In part one of a three-part series, ViPR global master coach John Sinclair identifies how you can use ViPR as a brilliant tool for playing games.

“Go outside and play – you are driving me crazy.” That was a statement I heard my mom say repeatedly growing up. I am sure most of you reading this blog did too. However, I am also making an assumption that most of you were outside playing anyway. In most cases, if it was nice outside and your friends and siblings were around, you would engage in some form of play or games. For me, play has defined my entire life. I knew at an early age that my destiny was to play games and have fun. I grew up in small towns in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. In a town of 300 people, you had to invent your own fun and create games to keep yourself entertained and out of your parents’ hair. There was less structured play and more opportunity to explore. We spent most of our childhood imagining scenarios of war, battling monsters and villains, emulating our favorite wrestler or iconic sports figure and climbing, running, jumping, throwing, stunting, flying and, in most cases, hurting ourselves. But it didn’t matter if you got hurt because it was fun. I educate coaches and personal trainers about how to play games with their clients.

Play looks different for kids and adults today. It is very structured. We either focus on one sport or go to the gym and do our workout. I am not saying that is bad, but I do believe we have somewhat lost what we had as a child. Why? I am not sure. Maybe the entire world grew up too fast. My favorite saying to adults is that we need to ‘grow down’. I think the thought of early specialization of sports has suppressed the creativity of kids and has not really done much more for the movement ability of adults either.

When I was growing up, there wasn’t a sport or activity that I didn’t excel at. Today I feel I can go out and play any sport or activity and have success at it. I know I am not that old yet, but at 38 years old I know I can compete with adults much younger than I and I can certainly out-perform other 38 year olds. One thing that I attribute that to is my love for playing and creating.

ViPR is an ultimate tool of creativity. And not just for fitness but for developing a connection with your brain, hands and heart. For those reading this, I know you have created many different exercises with ViPR. ViPR reminds me of what it was like as a kid to run all over town with a stick. That stick was your club, your gun, your sword, your spear and the support beam for the fort you built. The stick, like your ViPR, was the tool that allowed you to fantasize and create movement within your environment. To interact with other people or with other tools and things in your environment is the essence of play.

PTA Global has defined exercise as movement + forces. Frank Forencich from Exuberant Animal has defined play as movement + relationships. Those relationships exist between you and other people, animals and the environments you play in. A relationship is defined as connecting with others on their terms.

According to Dr Stuart Brown, director for the National Institute for Play and author of the book Play – How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, play provides mental, emotional, and physical transitions that create and establish a mental, emotional, and physical connection. It is a biological human need. Playing is a need that releases the passion within us, allowing us to have trusting relationships with others.

So, the real question is: Why do we not play, and how can I create play and bring it back into my life and the life of others, particularly my friends and family and my clients? This article is in three parts. This first part identifies how you can use ViPR as a brilliant tool for playing games. In the subsequent two parts, we will identify different types of play and how ViPR can be a great tool for bringing the passion of play out in us and our friends.

Remember that fun means something different to everyone. Explore together and do not forget to ask them if they are having fun. Have them rate that activity or drill. Ask them using the Kaizen-6 scale: If you were to rate that game or activity on a scale of one to 10 (10 being amazing, one being horrible) where would you rate it? What would have happened if it was one score lower? What could we do to make it one score higher?

Ultimately, if we can find a game or form of play that scores really high for that person, we will be meeting their needs and building a lasting relationship. In the video below we will discover two types of play that are defined in Dr Stuart Brown’s book. They are body play and object play.

Body play refers to taking the body through physical challenges and orienteering it through different environments. There are many forms of body play. There is body limit play and it could be identified as the most pull-ups you can do in one try. As many reps as possible in a given period of time is an example of trial play. Mass play is the most weight you could lift overhead in one rep, like strong man competitions or weightlifting. Distance play can be identified as marathons or triathlons.

Object play is simply defined or categorized as the number of different uses you can find for an object or how you can make that object be whatever you would like it to be. This is where the creativity and versatility of ViPR comes together! Combining object play and body limit play will leave you and your friends and clients with unlimited variations of exercise for their goals.

I hope you have enjoyed this: stay tuned for parts two and three.

In part two we will explore the psychological and physical benefits of play and look at two other forms of play with ViPR: social play and imaginative play.

In part three we will explore rough and tumble play with ViPR and who likes this form of play the best. What personalities lend themselves to certain types of play and how their personal style of movement and how to cue them based on their learning style and personality will be a focus of this section.