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Posted on: February 18th, 2015 by KablooeyMonsters No Comments

“Sportsmanship for me is when a guy walks off the court and you really can’t tell if he won or lost,
when he carries himself with pride either way!” – Jim Courier

Busyballers is not just about sport and the skills required in order to play the game… Busyballers is about life and the skills – physical, mental and emotional – that help us to lead the best life possible. Good sportsmanship is a very difficult life skill to grasp and sometimes as adults we struggle with this too!

The definition of ‘sportsmanship’ is ‘fair and generous behaviour or treatment of others, especially in a sporting contest’

Sportsmanship can be further defined as:

8 ways to encourage your child to display Good Sportsmanship:

  1. Teach them the rules of the game and encourage them to play fairly.
  2. Teach them to respect team mates and coaches by arriving for practice, working hard and working together.
  3. Teach them to talk and act in a positive manner before, during and after the game.
  4. Teach them to keep an even temperament even when those around them are losing their cool.
  5. Teach them to encourage teammates and avoid talking badly to the other team.
  6. Teach them to acknowledge good plays even if they were made by their opponents.
  7. Teach them to accept the calls of umpires, even if you do not agree with them.
  8. Teach them that win or lose they need to congratulate and thank their opponents.

How we teach Sportsmanship at Busyballers:

When children reach the age of about 4,5 years old we start to introduce the concept of good sportsmanship into the lesson. Every week the children will have the chance to win a medal. This medal is theirs to keep. The criteria for winning the medal are good listening skills, trying hard, being kind to their team mates, persevering and/or achieving a task that a child has not been able to achieve before. The medal does not necessarily go to the best performer. Every week the coach will explain the criteria and remind the children that they should be happy for the winners. If it is not your child’s turn to win, please remember to praise them for participating and always trying their best. If your child is upset about not winning the medal please explain (as we do after every lesson) that they will have a turn and that they just need to wait for their turn. We can’t all be winners at the same time!

How Sportsmanship sets us up for life:

When we teach our children about good sportsmanship we are teaching them about the importance of keeping a positive attitude in the way we handle both good and bad situations in life – both on and off the field. We teach them how to respect their elders or people in higher positions than themselves (teachers or bosses). We teach them how to work together to achieve a common goal (customers or co-workers).

We teach them that winning is not everything and that the joy is in playing the game.

sportsmanship-featured, sportsmanship

So proud of his medals – he wears them all at once and never wants to take them off!

Top Gun Party Theme

Posted on: February 16th, 2015 by KablooeyMonsters No Comments

‘I feel the need, the need for speed!’ These were the words chanted by the children at Sam’s 5th birthday party as they weaved their way through our Top Gun Fighter Pilots training camp (or in other words, our popular Busyballers obstacle course).

obstacle course

When I first heard about the theme for Sam’s party I panicked a little. Sam was turning 5 and I wasn’t quite sure whether he knew who Maverick or Goose were – its 2017 after all – however after some thought and a bit of research the ideas for games started rolling in.

For anyone else planning a party with a theme like Top Gun or Planes or anything aircraft related, here are some ideas to help you along the way:

Pilot Obstacle Course – Fighter Pilot Training

Using various equipment such as beacons, hoops, balancing beams and hurdles we created the perfect fighter pilot training course to get the children warmed up for the games that lay ahead. If you do not have access to equipment such as this then use what you have around the house to get children crawling, hopping and skipping through the course.

obstacle course

obstacle course

Runway Obstacle Course

For older children that know the difference between left and right – here is another idea for a game involving an obstacle course which can easily be created at home…
Create a runway using masking tape, chalk, cones, etc to mark the boundaries of the runway. Allow enough room for the pilots to manoeuvre themselves through the course. Disperse non-breakable items, like sports balls, inflatable objects, empty bottles, clothing, shoes, toys, blankets, etc. all over the runway – these items represent other airplanes on the runway. Put the children into pairs – one pilot and one traffic controller in each pair. The air traffic controller needs to guide the (blindfolded) pilot down the runway without crashing into any other airplanes. The air traffic controller cannot touch the pilot and guides him or her only by speaking. To start this airplane party game, the first blindfolded pilot stands at the beginning of the runway with his or her arms stretched out like a plane. The air traffic controller can stand anywhere he or she chooses (it’s best if they stand right behind the pilot – this eliminates confusion with right and left commands. The air traffic controller guides the pilot down the runway and uses commands like “One step to the right”, “Two steps forward”, “Three small steps to the left”, etc. If the pilot bumps into anything (crashes), the next team takes their turn. The team that gets the furthest is the winning team.

