Can you meet 1960s High School PE requirements? --fascinating documentary

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
I am not sure if this went the rounds already. La Sierra HS PE program, "classical physical education" documentary. This trailer and program PDF is from a fascinating documentary about a HS PE program. It is pretty eye opening how far we have fallen in fitness standards. This is a special program, but still it was adopted across an entire school, not just for student athletes. All they needed was kettlebells!

It is becoming increasingly clear that not all change is progress.

Trailer: Background: The Motivation Factor – PE 50 Years Ago | #JFKChallenge
The standards:
http://motivationmovie.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/7-1966-LPEPE-STUDENT-HANDBOOK.pdf
 

Hasbro

Level 5 Valued Member
I think it’s great and would like to see it in all schools but I don’t think it stands a chance in today’s culture of political correctness. Heaven forbid some kid feel bad about him/herself because they can’t do it. When I was a kid in the 60’s we had the Presidents Physical Fitness Award (or something like that). It wasn’t near as intensive as this program but it gave you a goal to shoot for.

You know looking back through my school pics from elementary through high school it was rare to see an overweight kid. Even if you didn’t play a school sport kids back then stayed a lot more active than today. Too many kids today walk around with a 44 oz soda in one hand while staring at their cell phone in the other. Could you imagine if Trump tried to start something like that today.....it would never fly.
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
I think it’s great and would like to see it in all schools but I don’t think it stands a chance in today’s culture of political correctness. Heaven forbid some kid feel bad about him/herself because they can’t do it. When I was a kid in the 60’s we had the Presidents Physical Fitness Award (or something like that). It wasn’t near as intensive as this program but it gave you a goal to shoot for.

You know looking back through my school pics from elementary through high school it was rare to see an overweight kid. Even if you didn’t play a school sport kids back then stayed a lot more active than today. Too many kids today walk around with a 44 oz soda in one hand while staring at their cell phone in the other. Could you imagine if Trump tried to start something like that today.....it would never fly.

Yes, it is a sad decline. I remember the fitness tests we had in high school PE as well. Yeah, I can't even remember any kids being really obese at school either. Looking at footage on youtube of WW2 training also gives you a good idea of the general body composition of the population then.
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
I think it’s great and would like to see it in all schools but I don’t think it stands a chance in today’s culture of political correctness. Heaven forbid some kid feel bad about him/herself because they can’t do it. When I was a kid in the 60’s we had the Presidents Physical Fitness Award (or something like that). It wasn’t near as intensive as this program but it gave you a goal to shoot for.

You know looking back through my school pics from elementary through high school it was rare to see an overweight kid. Even if you didn’t play a school sport kids back then stayed a lot more active than today. Too many kids today walk around with a 44 oz soda in one hand while staring at their cell phone in the other. Could you imagine if Trump tried to start something like that today.....it would never fly.
The Presidential Fitness Test was ended for that reason - claimed it gave kids complexes/disorders with exercise and performance. IIRC it is based on national percentiles for age and gender; it seems anything that ranks kids we have shied away from.

On a related note...
 

bing3r

Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks for the video share. It's unfortunate to see the de-emphasizing of physical culture in favor of "safe" intellectual pursuits. (Not that intellectual pursuits are inferior, but an over-emphasis on one or the other isn't desirable IMO).

@Sean M Great article.
 

Warrior_Scientist

Level 1 Valued Member
Past may 6 or 7 years old, I don't plan on congratulating my kids for participation trophy.
From below artcile "Our youth must learn how to handle both winning and losing in order to have a realistic perspective on life. Being celebrated for just competing hurts the player more than anything, because it prevents that lesson from taking root…which ultimately stunts that individual’s growth."

You Don't Get Participation Awards For Showing Up At Work
 

WhatWouldHulkDo

Level 7 Valued Member
Between my own kids, and coaching kids' sports here and there, this is near to my heart.

I don't believe that a school PE program creates aspiration to physical greatness, just as a mathematics & science program doesn't create aspiration to understand the universe. A good program provides a path to cultivate aspirations, but the motivation has to come from somewhere else. And shame or fear of failure is not good enough - that's not real, lasting motivation.

So, how to we inspire the motivation? I look back, and think of what inspired me physically as a kid... for me, it was watching my dad. He was built like a tank, but could move around a raquetball court like a jaguar. And he could knock a softball into the next county. I didn't follow exactly in his footsteps, but it certainly gave me the hunger to want to do those kind of "man among men" things, and the idea that those pursuits don't stop just because you graduate high school. So, I keep looking for ways to test & prove myself, and I think it's rubbing off on my kids now.

In the end, I think this kind of thing can't just be put on the kids, or on "tough" parenting. It's got to be do what I do, not do what I say - parents gotta put their money where their mouths are.

