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THUMB WRESTLING: Defining a Game

1) Partner the kids up. Do not provide any instruction otherwise. Inevitably there will be playful cheating

and arguments among the players as little structure has been provided.

2) Stop the game to support players in understanding the purpose of a game and to provide more

structure. Ask the team to define the term "GAME". The players will hover around the true definition.

- Suits (2014), defined the game as "the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary

obstacles". Furthermore he described the necessity for each player to take on what he called a

"Lusory Attitude". Ask players what they think that means. If necessary, share the provided video.

3) Once players understand that they all accept unnecessary obstacles in order to challenge each other

we will add some structure for them to continue play. Particularly a method to start

competition ("1234 I declare a Thumb War") .

4) Ask players to switch partners and to continue play.

A LUSORY ATTITUDE Just Isn't Enough!

Stop play one final time. Explain, that young people teach us coaches lessons and help us reaffirm what we know to be true in amazing ways each and everyday. Here is a lesson I was taught by a five year old (My daughter Lila).

An addition to the unnecessary obstacles in place:

1) Demonstrate the structured beginning once again (1234 I declare a thumb war). Explain that this was the routine I had used every time before to challenge

my daughter in thumb wrestling. One day she came home and demanded this addition modelled for her at school. "BOW...KISS...BEGIN!".

2) Have players to switch partners and continue to play one more best of 3 round.

3) Ask the players "What do you think the BOW in Martial Arts represents?" (Respect). Then ask "What does the act of a KISS represent?" (Love).

4) Ask "Why, in their good sense, would a group of five year olds see the necessity to make this addition?". Explain that part of "THE SECRET" is that a Lusory

Attitude just isn't enough to truly achieve in games or life!

5) Ask "What is the true purpose of sport?". Lead the group to the understanding that sport is the artificial creation of challenging context in which to develop and

master skills (Physical, Technical, Tactical, but most importantly Psychological).

Revisiting Our MISSION!

When we lead with LOVE through RESPECT we lead with TRUTH!

Chris McCallum - Values Based Basketball Founder, 2017


Once confident in directing the conversation, coaches/Instructors can move forward with discussion of the key concepts of the mission statement. Instructors might choose a direct discussion format, a Think/Pair/Share format, or a Gallery Walk format. To gather ideas for discussion. In any case the following questions and discussion points will guide players to understanding key concepts.

1) Ask players to define RESPECT.

2) Ask "What the act of respecting another person look like?".

3) Support players in understanding that respect in and of itself is meaningless.

Supporting Discussion:

This might be a good time to discuss the value of the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you). This rule is not about respect! In fact it is all about our own ego. The rule should read do unto others as they would have you do unto them. Maxwell (2003) contends that all people want to feel valued, appreciated, trusted, respected, understood, and not taken advantage of. How we achieve this for self and others is dependent on RESPECT.

1) Ask player to define LOVE. This will be difficult.

2) Ask "What kinds of love we have in our lives?".

3) Ask "How do we demonstrate love to others?

Supporting Discussion:

Explain that the Greeks define love in 4 ways. Storge-Kinship, Philia-Friendship, Eros-Romantic and Agape-Divine (Pease-Gadoua, 2015).

Discuss Chapman's (2015) the Love Languages in explaining how we express our love to self and others. These consist of Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, Physical Touch.

There are truths in this world! The fact is that "accomplishment without significance will ultimately prove to be meaningless and without lasting value" (Dungy, 2010).

1) Ask "What is meant by significance?

2) How is it different from success?

Supporting Discussion:

Explain that what we take from life is what the modern world calls success, but what we give to life brings significance, or a feeling of complete satisfaction, into our lives!


Extension Activities:  

Advanced Thumb Wrestling

Feats of Strength and Aboriginal Games Events

Staring Competition

Standing Arm Wresting

Toe Boxing

Kneel Jump

One Foot High Kick

Two Foot High Kick

Leg Wrestling

Eagle/Airplane Carry

Scissor Broad Jump

1v1 Wooden Pin Pull (Grease for greater challenge)

Back Push

Back Wrestling