SO, how do we ignite that spark in children to become motivated from within?

14 Aug

When my sister, brother, and I were growing up, there was nothing digital per se for us to spend our time doing.  Honestly, even if there was, I doubt our mother would have let us dabble in it much.  We were barely allowed TV, much less any type of video game.  Remember old school Nintendo, Super Mario Brothers?  That was all the rage during our childhood, although we didn’t see much of it.  I digress…

What our mother did do for us, however, was create an inspirational figure.  I’m going to tell you a little story…it is one that is on our website in the About Us section, but I can’t tell it enough because as I sit here writing this blog today, I am reminded of such sweet memories of my athletic career.  A lot of people may not say the same about their past athletic experiences, but for me and my siblings, we thrived in sports from within and I attribute most of that to what our mother brought to life for us in a simple concept that we here at Bouncing Bunch want to share with you and your children so that they may be able to experience some of the great successes that we had!

One afternoon after a long tennis practice our mother brought home 3 very frustrated children.  One was struggling with their forehand, the other had complaints about their serve, and finally, the third was frustrated because not yet being of age to participate in tennis like her brother and sister, she was stuck watching them play for hours on end.  During the ride home, our mother had many thoughts of what she wanted to tell her children of how they could improve on certain areas of their tennis game.  She wanted to ease their frustrations of bad forehands and shoddy serving, but she knew with the level of aggravation they were currently combatting, they would simply view this as nagging and it would cause more harm than good.  She contemplated the question?  What typically motivates kids to want to compete and win for themselves without feeling like it’s coming from the parent in a negative way?  It dawned on her that a lot of children become interested in sports due to some sort of role model type figure that they respect.  She thought of my brother and how he had to have every latest and greatest Andre Agassi outfit because Agassi was such an instrumentally strong role model for him.  Mulling over ideas, she finally came up with one…

After we went to bed, she pulled out some yellow fabric, wrapped it around a round pillow, sewed felt eyes onto it, and some big, red lips.  She called her Vollie and from that moment on, Vollie became our mentor, friend, and confidant.

Waking up that morning to our breakfast, we noticed there was another member sitting at our kitchen table.  Our mother and father waited for us to inquire.  Sure enough, the questions/statements began to spew out of all of us.  “What is that?  Why is it at the table?  It looks like a tennis ball.”

Our mother sat back and smiled and when we were finished she began to tell us the journey of Vollie.  She said when she was sleeping last night there was a knock on the door.  As she opened it, Vollie introduced herself and told her she was here to help 3 great little athletes improve on their tennis game.  She said there were certain rules involved in how Vollie helped out and should we listen to them, Vollie would come to life in the middle of the night, and leave a reward under our pillow at the end of each week.  She also explained to us that if we didn’t do the things Vollie had set forth, it would make her very sad and she would have to leave and find other children that really wanted her help and were willing to listen.  This was a monumental day for all of us as the gears in our little minds slowly turned and settled on a mindset of excitement for tennis, not frustration or as a chore.   The desire to impress our new magical friend with the best performance we had, began to grow.  The sheer thought of letting Vollie down after her long travels and strategically picking the three of us as her children to help was something we would not tolerate!  The reality of it all started to sink in.  A new form of pride to impress her with our discipline, drive for tennis, and motivation to perform our physical exercises started to ignite from within.  We would not let Vollie down!  As we sat in our seats around that kitchen table, looking back and forth from our mother to Vollie, we knew that our lives would forever be changed.

Our mother explained to us that while we were at school, Vollie would tell mom key elements that we would need to start incorporating into our normal physical activities that would be important for our success as athletes.  That was one of the hardest days for us at school.  We couldn’t wait to get home to hear what Vollie had to say.  As we raced through the door off the school bus, we hammered our mother with questions of what Vollie wanted us to start doing.

We have taken this story that was given to us as children and developed it into a business we now call The Bouncing Bunch where we are making sports magical as they were made to us.

The three of us will never forget Vollie and her magical help, good values, healthy eating, and exercise drills she put in place for us.  This taught us discipline, self-respect, the internal desire to be the best we could be, and an indestructible work ethic that carried into our performance at school and eventually into our professional careers.

There is no child that can’t excel at some type of sport or physical activity if the approach set before them is right.  We love athletics in our family and want to give back to others what we have gained.  Athletics have taught us invaluable lessons and shaped us into the people we are today.

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