Probably preaching to the choir around here, of course...
 

Arthurnottheking

Level 1 Valued Member
Just found a couple of bookmarked videos by The Lean Berets - Avengers of Health. I had a task to do my homework about Mr. Stan LeProtti and his contributions to PE.
LaSierra High PE Program -1960s
West High PE Program-1970s
 

Arthurnottheking

Level 1 Valued Member
Just found a couple of bookmarked videos by The Lean Berets - Avengers of Health. I had a task to do my homework for me about Mr. Stan LeProtti and his contributions to PE.
LaSierra High PE Program -1960s
West High PE Program-1970s

Unfortunately, I missed their Breakthroughs International Conference at San Diego State University last year..
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
Just found a couple of bookmarked videos by The Lean Berets - Avengers of Health. I had a task to do my homework about Mr. Stan LeProtti and his contributions to PE.
LaSierra High PE Program -1960s
West High PE Program-1970s

You can find a scan of the whole curriculum online.

Looking at WW2 fitness standards is also eye opening?
 

Pavel Macek

Level 9 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
In 1960, JFK wrote an article for Sports Illustrated titled " The Soft American ." Worth reading, IMO.

 

Ben H

Level 5 Valued Member

...and the article:


What a fun article - judging from the photos these kids seem never to touch the ground from one bell to the other. Every time there's a new article I read it right away and it's rarely not worth the time. I miss the podcast though...

In 1960, JFK wrote an article for Sports Illustrated titled " The Soft American ." Worth reading, IMO.


So was every US child of the 1950s as fit as cultural memory holds, or did 60% fail the trivial-seeming Kraus-Weber test? The two can't go together which suggest there is some selective or wishful memory of the "back in my day" type going on 😉

There was a simple explanation for why the comparatively well-nourished and sporty American kids did worse than European ones in the KW test. In Europe PE classes were more based on group calisthenics which made the kids better at adopting the essentially gymnastic poses in the KW test. If it had been a bleep test or something else then the American kids, doing less gymnastics or calisthenics but more running and team sports, may have done better.

Who knows, but also does it matter? A brief test could never really assess all-round athletic development. Even tests carefully designed to do that (eg the NFL combine) can be manipulated when success in the test becomes an important goal in its own right. Likewise the President's Fitness Test adopted some of the KW tests and mixed in a few more, but without any real systematic research justification. What you'd naturally find is that people have bodies that excel at some parts and struggle at others, and those who train to succeed at a partial and incoherent test may pass the test without really becoming any healthier. Likewise we here prize those who achieve the rare versatility in strength to become a Beast Tamer, but would never expect them to be the healthiest people just as a result of doing so!

In short these tests caught on because they supported a narrative of cultural decline or decadence which is great for making political points. Naturally Eisenhower was personally concerned with the question of future US military fitness too. But they have been a pet concern of many presidents since.

The sad thing is that the very early recommendations of the President's Council for Youth Fitness actually revealed a much more holistic view of childhood health, advocating open-ended and self-guided play and hobbies; more sport options for girls; resources for children who weren't naturally athletic stars but enjoyed fishing, bowling, other active pursuits; mental and emotional fulfilment; playgrounds and open areas; even closing roads (this in the car-mad late 50s!!!) to promote active transport and play.

There was even early resistance to a bureaucratic testing regime, but as the other stuff all cost money and rigorous testing suited the Fordist tendencies of the time, that was what kids were left with...

Nostalgia for a pre-lapsarian past tends to blind people to the fact that shame, fear, ranking and classification have always been a weak substitute for opportunity and motivation. Great physical fitness leaders understand this instinctively. I think it's revealing that when people consider who has inspired their journeys of physical improvement it's usually people like parents, peer role models, Scout leaders, team coaches... very rarely PE teachers and drill sergeants. With all due respect to the many great PE teachers who do get it.
 

sizzlefuzz

Level 6 Valued Member
So was every US child of the 1950s as fit as cultural memory holds, or did 60% fail the trivial-seeming Kraus-Weber test? The two can't go together which suggest there is some selective or wishful memory of the "back in my day" type going on 😉
Yes... reading things like this leads me to think there is a lot of "the older I get, the better I was" thinking going on. Physical fitness is important, and the La Sierra program is an interesting snapshot at a point in time.
 

BJJ Shawn

Level 2 Valued Member
I remember taking the President's fitness test back in the 70s, most kids could do parts of it, but certainly not everyone could complete the whole thing.
Yeah, I did it through the 80's and 90's, and most kids could barely do much of anything in it. I did gymnastics from about 3 years old, and played every sport I could find time to do, so I was definitely the exception to the rule, and I was able to complete everything at a high standard. Too bad as I got older and quit gymnastics to hang out with friends and smoke I lost most of what I had.
 
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