On Thursday 20th June 15 schools from across Leicester came together for the end festival for the Playing 4 Health Programme at University of Leicester Sports Ground. For the second consecutive year, the major Sports Clubs within Leicestershire (with the addition of the Leicester Hockey Club) teamed up to deliver a fun physical activity programme which aims to increase activity levels as well as reducing health inequalities within Leicester. The five leading clubs involved in the programme were Leicester City Football Club, Leicester Tigers, Leicester Riders, Leicester Hockey Club and Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket.
Playing 4 Health is based on the Olympic and Paralympic inspired ‘Flames’ programme, designed in partnership between the British Heart Foundation and Loughborough College. The project consisted of a set of fun and active curriculum time coaching sessions delivered by professional coaches from the 5 main sporting clubs. This project again was free of charge for the schools to participate in thanks to the support of NHS Leicester City.
The format of the day saw 172 children take part in a circuit of activities, with the youngsters given the opportunity to try all 5 sports out during the afternoon. Alongside the professional coaches the children were supported by 49 Young Leaders from 5 secondary schools who assisted with running the stations and offering encouragement throughout.
The two cricket stations gave the youngsters an opportunity to practice their batting technique by hitting balls off a batting tee into the nets and to also test out their fielding and throwing accuracy. They had to do a small shuttle run then run back and pick up a ball and turn and throw it at a set of stumps from 3 distances, each one further away from the target. Some of the batters were not only trying to hit the ball into the net but through it. There was also some excellent throws and a few of them could challenge Usain Bolt in the future with their running speed.
In addition to the coaches and young leaders the youngster were also assisted by Leicestershire County Cricket Club mascot, Charlie Fox and Leicester Tigers mascot Welford. Both mascots made their way around the stations and took part in some of the drills. Charlie was in excellent form with the bat!
Leicestershire County Cricket Club and England Under 19 player Shiv Thakor was also in attendance at the event and the festival culminated in a brief Question and Answering session where Shiv spoke about the importance of being healthy and leading an active lifestyle. He also spoke about his own experiences as a youngster playing sport and encouraged the children to continue to play as much and as many sports as possible.
We would like to extend our thanks to all the schools for taking part and also the secondary schools for bringing their Young Leaders to assist on the day. We would also like to say a special thank you to Shiv for taking time out of his training schedule to support the event.