– Dipta Joshi
Sports and physical education for children have suffered one of the biggest setbacks during the extended closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown. With an objective to reinforce the concept of “movement being medicine’, Sportz Village, India’s largest youth sports platform (estd. 2003) has been using online platforms to promote physical education amongst children between the ages, 9-14 years.
Sportz Village’ latest programme launched this September, ‘Active Club’ is an instructor-led online program revolving around getting children and parents to subscribe to different online training modules wherein certified trainers train the children on various age-appropriate, sports-specific and fitness activities. The main goal of the programme is to motivate the children to stay fit and active by playing and moving constantly as per the online instructions. Thus, children not only make productive use of their screen time but also gain better physical, mental Health while interacting with their peers. The ‘Active Club’ programme has already garnered approximately 1,650 subscriptions.
The programme has been developed by John Gloster, chief performance and quality officer, Sportz Village. Associated with international cricket for the last 22 years, John Gloster has been physiotherapist to the Indian cricket Team (2004-2008) and head physiotherapist and medical coordinator for the Rajasthan Royals IPL franchise (since 2008).
“Having spent the last 15 years living in India, I have observed the status of Indian sports and sports education first-hand. I believe that we have an ongoing responsibility to educate the educators (parents, teachers, administrators and the government) that sports education and physical activity should be an integral part of all school curriculum for several reasons. These include having healthier and happier children who are academically more robust and better socially integrated. Sports education will also ultimately help in solving some of the long-term health outcomes being predicted for the future. All this can be achieved by well-structured and well-implemented physical education programs for children, delivered either online in the COVID-19 era or as previously within the school curriculum or as an after-school activity model. My many years of involvement in the elite sporting world, both in the sub-continent and elsewhere in the world, has allowed me to give valuable insights into what systems and processes are required to develop a sound sporting structure and the major role grassroots sports and structured school physical education models can play in children’s development.” says John Gloster.
Sportz Village has held several live sessions wherein children interacted with their trainers through multiple videoconferencing tools during the lockdown. The company also launched digitally interactive physical education programmes for schools including ‘Play at Home’ and ‘Leader Board’ which is an assignment based digital platform that motivates children to be fit through a point system. All physical activities are scheduled by trained physical training teachers on a weekly basis. The programme can be logged into and monitored by school leaders.
Sportz Village is currently working with over 1,200 schools across 250 locations and impacts seven lakh children through their structured sports and physical education (P.E) curriculum in schools. The company’s sister concern, Sportz Village Xpis a leading sports management company offering experiential sports marketing (ESM) services to 100 plus leading brands like NBA, Reliance Foundation, Adidas, Skoda, Perfetti, Boost, Milo, Coca Cola, etc. Sportz Village has also introduced a scientifically researched and highly tested ‘Sport for Change’ programme aimed at driving change in government schools in terms of health, education and empowerment of children.
Also read: Sports education during a global pandemicCorporate, News