My name is Shane Stubbs and I have been a health and physical education teacher in Australian schools since 1989. Yes, this does make me quite old (I am 54 this month!). However, because of my Michael Jordan haircut, when I play “Guess how old the teacher is?” with my 7th graders at the start of each school year like I did just before the lock down - I am often mistaken for a teacher in their early 40s. I'll take that at hope it lasts just a little bit longer!
I found CROSSNET while searching through my LinkedIn account recently. At 54 years of age I love physical education just as much as I did when I was 24 years of age, perhaps even a little more because I understand its value proposition in our community. That value proposition has only risen in this global pandemic of the coronavirus. There is an English personal trainer on YouTube who now calls himself “Joe the PE Teacher,” and when I looked this morning his views have jumped to 5.5 million views each day. For those of us who are actually PE teachers and have worked with students face to face for our entire careers, I am not sure how you feel about somebody claiming they are a PE Teacher to take advantage of a health crisis but believe me this guy and his company know how to turn that free traffic into profitability.
Let's get back to the topic at hand and I'll come down off my soapbox. I'm a member of just about every Facebook PE teacher group there is in the world. What they are searching for right now are innovative and interesting ways to keep students engaged in physical activity at home. Cue my first viewing of a CROSSNET video on the website. After being a physical education teacher for 32 years and prior to that competing at a high-level at various different sports in Australia, it took me about 20 seconds of watching a CROSSNET video to get hooked on the endless potential of what I could do with my students. Like anything that I geek out on, I dove in and read everything that they had to share on their website and made contact with one of the owners in Florida through my LinkedIn account.
What an absolute pleasure it was to speak to someone who is young, energetic and driven to provide a very simple yet highly interesting product for not only the community, but for school PE teachers like me. Let me tell you where my brain went instantly after watching the CROSSNET video. I started thinking about my students at home who had more than one person in the family and how they could be playing this game, social distancing and be active at the same time. The best part I thought though, was that CROSSNET is an activity that none of them had been used to in a school setting and would work in 99% of homes who are experiencing lockdown.
My biggest epiphany came when I thought about how I can integrate it with my physical education philosophy. I realized many years ago that when my students leave school, almost all of them never play competitive sports again. Then I realized the data says that approximately 63% of all adults do zero physical activity per week. So, I have developed all of my PE lessons to meet the model of playing small sided games for 7-minute blocks at 80% of max heart rate. The reason for this is because of the research I found on a person's “Active Heart Fitness Score.” This term might be unfamiliar with most PE teachers around the world, however the American Heart Association in December of 2016 published a paper showing that health by this metric was more important than blood pressure, high blood sugar, obesity, high cholesterol and smoking.
I did so much research on this new health biometric, and read dozens of medical papers - I quickly realized by not having it in my PE lessons and not teaching it as the main driver of physical activity I was doing a disservice to my students' education. Over the past 4 years I have been working with consulting professors of medicine, public health, cardiology,
childhood physical activity research, applied exercise physiology, cognitive neuroscience and the list goes on. I got so excited I turned this into a free radio show called “MY CHILD’S HEALTHY LIFE”. You can find it on Apple podcasts or Spotify or Google Play by searching that term. Here is the online website for the radio show https://mchl.buzzsprout.com/
There are so many things I can do with CROSSNET which would help me meet the goals that I talked about on the radio show and the interviews that I have done with the professors who wrote the research papers to support my approach. CROSSNET can be played for a skills-based process, but it can also easily be adapted to meet my goal to have students complete what I call intensity blocks, which will drive up the number one health biometric that exists.
After being involved in health and physical education for 32 years and having taught more than 30,000 face to face lessons, I love getting excited about something new and innovative which is easy to get. WELL DONE CROSSNET!