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There comes a stage in a child’s life when they can thrive or get left behind in sport. A new programme for kids aims to give every child the opportunity to fulfil their potential, whatever their level.
For many years, NappyValleyNetters have flocked to their local tennis courts, sports halls and pitches to watch their children reap the benefits of Playball. Walk past our local commons when a session is on and you’ll see teams of kids in red tops hitting, throwing, kicking, running and tossing balls, while having a lot of fun, developing their skills and co-ordination, and growing in self-confidence.
Historically, the Playball programme runs until a child is eight years old, but this September that is set to change. Director Gavin Marks has been inundated with requests from families asking for a continuation to the Playball offering. After years of development, Gavin and his team are launching PlaySport this autumn. “We’ve spent two years constructing the methodology of coaching for this next stage,” he says. “The aim is to engage children aged 6-10 years old because sometimes those who are not so interested in sport can get left behind at this age and we want them to enjoy the benefits as much as the next child. Equally, for the ones who love sport, we can develop their technique and skills in very specific areas.”
Every child starts from their own level – whether they are new to the Playball family or have been coming since they were two, PlaySport is open to everyone. Some courses are multi-sport and some are dedicated to one sport, but all sports are the ones this age group play in mainstream school, namely football, rugby, hockey, cricket, netball and basketball (all kit is provided, with the exception of mouthguards). Lessons are broken down in to focus points and the coaches use a layering method to build confidence and ability. “As well as focusing on technique, we also spend a lot of time on application of the skills,” explains Gavin. “Our groups are typically 8 to 10 children, so the coach can work one on one when needed, but there are enough kids to have a five-aside match at some point too.”
Teaching according to a scientifically recognised methodology, taking in to account the process of learning as well as considering each individual child’s rate of development, the PlaySports method allows all children to learn, whether they have a flair for sports or have been labelled ‘average’. “Our unique layering method focuses on your child’s competence and leads to confidence and enjoyment, which in turn leads to being good!” says Gavin.
Why not find out more for yourself? Gavin and his team are running two open days for families with 2-10 year olds to experience PlaySport and Playball first hand. On 8 September, 10am-12pm on Clapham Common near the Bowling Green Cafe and on 15 September, 10am-12pm at Dulwich Park near the cafe.