In most fashionable excessive faculties, PE is a whole blow-off class – when you do not play a sport, and have to finish well being/fitness-related electives. Individuals typically sit on the bleachers and speak, or half-heartedly play some basketball.

There was a time on this nation when PE was taken extra critically, and it reached its absolute peak at La Sierra Excessive Faculty in Carmichael, California.

Through the Fifties and ’60s, La Sierra boasted what was probably the most rigorous PE program within the nation, if not the world. The so-called “La Sierra System” was born at a time when World Warfare II had ended, the Chilly Warfare was nonetheless heating up, and prosperity and technological progress have been making life more and more sedentary and cozy. On this atmosphere, a nationwide concern existed over whether or not People have been turning into too smooth, obese, and complacent to not solely defend their nation in struggle, however to vigorously face the challenges of peace.

As President John F. Kennedy wrote in “The Tender American”:

Bodily health isn’t solely a very powerful key to a wholesome physique; It’s the foundation of dynamic and artistic mental exercise. , , , [We] Know what the Greeks knew: that intelligence and talent can solely operate on the peak of their potential when the physique is wholesome and powerful; That onerous souls and laborious minds normally dwell in wholesome our bodies.

On this sense, bodily health is the premise of all actions of our society. And if our our bodies change into bland and inactive, if we fail to encourage bodily growth and abilities, we undermine our capability for thought, work, and use of these abilities vital to an elaborate and complicated America. Will give

Thus the bodily health of our residents is a crucial situation for the belief of America’s full potential as a nation and for each citizen’s alternative to make full and helpful use of his skills.

To forestall the bodily deterioration of our fellow People and to advertise the thought of ​​creating a wholesome thoughts in a wholesome physique, JFK used The President’s Council on Bodily Well being sought to revitalize bodily education schemes throughout the nation, and noticed La Sierra for example of what was attainable on this line.

The primary couple of minutes of the video above offers you a take a look at some points of the La Sierra occasion.

The La Sierra system was developed By WWII veteran Stan Leprotti, who was impressed by the classical, “complete man” strategy to health championed by the traditional Greeks. LeProtti’s program sought to enhance the energy, agility, stability, flexibility, energy and endurance in addition to management qualities of all males within the pupil physique, not simply the comparatively few boys who participated in organized athletics. This system included not solely bodily train – a routine that included an intense 12-minute calisthenic warm-up, sports activities, sports activities, dance, fight, gymnastics, operating, aquatics, and off-ground work on a wide range of tools corresponding to peg boards. was – but in addition contains common conferences to speak about philosophy – the Why? – Behind it. College students have been taught that the health routine they engaged in not solely constructed their our bodies, however ready their minds to be taught and their spirits to take care of life’s setbacks.

The “Philosophy” part of the La Sierra Pei Handbook contains each “bodily well being” and “psychological well being” as the 2 targets of this system, and lists the next among the many latter targets:

  • College students are systematically and intentionally required to ‘exit’ inside their particular person skills in numerous bodily growth actions, resulting in a progressive enhance in stamina and tolerance of ache ranges.
  • Within the context of heavy, energy-producing kind actions, college students develop a disciplined perspective in direction of the ‘laborious work precept’.

when . producer of motivating issue, a documentary in regards to the La Sierra system, interviewed individuals who went by way of it of their youth, reported that this system had delivered on this desired impact – and it stayed with them into maturity; When these La Sierra grads confronted challenges in later years, they returned to their PE experiences as a touchstone – a reminder that they have been able to working laborious.

One other distinctive trademark of the La Sierra system was its use of “means grouping” – a hierarchy of ranks denoting totally different ranges of bodily proficiency. Boys have been positioned into groups primarily based on these ranges, and every crew/stage was recognized by the otherwise coloured satin trunks worn by their respective members (with out shirts) whereas they exercised. All freshmen began out on the White crew, sporting white shorts, and will then work their approach up the ranks throughout their highschool years. Whenever you check within the subsequent stage, you will should discard your outdated coloured shorts for brand spanking new ones and proudly show your earned achievement. The colour system was designed to make use of boys’ pure propensity for competitors and a publicly acknowledged place towards “bodily excellence” as an inspiration.

One may marvel if this method didn’t embarrass and embarrass boys who have been at decrease ranges of health, and needed to put on decrease ranges of shorts. Would not the colour group make them really feel dangerous about broadcasting their place on the backside of the ladder?

