John Miller












Some time ago Robert deCastella stuck his neck out and said something to the effect that one of the reasons why kids were getting fatter was that a large proportion of primary school teachers were reluctant to teach physical education because they too weren’t in great shape.


By sticking his neck out he also got a few responses in the local rag suggesting how wrong he was and what a good a job our teachers are doing. (You’d expect that wouldn’t you.)


However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Below is a list of activities that I reckon a reasonable well-trained teacher and a reasonably trained year 6 student ought to be able to do.


Going by what most regular folks that I see can do and how fit they are, I suspect Deek might be right and herein lies a dilemma for education bureaucracies and schools.


Would you expect a primary school teacher to be good at teaching arithmetic if they couldn’t add up, subtract, multiply or divide? Would you expect them to be able to teach reading and writing if they couldn’t read or write?


The questions are too absurd to be deserving of a serious answer.


So, by analogy, how good an education do you think school children are getting if those who teach them do not have a good command of the basic physical skills, like, running, jumping, throwing, catching, kicking, skipping, rolling, hanging, climbing, swimming ...


How fit do you think children are likely to be if their teacher can't reach the bonze level on the Platinum Challenge?


Below is a list of some of the key motor skills that I reckon form a basic foundation of motor skill development and physical fitness. They’re the sorts of activities that kids and teachers alike can do, if they’re reasonably well trained.


Run your eye over the list of skills and see how many of them you can still do. If you can make the grade, I’ll take my hat off to you. If the teachers you know can make the grade I’ll take my hat off to them as well.


If you’re still of work force age it shouldn’t be too difficult to do most of the things on the list, after all, you’ve had plenty of time to train up. You might even like to volunteer for a job teaching phys ed in schools!

  • Juggle three balls

  • Skip with a rope

  • Do a good 30 seconds worth of double under skips.

  • Run 40, 20m laps in 5 minutes

  • Do 20 good situps

  • Do 20 good pressups

  • Sitting down, reach forward and get your wrists past your toes

  • Sit down and stand up 10 times in 30 seconds

  • Keep a yo yo going up and down for 30 seconds

  • Throw a ball 20m

  • Hop 20m on one leg, and then the other

  • Catch a tennis ball from 10m

  • Throw a tennis ball up in the air and clap 10 times before it comes down & catch it.

  • Put a bean bag between your heels and kick it over your head

  • Swim 25 metres in less than a minute

  • Duck dive and swim 5 metres under water

  • Dive into the water from a height of a metre or more

  • Hang from a horizontal bar for a minute

  • Swing on a horizontal bar

  • Swing across a monkey bar.

  • Put one leg over the horizontal bar and swing up into a sitting position

  • Hang by your legs from a horizontal bar

  • Pat a tennis ball with your hand

  • Pat a ball with a wooden bat or tennis racquet, flat on and also on the side.

  • Crab walk for 10 metres

  • Lie on your back and put your feet up over your head and onto the floor behind you

  • Do a forward roll

  • Do a backward roll

  • Do a frog balance

  • Do a cartwheel

  • Do a 10 second handstand

  • Hit a ball against a wall for 30 seconds using a bat or tennis racquet – forehand and backhand from 5 metres

  • Climb up a rope

  • Ride a bike ...

And there must be dozens more things that kids ought to be able to do that suggest fitness and motor skill proficiency. If you can think of some, send me an email.

If you reckon you can do all of them, report back.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned.


John Miller





John Miller

7 Salvado Place Stirling ACT Australia 2611.

61 2 6288 7703