Danger Zone – Dodgeball Game

Create a square area using cones or danger tape and let all the fighter jets (children) fly around like planes within the danger zone. The coach (or a parent) needs to stand on the outside of the danger zone and using soft soccer balls, pretends to shoot the fighter planes out of the sky. If a plane (child) is hit they need to sit out and help the coach retrieve the balls. They can also help the coach spot who is out. Try and get the children out quickly so that those who are out do not have to wait too long for another turn. Play the game a couple of times (children will keep asking for more!) and try to choose different winners each time. For older children, let them have turns to shoot the planes out the sky themselves – they will love the challenge.

Flying through hoops

For this plane party game hang different size hula hoops in the air and have the kids throw their planes (either paper planes, or plastic planes… whatever you have) through the hoops. If you can’t hang the hoops, place them on the ground and have the kids land the planes in the hoops.

For this game, we decided to use planes made out of polystyrene – very cheap and worked like magic. The kids LOVED trying to get their airplanes through the tunnels and into the net (the aircraft carrier).

obstacle course

obstacle course

obstacle course

Musical Clouds – Musical Hoops

Place hoola hoops in a circle so that the children have enough room to ‘fly’ around them (you need to place one less cloud than the amount of kids there are). Children need to stand on the outside of the clouds and on the coaches (parents) instruction let the children fly around the clouds. If you have music from Top Gun or Jay Jay the Jet Plane then even better) As soon as the coach (parent) blows his whistle or the music stops, the children have to sit on one of the clouds. Whoever isn’t sitting on a cloud is out. Then remove a cloud and continue the game until one child remains and ends up as the winner. Instead of clouds, you can tape airplanes to the floor and have this airplane party game be “Musical Planes”.

obstacle course

obstacle course

obstacle course

Pilot, Pilot, Plane

This classic game may be more suitable for the young ones (the original game is “Duck, Duck, Goose”). The kids form a small circle and all sit down. One person is it and walks around the outside of the circle, touching the other children’s heads saying “pilot”, “pilot”, “pilot”, until he comes to the person he wants to be chased by, which he calls “PLANE”. The child that gets tapped on the head when the word ‘PLANE’ is said has to hop up and chase the other child around the circle before that child takes over his sitting spot. The chaser then becomes it and the game continues until every child has had a turn to be ‘it’.

obstacle course

obstacle course

Maverick vs Goose (Top Gun)/ Dusty vs Chug (Planes)

Any team games played could have the team names mentioned above in order to fit in with the theme. Any Races or Tug of War type games would work well…

For the purpose of a team game we divided the children into two teams – Team Maverick and Team Goose. The coach pretended that his tennis balls were missiles and when the coach called out a name from each team, the children had to race out and catch as many missiles as possible to take back to their air force base. The team with the most missiles in their airforce base at the end is the winning team.

NOTE: If there are lots of children at the party – add in more teams as it is best that children are kept busy and don’t have to wait too long for their turn.

obstacle course

That was all we had time for at the party this time! Hope you enjoyed hearing our Plane Themed Party Game Ideas.

Variety – the Spice of Life

Posted on: February 16th, 2015 by KablooeyMonsters No Comments

For the purpose of my first blog post, I thought it would make sense to chat about how I came to buy Busyballers and, why to me, it is more than simply just sports coaching. Growing up in a family of Springbok hockey and cricket players I was fortunate enough to have parents that never pushed or forced any sport on me. From a young age I have always been competitive…more with myself than against anyone else and so the only pressure I ever felt was from me alone. I was often told that I had natural talent, not just for hockey (which could be put down to good genes) but for gymnastics, swimming, netball and tennis. Whilst I was able to pick and choose sports and perform at a pleasing level in each, I never truly excelled in. I guess you could say I was a jack of all sports and a master of none! The biggest thing holding me back from achieving anything great – I have pinned down to a complete lack of confidence and self-belief.

