that I’m going to make them do the pushups and are now struggling their way through their pushups. The rest of them eventually drop down and start trying to do their own pushups. In four years I have never had a student ask me twice about what kind of pushups they have to do. However I do count on someone asking that question at least once a season so I can rant again. Hopefully if my players hear it often enough they will believe it.

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