Leapfrogs: Solihull 

My daughter had already done football and I had heard about Leapfrogs before. A friends daughter did the Sunday morning classes and I had heard good things, so I was keen to see what they were like. 
My daughter was just over three when we booked in for her taster session. She went into the Froglets sessions on a Thursday at 10.30 for three to three and half years olds. Leapfrogs also caters for two to three years and three and half to  five years olds.

The big thing that attracted me too this class was the number of sports and activities they cover. Each week a different one is taught. From Dodgeball to Rugby and even Cricket. 

Before the session starts, and waiting for others to arrive, the children get some free time to play with a ball. My daughter has just learnt to bounce a ball, like in basketball, from having a play around and trying things on her own. I was so chuffed. This is is my favourite sport.

 
As the children arrive they get a sticker with their name on it. This allows us to learn each other names but in a more informal way. I like this way but I also like the introduction way too.

Each session starts with a warm up. This involves running around cones and then standing behind one ready to do some stretches and mobility exercises like circling hips and arms.All I can say is my daughter just loves to run and is starting to experiment with some funny versions of the stretches which make me giggle. For me, this is vital knowledge for participating in sport, and starting to input this knowledge at an early age is a great idea.

The session is then moved on to fundamental skills needed for the sport being looked at each week. 

Last week it was jumping, over cones and lines, as the focus sport was dodgeball. 

In dodgeball, jumping to move out of the way is important so you don’t get hit with the ball. This was one of the sport based activity. I got to bounce the ball at my daughter!!! 

As the film states there are 5 skills “dodge, dip, dive, duck and dodge. 

Another example is Cricket.  Throwing is important, so one skill was throwing the ball into different size targets. This then progressed to throwing the ball at stumps.

Dribbling  practice in Hockey  for example. 

Once all the skills and concepts have been taught the children try to put them into a game. These are conditioned to make it easier for the children so they can start to understand the concept of what the sport involves. An example being smaller areas used to play or a similar version and the basic rules and smaller equipment.

The session ends with a cool down. These can vary. My daughters favourite is animals, where they pretend to be them and make the noises or movements. They stretch out without knowing. My daughter now does an mean Meerkat impression. By this I mean it’s brilliant. I think it gets their imaginations going. She loves doing it. 

 Another favourite is pirates. 

Through out the sessions other little games can be played like Fox and Hound, which is when the children chase the instructors and take a bib, and also encouraging their imaginations by pretending to be animals.

The one thing to come across from the all the sessions is fun and they are suited to meet the age of the children. I also like the fact that the class sizes are smaller so the children get a lot more coaching out of it and more chances to try the skills, activities and games.

The range of equipment they have and use in the sessions is brilliant, and the activities and skills planned demonstrates how much thought and time has been put into them.

Using balloons to teach the basics of volleyball. Genius. I have now used this in my secondary school pe lessons, along with beach balls. I have taken some of the drills and adapted them to suit my students as they were good. 

The thing that struck me most was the organisation of the sessions. Once one drill was completed Leapfrog was shouted and all the children had to go and touch the pictures in an area of the hall so  the next activity could be set up, and if needed get a drink.  I thought this was excellent. 

The other was our instructor, Amanda. she is lovely, lively and engages well with the children. She is brilliant and always so welcoming. 

The instructors. Amanda is on the right 

Down to their level 

One thing to come out of these sessions was my daughter showing a flare for cricket. She had never seen a bat, picked one up or swing one but picked it up very quickly. Maybe an England cricketer on our hands!!!

Would I recommend this class? Absolutely. The structure, the equipment used in each session, the instructors and how the sessions are planned all makes the experience worthwhile. I definitely think it is worth the money.

My daughter has got so much out of classes.

If you would like to find out more please visit leapfrogssport.co.uk or visit their Facebook page Leapfrogs Sports.

When my daughter learns a new skill or improves on the ones she can do I have a proud mummy moment and this time I get to spend with her is very precious to me. 

After all it’s about making memories and cherishing every moment. 

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Tiny Soccer Stars Birmingham  

As a PE teacher I am very passionate about sport and fitness. I am always looking for new activities for my daughter to try. I would like her to have a range of experiences and hoping she will have a love of sport and fitness like me. If not I hope she finds something she enjoys. 

