Tuesday, July 02 2019

Gym class was a traumatizing school experience for many people, but everyone gets a second chance to channel their inner-athlete in an aquatic fitness class.  Aqua Sportz is a water workout designed to unleash the spirit of champions, featuring patterns and drills from three sports – football, soccer and hockey.  Filmed as a follow-along workout, an audio download is included, as is a special AEA offer to watch Aqua Sportz and over 90 other videos for FREE for 30 days.  

Growing up, I was an abysmal failure at anything that involved a ball. Painfully skinny and shy, I couldn’t throw a ball, catch a ball, bat a ball or dribble a ball.  And I most certainly couldn’t dodge a ball.  Reared in an athletic family, my older brother and sister were star athletes and my father was a Little League coach.  Athletically challenged from an early age, I had more interest in Barbie Campers than I did in baseball mitts.  Despite starting a career in fitness, I never really developed any interest in sports, including watching them on TV.  During trivia games, I strategically avoid any category that involves sports.  

And so how did I end up blessing the world with a sports-themed aqua workout?  It’s simple, Fitmotivation was short a video this month.  Since the other two videos that posted in July featured Ballet and Ai Chi, I knew I had to deliver something high intensity for the HIIT fans.  The challenge was on.  Soccer was all over the news this past month thanks to the World Cup.   Inspired, I started searching YouTube for soccer drills. YouTube did not disappoint, but I quickly realized I would need to add a couple more sports if I wanted to create an entire routine for my classes.   And behold – Aqua Sportz was born.


Movement Patterns
Scanning YouTube for sports drills, the intention was to create a HIIT class featuring various agility drills with varying work/recovery times.  There was one hitch.   Teaching a class filled exclusively with drills bores me to death.  Been there, done that, I aint doing it.  Therefore, I blended in some “movement patterns” with the sports drills. And yes, the sports references in the movement patterns (a.k.a choreography) are fairly lame.  However, I teach large classes at a YMCA in a retirement community and the moves need to stay fairly traditional for them to follow.  A movement pattern was created for each sport - football, soccer and hockey.   And naturally I had to put all three together at the end.   Normally referred to as the finale, we will call this one the championship game.    

Sports Drills
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become widely popular in aquatic fitness classes.  Perfect for higher intensity work cycles, sports drills are often used to build lower body muscle endurance and power.  Examples in this video include single leg hops in the frontal and sagittal planes and practice punt kicks against the viscous resistance of the water.  Also included are good old-fashioned tire drills.  Nowadays, sports teams are more likely to use large tires for tire flips rather than sprints.  Ladders have become more popular for agility runs. However, tires provide better imagery for the pool bottom as you can cue BIGGER TIRES to encourage higher knees.  The first drill in the football segment features tire runs and tire jumps with four sets of tires in a vertical row.   The second drill is knee-ups performed laterally in 4 sets of tires lined up in one horizontal row.  Agility drills are also used in sports to improve the required skill of changing direction when running down the field.  One of the drills in the football segment features running in a Y pattern.   A drill in the soccer pattern features running in an L-pattern.

Real world – Real Teaching 
Many of the drills mentioned above involve travel and abrupt changes in direction, which is a recipe for unbridled chaos in your classes.  Learning from initial mayhem, I started making diagrams on poster boards to explain the patterns to my students.  Here is a closer look at four of the diagrams.  1) 4-Tire Run  2)  1-Row Knee-ups  3) Y Run 4)  L-Run.   Having this visual aide to explain the pattern has helped create a semblance of order during the drills.

Drill Timing/Music
As with almost all of my videos, the drills are timed to the phrasing of the music.   One 32-count phrase is approximately 15 seconds.  The tire patterns have 2 runs in them at 16 counts each.  The Y and L runs have 4 turns in them and so each part is 8 counts.  Timing with music provides a cadence for the students to work towards and it frees up the instructor from using timing devices. 

All Fitmotivation videos include detailed practical/choreography notes.  And yes abbreviations are used.   Below is a reminder.
WT – Water tempo
½ WT – half water tempo
LT – land tempo
R – right
L – left
F – forwards
B-  backwards

Ready to be a champion in your own pool?  This video does include an audio download.  Premium subscribers, log in and download for free from the Video Page for the next month.   Whether you are unleashing the inner athlete in your students or in yourself, Aqua Sportz is the perfect opportunity for a gym class redo.   Still haven't tried Fitmotivation?  Check out the special FREE month offer for new subscribers.  And special thanks to all current subscribers for your continued support and loyalty.  If you enjoyed the video or this blog, please post a comment below or on the video.

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.