Riding the Emotional Wave - Our Session with Kids and Teens Psychology

We were grateful to engage the services of Matt Strickland from from Kids and Teens Psychology and were thrilled to have 30 QCE parents attend the session with us. 

I will start by saying, for any Psychologist out there... I am not one :) So feel free to add to my notes as I am just a mere cheer coach who is best trying to convey what I took from the session.

The major take away (from my perspective) was about the concept of the "Emotional Wave" - whereby when there is something that might be triggering for your child: a stressful situation like an upcoming competition, an assignment, a speech they have to give, having an issue with a friend at school etc, we see their emotions start to rise. We also see that the emotion will gradually and eventually fall away, as they move through these feelings, the stressor passes etc.

I thought it was helpful to think of emotions like this, and to convey to your children that emotions are always temporary - (except if there is a more long term issue, which should be addressed in a different way).

As a secondary part to this concept, was the idea of when/where and how to intervene as your child is riding the wave. For example, at the beginning, when the emotion has just taken hold, i.e a bit of anxiousness about an upcoming event - this might be where we can use acknowledgement and validation i.e. "this must be very difficult for you," "I can see how that might be making you feel..." etc. When the emotion is reaching the top of the wave, your child might be in a state past where words are useful, and either giving them some space, i.e. "I am just going to give you to some time to process this, but I am just outside." Or giving them some tools to calm, "I am going to run a bath for you" or "let's watch a bit of TV/go for a walk" and then once they are down the other side of the wave, you might be able to begin the process of acknowledgement and validation again.

The final part was about the physicality of the brain - which I thought was the most helpful part of the presentation. I found it really relevant to understand what was actually happening inside the brain when emotions are taking hold - and the impact this has, especially upon children and teens, who are less able to control this process.

You can see a diagram here: 

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=limbic+system+frontal+cortex&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiEgqKM3o7dAhUPBIgKHahOAVwQ_AUICigB&biw=1920&bih=894#imgrc=myhJnvE0OyMZoM: 

As you can see in the diagram, the limbic system is a smaller part of the brain. This is the part of the brain that takes over during these times of overwhelm when we are in "flight or fight"... otherwise known as a teen meltdown (or toddler, in my experience!). If we link this back to the Emotional Wave, this is the part of the brain your child is acting from when in the grips of strong emotion.

The other part of the brain in the diagram is the frontal cortex - this is the part of the brain responsible for memory, judgement, impulse control and social behaviour.

Interestingly, when we are responding to a stressor, blood drains from the frontal context to the limbic system, meaning, that the brain is unable to access the parts of the brain it really needs to access, to deal rationally with what is presenting in their life at that moment.

By helping out child ride up and over the wave with the strategies outlined above (and in the handout attached to this), we are helping them come back from the reptilian brain, into their rational brain, where they may actually be able to problem solve and deal with the issue themselves, as they are now physically able to, as their frontal cortext is now back online.

I hope you found this helpful - please feel to add any learnings you found useful. I really enjoyed learning more about this and have been applying this to my son Julian (who is 2), when he is having a full body melt-down about Peanut Butter on his toast rather than Vegemite... "I know that you really wanted Peanut Butter mate, that must be really hard for you.." - sounds silly, but it's serious business to a 2 year old, as anyone with a toddler would know.

- Shannon

Jaidev Vasudevan
Share the Dignity at QCE

This year, we decided that we would like to include one major charity drive in the year, so that as a community, we can give back to the larger community, and create some conversation between coaches and athletes around some of the issues facing others, and what we can be doing ourselves, to support those less fortunate than ourselves. 

In 2019, QCE decided to support the charity Share the Dignity. If you would like to know more about this fantastic charity, you can check out their website, here: https://www.sharethedignity.com.au/

Every year in Australia, thousands of homeless women are forced to endure their periods without access to sanitary items – imagine having to chose between buying food or pads/tampons, during an already stressful time of your life.

Throughout the month of August, we have had donation boxes at both our gyms,  and have been humbled by the number of QCE families who have donated to support these women so they too can have the dignity that so many of us take for granted.

