Physics, Focus, and Board Breaking

This year has been harder than last, but I still love contributing to my blog and am ready to be back at it. If you listen to the "Ditch That Textbook" Podcast (which you should if you don't), then you've heard Matt Miller wrestle with the idea of not giving up when you miss a post or a few, so this is me getting back on the horse. Yee-haw!

Physics tells us that the force applied (F) divided by the area (A) it is applied over is equal to the pressure (P) exerted. What does this mean? This means that less force is needed to create the same amount of pressure over a smaller area than a larger area. If your efforts are focused on a small area, you are more likely to see the results of your efforts.

This year more than most other years, I am noticing that I am teaching very tired students. My students are distributing their energy over so many different sports, clubs, and demanding courses that they are not able to give each aspect of their life the attention it deserves. They seem to be spreading themselves too thin. How do we encourage our students to pick a few things to do really well rather than a lot of things to do only okay? 

Talking about focus and physics always makes me want to draw a comparison to board breaking, particularly with a kick. When board breaking, we always remind our students to hit with the correct contact area. If you hit with the wrong area, the board won't break. Consider a side kick. This technique requires the foot to be parallel to the floor (sideways). If you hit your entire foot on the board, it won't break. You have to pull your toes back and hit the heel of your foot in the middle. If you hit with a smaller area, you are able to generate the pressure needed to break the board. 

Basically, in all areas of our lives, we need to consider that we have a finite about of energy to expend. If we try to use that effort over too large of an area, we end up not being able to reach the goals that we have set for ourselves from breaking boards to getting good grades. 


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