10 Golden rules

Sport Diddy is all about fun!

Chapter 3:  Our 10 Golden Rules

Before we dive into the methodology in detail, let's discuss our 10 Golden Rules for making sure your own Sport Diddy challenges lead to lots of learning and are always lots of fun!

1. Make Special Time to Take on a Diddy Challenge

The daily demands of life often make it seem that there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

My children would often ask me to play with them. In the past, I have found myself saying, “Sorry, I’ve just got to do this job”, or “I am working, maybe in a bit”.

Sport Diddy helped me find a better balance in my life by setting aside time specifically for the children and making that time my priority.

A while ago I was at the swimming pool watching my children taking lessons. After weeks of making very little progress one of the young children in the group had finally managed to swim across the pool. It was a great achievement. His face showed delight and excitement at achieving this feat. He looked across to his Mum and Dad, only to find their heads buried in their phones.

They had completely missed this special moment!

Sport Diddy is about creating and sharing these special moments.

2. Have Fun, Smile and Laugh

Don’t get too serious about Sport Diddy challenges. It is meant to be fun and there should be many light-hearted moments.

If you aren’t having fun practicing the Sport Diddy challenges then something is wrong and you should stop!

Diddy and Diddy Roo would love to sit on my lap and watch the videos we made together. The ones they always wanted to see more than any other were when everything went completely wrong!

Have a look at some of our comedy moments and enjoy.

3. Play Before a Challenge

Before we started each challenge, we would play, jump, run, hide, roll, build, swing around, laugh and be silly.

Sport Diddy is all about having fun! By playing before you start the challenge you are creating a fun learning environment. These are times that later in life you wish you could share again with your child!

If everyone is happy and smiling then you are nearly ready to start Sport Diddy!

4. Follow Your Own Path

With gentle encouragement, your “Diddy” will let you know when he is ready to start and stop. They may change the challenge by making it easier or harder. Your child may want to have another turn or wander off and do something else. Reading their cues is crucial to enjoying Sport Diddy, so just go with them and let them create their own journey.

The challenges we have created are there to inspire and guide you but your path may be completely different and may not be sport. You may start your own journey in another activity like art or music. The more flexible you are, the more you will find your own path.

5. Diddy is Right

There is no such thing as getting it wrong with Sport Diddy. There is no such thing as a mistake. We love it when things go wrong and these are times for learning, growth and laughter. Therefore, whatever your child produces be proud of it. Diddy is always right and if they hold the racket incorrectly that is great, we can look at that another time. If they throw the ball in the wrong direction that is perfectly fine.

When learning a new skill, we need to slow down and allow ourselves to make errors. Struggling to learn a skill is not an option it is a necessity. We need to make mistakes so we can pay attention to the movement and then perfect the skill.

6. Success is “Having a Go”

What is Success? Success is having a go at a Diddy challenge. You do not have to complete the task. Allow your child to take you wherever they want to go. You will come up with your own special challenges and incredible achievements along the way.

We took on hundreds of challenges and some of them are exceptionally difficult. Certain challenges may be beyond the reach of your child until they are much older. Sport Diddy isn’t a competition. If you achieve one of the challenges be proud of it. Select as many or as few challenges as you wish, make up your own and whatever your child achieves is amazing. Sport Diddy is about celebrating what you have done and not looking at what you haven’t done.

When you spend quality time with your child taking on a Sport Diddy challenge you have found success!

7. One Step at a Time

We recommend starting with easy challenges and gradually building up your child’s skills.

First establish the foundations of throwing, kicking, catching, and hitting. Then you are able to access some of the more difficult challenges.

By taking a step by step approach you will find that your child develops a fantastic base to move towards becoming proficient in many different sports.

We call this “Climb the Mountain” because, as in a mountain range each peak shares the same base, each sport builds on a common set of foundation skills (Level 1) and get progressively harder and more specialised (Level 4).

Whereas taking on a difficult challenge too early in their development, without the foundations in place, will likely lead to disappointment.

8. Red Light - Let Your Child Decide When to Stop

Knowing when to stop is very important. When your Diddy wants to stop, then you stop. Sometimes however, you may detect that they aren’t having much fun which would be another indicator to stop or change activity.

You wouldn’t ignore a red light on the road. Don’t ignore a red light with your child!

If you are a “competitive parent”, Sport Diddy really isn’t for you. Done the right way time playing together is a special thing. Pressuring your child or trying to get them to do things they don’t want to do is not what Sport Diddy is for and we have no time for that here.

9. Finish on a Positive

At the end of every challenge it is vital that you finish on a positive with lots of praise. If you finish with a negative or a disappointment then this will be the take away memory for both of you and it can affect your next Sport Diddy session. I always tried to finish with a positive comment e.g. “Wow you were brilliant today!”

Everyone goes away happy and you are all looking forward to your next time. Always finish with a positive!

10. Lots of Praise

I cannot understate the importance of praising your child. If you film your time together, when you watch it back count how many times you praise your child in 1 minute.

Lots of Praise

Diddy’s challenges are a test, lots of praise is the best                              As I kick or throw a ball,  lots of praise prevents a fall

Having fun is the only way,  lots of praise helps Diddy play      Competitive Dad is not for me, lots of praise is the key                                                                                                                                                          With the family team we can go far, with lots of praise Diddy feels a star  Criticism makes Diddy feel low, lots of praise is the way to go                                                                                                                                                Try again and never give up, with lots of praise Diddy wins the cup      But cups aren’t needed in this place, just lots of praise to Diddy’s face

Diddy wants your special time, with lots of praise we intertwine        When it goes wrong please don’t say, lots of praise makes Diddy’s day  

What your Diddy can do will amaze, but only with a lot of praise            As Diddy says “see you soon”, with lots of praise we’ll fly to the moon!

Things I learned: Rewards and Motivation

Determination to perform and to improve performance is called motivation.

Motivation can be:

  • Intrinsic – coming from your own feelings because you want to do it. Intrinsically motivated children will participate in sports for internal reasons, such as enjoyment.
  • Extrinsic – coming from external rewards e.g. money or getting a trophy etc. Extrinsically motivated children will participate to gain a material reward.

Intrinsic motivation is what we should all aim for. It is up to you whether you choose to reward your child and if so how you do it. This is your decision.

If you choose to use rewards I recommend rewarding the effort (PROCESS) as much as the success of the challenge (OUTCOME).

When Diddy Roo performed 5 badminton serves, attempting to hit it into a cup, I would swing her around in the blue bucket. It didn’t matter where the serves went, this was her reward for trying hard. This is rewarding the effort (PROCESS) and not the OUTCOME.

If you praise your child for their effort they are more open to taking on challenges and more likely to believe they could improve themselves by working hard. By telling a child:

"you worked really hard"

you are teaching them that reward comes through effort.

I did reward the outcome occasionally and gave the children a small reward for achieving a challenge. I don’t see anything wrong with this if it is done positively and effort is also rewarded.

In this challenge Diddy got one of his dinosaur stickers, which he put on his box, for every time he completed the challenge (the successful outcome).

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The Sport Diddy Handbook