Hello, Fraser here with my first blog…
Just felt inspired to write about something that I did yesterday with some young kids from social housing locally to here – no great sainthood on the horizon but very humbling and highlights a few points….

The background to this is the fundamental core of Games Education as a company – the one thing that led Mike and I to set it up. Not making huge sums of money (although maybe one day it would be nice to pay off all the loans!) but the strong belief and desire that every child playing sport and exercise should be able to use techniques and equipment similar to the professionals…

..why should only a very privileged few have access to such things…BECAUSE all the technology is too expensive and alas there aren’t many coaches out there like Mike who are passionate enough about coaching to try new things, to replicate the training of elite players and bring that coaching to the young players. I say this not as Mike’s business partner and friend but as the father on one of his protégés in tennis, my son Angus. It was hearing Mike say before a Sunday session that he had been looking at Nadal and Federer on You Tube the night before and was trying some of their drills with my son that stood out for me as a parent. That’s creative coaching and not confined by rigid guidelines of governing bodies. And the technology bit? Use scientific nowse, start from the very beginning and create a piece of technology that can be bought by the very entry point of sport and exercise. And so we created the HotSpot. And that’s accessible technology for sport and fitness. By definition.

Okay so where’s all this going….my concern is this. Why can’t we harbour the knowledge and passion that Mike and I have for sports coaching and combine it with tools and technology that are affordable and fun for children? You can I hear you say! Well we’d like to think so too, but we’ve faced an uphill battle with PCTs for obesity and schools for inclusion trying to convince them that by introducing healthy competition, by making sport and exercise fun and enjoyable, you will get more kids being active, having fun and ultimately all getting something out of it. My favourite expression that I have coined about this is it’s not about inter-competition but intra-competition. (Alas I guess this message my be lost on some audiences!) What I mean is we don’t want James to be better than John we want James to be better than James before! Why not get some times and scores and get some motivation. I work with children all day every day and they love competition! Everything is competition – but it’s about making that competition fun and using it to help each individual themselves. With me so far?!

So all the non believers that getting competition into schools and young people’s lives is a good thing, take note of the next bit. And the reason for me writing now…

I spent a very humbling afternoon yesterday with the group I mentioned at the beginning. I was asked by my friend and colleague from our football team if I knew who could help with his after school session that afternoon as the organisation (who I’d better leave nameless!) who had been booked to run the session had cancelled literally hours before. So in for a penny in for a pound I said I’d run a session. Having rushed down the motorway back home, out of a playground, some cones, footballs, ladders and a little goal I created an agility course for the ten or so kids assembled. Needless to say HotSpot was integral to mark out the way points and give me some scores. Urban Agility and Football had been born! Okay don’t want to labour the point but an hour later and two runs of the course, the header challenge and a crazy playground cross bar challenge later we had kept 10 kids very entertained and given it was around -3degrees, warm and entertained. Quick certificate giving for all and off they went.

Okay no need to feel smug but it really taught me something – most kids whatever their background can be entertained, helped and encouraged by good people skills, knowledge and fun and can get a lot from sport and exercise. That by having a little competition everyone got more from it. And that the most able and the least able all competed on the same level and all achieved.

And that’s what I want all those involved in sport and physical education who might doubt the fact that competition is good and healthy and right if conducted in a sensible manner to take on board.

If there’s still some non believers then this is the email I received today and I have entered it word for word…..

Hi Fraser
Just to say thanks so much for saving the day yesterday, really appreciated you setting something up at such late notice. The kids really enjoyed the session and it was great to hear from a Mum this morning who called to thank us for the event and to say how much her son enjoyed it, this was a kid which hasn’t engaged in any of our previous activities.
Would be great if we could fix a programme of sessions in the new year.
Many thanks again
F Factor Co-Ordinator

Nothing more to say huh but happy times and let’s give the kids what they deserve.

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