Tiny Soccer Stars 

When she was just over two, I was looking for activities I could take her to on my days off work. I liked the sound of this so we gave it a go. There are different sessions and caters for children aged 1-5. 

I was wondering how the sessions would run and how much my daughter would learn, being just over two!

I was throughly impressed with the structure of the sessions, and the  detail that was passed on during them. Where your heart is, what has happened to it after warming up? The skills that are focused  on e.g. balancing with one foot on the ball, stopping the ball with your sole, dribbling using small touches (using both feet), the technique for throw ins. These are just a few examples. 

Obviously they are learning but everyone has to start somewhere. So, some skills might be harder than others or they might loose interest. This is ok and we are reminded that our children will do some or most of the class, whatever activities they join in or don’t it is fine. 

Whilst waiting for everyone to arrive the Tiny Soccer Stars had free time to get a ball and play. With goals at both ends of the hall. 

 Each session is started with a sit and greet in a circle and a recap from the week before, unless it is the first one. Our coach was Coach Kate, the owner. All I can say is she has the patience of a saint and I have a lot of respect for her teaching toddlers and young children. I am a secondary PE teacher by trade. However, this was a whole different ball game! No pun intended. Ha ha. 

The coaches introduce themselves and then each child is introduced (with or without help from their grown up) to the group and is given a wave and hello by all the Stars. What a fabulous way to learn names and meet people?  If  you are new or just to be reminded

The warm ups are great fun, even though my daughter can be very shy and quiet. They vary each week from nursery rhymes like head, shoulders, knees and toes to more active ones. E.g. Bumper cars or 1,2,3,4, 5 sprint. Every week there is a recap of the parts of the feet you can use to play Football with. 

Warming up

The main part of the session is broken down into fundamental skill work,  ball work, where they transfer the skill being learnt to a ball. 

Fundamental skills being learnt 

Transferring the skill to the ball

The session then moves on to looking at throwing and catching skills. This can be done with bean bags or other equipment. 

These session ends with a fun activity. These can include a parachute game as an example. Popcorn was our favourite! You have got to a love a bit of popcorn!

Through out the sessions the coaches come to see how your Soccer Star is getting on, and encourage them to develop their technique. Great I hear you say. It was. Kate was very friendly and even though it took a few sessions my daughter grew out of her shyness. 

The session ends with a lovely celebration of the work all the Soccer Stars did. Sitting in a circle, like at the start, with a clap given to everyone with lots of encouragement and praise. Each Star receives a sticker, stamp on their hand and a stamp in their record book. Once a book has been completed they are rewarded with a medal. A different colour each time.

I was impressed with the amount of equipment used through out each session that we attended. Domes, mini footballs, skittles, dice, parachute, music playing through out, hula hoops. The list is long and fits in to the sessions well. 

One of the most enjoyable aspects, for me, was the interaction I had with my daughter.  The special time to do things together which I cherish. Seeing her learn and develop.  Parents are encouraged to take part in the sessions which I was more than happy to do. 

There are lots of sessions around Solihull and Birmingham. Moseley, Stirchley and Solihull are some examples.

You can pay half termly or termly. Which ever suits you best. A Tiny Soccerstars t shirt can be purchased or a full football kit. It depends on what you prefer and how much you would like to pay for this extra bit. I went for the full kit. My daughters first football kit with her name on the back. It was fab. 

Front view

Back view 

Kate can book you in for trial session and then you can speak to her about continuing and costs if you would like to join the sessions on a regular bases. 

You can Google to find a session near you on www.tinysoccerstars.co.uk/birmingham west-midlands. Or visit Tiny Soccerstars  Birmingham Facebook page.

Would I recommend Tiny Soccer Stars? Very much a yes, my daughter is now just over 3 and still remembers where her heart is and what happens to it if she does sport.She has improved a lot of her fundamental skills, loves dribbling and kicking a football. She even remembers how to stop the ball using the sole of her football. So proud. I actually want to take her to the sessions again if I can. 

 I was so proud of my daughter for achieving her first medal and certificate in a sport. The feeling of pride when she turned to make sure I was watching was one of our proudest moments, that we were able to share as mother and daughter. I will never forget this moment. 

After all it’s about making memories! Especially ones with my family.