Did I make that hockey team because I played well or because my surname is Madsen? I went my whole way through school thinking like this – how terrible! This way of thinking held me back from reaching my true potential and it is only now in my mid-thirties that I have come to realise this.

Busyballers Wednesday Kloof-28, busyballers

I bought Busyballers 8 years ago and since then it has been my main goal to teach children to love a variety of sports and to enjoy leading healthy and active lifestyles but most importantly it’s to instil confidence and self-belief. Children these days seem to be struggling more and more with pressure, from both school and home, to achieve both in the classroom and on the sports field. I hope to teach children to LOVE the game – whatever game that may be – so that when they do discover their passions and talents they are able to reach their true potential with them. When you take the pressure off yourself, you are able to truly shine and perform so much better than you ever imagined possible. Some of my best hockey, I have played later in life, when the pressure has been off, when I have no idea who my opposition is and what KZN team they play for, and when I have just gone on to the field to have FUN.

Sport, to me, is about the relationships and friendships that are forged. It is about commitment and team work. It’s about sharing common goals and dreams – on and off the field.

Busyballers Mt Edgecomb-63, busyballers

Sport is able to unite people of all ages, races and religion and it is my hope to instil a love for physical activity and a healthy lifestyle from a young age and to trust that this love for sport and healthy, happy experiences and habits will carry on through into adulthood.
Busyballers aim to provide a good foundation in introducing children to outdoor physical fun and a VARIETY of sporting codes. As the saying goes, ‘Variety is the Spice of Life’ and I believe that exposure to a variety of sports at a young age is important and that specialisation should only come much later on. Here are my reasons for thinking this way:

  1. Exposing children to a variety of exercises and sports at a young age results in well-rounded and well-developed children.
  2. It allows children to discover (and parents to see) where their talent lies and more importantly what they enjoy doing.
  3. Different sports and training methods can complement each other. For example, a good hockey player needs proper ball skill training as well as agility and endurance to see the match through.
  4. Focusing on one sport may result in boredom for children and burnout for adults. Remember -Variety is the spice of life! Allow children to explore a variety of different activities. What you enjoyed growing up may not be what they will enjoy. Let them discover their strengths and weaknesses and discover their hidden talents by providing them with opportunities to do so.
  5. Children (and adults) that are exposed to a variety of activities are less at risk of injury and overworking certain muscle groups.

Busyballers Wednesday Kloof-38, busyballers

Here are some ideas on how to get active with your family and discover your children’s hidden talents and passions at the same time:

Family Outings

We learn so much from our parents. Developing a healthy, active lifestyle and strong family relationships starts at home – with mom and dad. What about doing a Park Run together? Or the Colour Run? The East Coast Radio Big Walk is a great day out for the whole family too! These events often have different races to suit everyone. So if you’re already more active and need a challenge, enter the 20km option or if you’re just getting into it and that feels slightly overwhelming then start with the 5km. Do whatever makes you HAPPY as long as you’re getting out there bonding TOGETHER and not sitting at home on the couch watching TV! No memories were ever made on the couch!

Recreational Sport

Get involved in different sports clubs – be it hockey, soccer, cricket, tennis – and experience what commitment, dedication and team work is all about. I feel that the life skills one gains from team sports are invaluable and sadly, sorely lacking in children and adults today. Children need to learn these skills from a young age so that they carry through into adult life.

Water Play

Head down to the beach for some family fun. Expressions on the Beach have a range of activities on offer from bikes to skateboards to surf boards and stand up paddle boards. Who knows, maybe your child is not the budding soccer player you once thought he was and in actual fact, is the next Stand Up Paddle Boarder waiting to happen!

If you don’t have an ocean nearby, then head for the nearest dam and learn to canoe, fish or water-ski. The options are endless, and so is the opportunity for FUN!


What ever happened to sending children out into the garden to play…on their own…without instructing them on what to do or how to do it? Let them be! Allow children to use their imaginations. Trust me… they will find their own ways to beat boredom. They’ll build forts, climb trees, make up dances, model in fashion shows, and build obstacle courses. They’ll think, plan, problem solve and execute – all on their own!