We are thrilled that at last count, we had 620 packs of pads and tampons ready to go to Share the Dignity. With another week left, we are hoping we can reach our goal of 1000 packs!

We are so proud of what the QCE community has been willing to contribute and look forward to seeing the final count at the end of the month.  

 

 

Jaidev Vasudevan
Choreography begins for our comp teams!

Easter holidays mean a few things to us at QCE: chocolate, beach, family and CHOREOGRAPHY!

Each of our competitive teams has an intensive 12 hour session with a choreographer in order to learn their routine for the season ahead. This includes learning all the stunts (lifts), their pyramid, tumbling formations, motions and dance. 

To the outside world, some wonder how/why it could possibly take 12 hours in order to do this. Hopefully once you have seen a cheerleading routine, you would understand why!

With most teams between 20-30 athletes, each count is accounted for over the 2.5 minute routine. This is approx 46 x 8 counts, or 368 counts that each athlete needs to learn. This includes where they need to be positioned on the mat, what count and where they will tumble, counts for all their lifts and a very intricate end dance which has athletes utilising levels, jumps, kicks, motions, rolls and more. 

We are excited to see that every season, our athletes are better and better at this process - it is actually amazing to think how much their brains are being used in this process, to remember movement, patterns and sequences, and even better to see that the following year, they can remember more, their bodies are sharper and they understand where they are in space and how they need to move their body to create the look the choreographer is after. They are also able to concentrate for longer and longer periods, which does blow me away at times, especially kids as young as 7 and 8 being able to focus, understand, and then put that into practise on the floor.

We hope everyone is excited to see these routines, I know I am! Every year I see more and more skill being put into the routines, and especially this year with the club vision of "MAKE IT BEAUTIFUL" - we are really seeing the coaches and athletes go that extra mile with pointed toes, straight legs and sharp motions to increase the overall execution of our routines.

After choreography, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for a catch up. Sometimes you may not know what a coach has made a particular decision, but we are  more than happy to go through this with you so you understand. Ultimately the coaches make the decisions which best impact the team and will 

Jaidev Vasudevan
Super Hero Week at QCE

This week has fast become a favourite at QCE - who doesn't love dressing up!

We have combined this with Bring a Friend Week, which is a wonderful and exciting time in the gym, where our members can bring their besties along to experience the world of cheer!

We have has superhero theme games, drills and fun throughout the gyms and have 3 more days to go!

If you wanted to come down and join in the fun, please feel very welcome to do so! It's the perfect time, as there are many, many new faces in the gym and everyone is having a blast mingling and learning some new skills. 

To find a suitable class time and to register, please email us at reception@queenslandcheerelite.com.au 

Jaidev Vasudevan
April Open Days - All Welcome!

As we gear up for another eventful year - we are getting the word out there now about our Open Days for 2018!

These are a great way for those interested in QCE to come along and experience a fun morning of free workshops, classes, a BBQ and more.

These will be held from 10am on Saturday 21st of April (Sumner gym) and Saturday 28th of April (Kedron gym). 

To stay in the loop, RSVP at www.facebook.com/queenslandcheerelite  

Jaidev Vasudevan
2018 is here - term 1 begins today!

It was only 3 weeks ago that we couldn't believe that a new year had clicked over, now we are about to begin a whole new season - with 2018 classes resuming in full today across both Kedron and Sumner gyms.

Coaches are prepped and excited to meet their athletes for the year ahead - starting with ice-breakers and meet and greets so athletes can get to know one another over the coming weeks. We will begin skill develop for stunts and tumble and our strength program will resume soon too, so athletes are conditioned and ready to take on the challenges of their tumble and cheerleading classes.

We have now released our 2018 calendar, Welcome Pack and all other important information you need to start 2018 off successfully at QCE.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask - we are here to help you!

You can contact our Office Manager Lucy via reception@queenslandcheerelite.com.au and Shannon and Emma directly via either shannon@queenslandcheerelite.com.au or emma@queenslandcheerelite.com.au 

Looking forward to putting faces to names for the new members of our club, and welcoming back old faces - we love this time of year and look forward to another great year together at QCE. 

Shannon and Emma 

Jaidev Vasudevan