Richard Chester Tucker, a coach on the time, who wrote his PhD dissertation on the colour system of La Sierra, addressed the identical query. They in contrast the least bodily able-bodied third college students at La Sierra and a college with a conventional PE program. They discovered that there was no distinction within the vanity of boys in every group. Nevertheless, boys from La Sierra have been extra bodily match than boys from different faculties; For instance, on common, the bottom third boy in La Sierra can do 9 pull-ups, whereas the bottom third boy in a conventional PE program can do solely two pull-ups. In different phrases, the color-coded shorts system did not make college students really feel dangerous about themselves, nevertheless it did encourage them to attempt increased; These children could by no means have been elite athletes, however the color-code system impressed them to change into their Greatest. as Tucker says motivating issue“We got here below lots of criticism as a result of [people said] ‘You are rolling these children in white tights. What does this do to their self-respect?’ It makes them need to get pink tights!”

When interviewed as adults, those that went by way of the La Sierra program recalled it as being enjoyable and extremely useful; The boys inspired one another and helped one another attain the following stage.

Throughout the shade system, there have been 4 major ranges: white (newbie), pink (intermediate), blue (superior), and navy blue (final athlete). Throughout the blue stage, there have been two sub-levels: purple and gold. Over 90% of scholars have been capable of progress from the White crew to the Crimson crew by the tip of their freshman 12 months, and 60% have been capable of ultimately make the Blue crew. For each 100 college students, just one or two have been sporting white tights till commencement.

The next benchmarks needed to be hit in an effort to transfer previous the White crew and attain later shade ranges inside the La Sierra system.

Every shade stage had minimal, median, and “ceiling” sub-standards; The ceiling commonplace of 1 shade stage was the minimal commonplace of the following; Hitting a ceiling commonplace inside one shade stage means that you can improve to the following shade. The minimal commonplace for every major shade stage is listed under:

pink (intermediate)

  • Pull-ups: 10
  • Push-ups: 32
  • Bar-Dips: 12
  • Sit-ups: 60
  • Standing Broad Bounce: 6’9″
  • 200-yard shuttle run: 34 seconds
  • Rope climbing (18′, stand begin): Use arms solely (not legs)
  • Agility Run: 20 seconds
  • 880-yard run: 3 minutes
  • Mile Run: 7 minutes
  • Man Raise and Carry: 880 Yards
  • Peg Board (Vertical): 6 Holes
  • 50-yard swim (freestyle): 36 seconds

blue (superior)

  • Pull-ups: 14
  • Push-ups: 48
  • Bar-Dips: 18
  • Standing Broad Bounce: 7’3″
  • Hanging Leg Lifts: 24
  • 300-yard shuttle run: 52 seconds
  • Rope Climb (18′, Stand Begin): 15 seconds, arms solely
  • Agility Run: 19 seconds
  • 1320-yard run: 4:20
  • Man Raise and Carry: 1320 Yards
  • Peg Board (Vertical): 1 Journey
  • Extension Press-Ups: 5
  • 1.5-Mile Run: 10:30
  • 50-yard swim (freestyle): 32 seconds

Navy Blue (Final Athlete)

The center and ceiling sub-standards inside the blue stage have been categorized as having their very own colors: purple and gold. To check Navy Blue Trunks, you have to first earn your Gold Trunks.

  • Pull-ups: 34
  • Bar-Dips: 52
  • Handstand Push-ups: 50
  • Alt. 1 Arm Burpees (30 sec): 26
  • 300-yard shuttle run: 47.5 seconds
  • Rope Climb (20′, Fingers Solely, Sitting Begin): 2 journeys
  • Agility Run: 17 seconds
  • Extension Press-Up (8″): 100
  • Pegboard (Vertical): 5 Journeys
  • Handstand: 45 seconds
  • Man Raise and Carry: 5 Miles
  • Mile Run: 5:15
  • 5-Mile Jog: End
  • Impediment Course: Full
  • Swimming (entrance inclined place): 1 mile
  • Swimming (underwater): 50 yards
  • Swimming (any mixture of strokes): 2 miles
  • Execute Entrance Hanging Float with Fingers and Ankles Tied (Deep Water): 6 minutes
  • Keep in deep water vertically (use of legs and arms allowed inside 8′ circle): 2 hours

Representing the head of bodily health, navy blue shorts have been apparently extraordinarily troublesome to earn, and in consequence Extreme Prestigious. When a pupil earned his Navy trunks, his achievement was introduced on the college’s PA system, and all the pupil physique erupted in thunder.

Between 1958 when the navy blue stage was launched and 1983 when La Sierra Excessive Faculty closed, solely 21 college students have been capable of purchase these trunks. At this time, the usual stays as a testomony to the occasions it had excessive hopes for its youth – who believed of their potential and impressed them to succeed in as excessive as they may.

For extra on the La Sierra Pei program hearken to this episode of the AOM podcast:



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