At HERO, kids come to our program often not knowing any of the other kids. Our experience shows that many kids can be extremely shy and hesitant to participate in our program in the very beginning until they see our fun, imaginative and goofy coaching styles as we help them create new teammates and friendships through our activities.
I wanted to take a minute to share with you a story about two kiddos who joined our program at 3 years of age. Now, these kids were both brand new to the school and hadn't known each other outside of the school. Before one of these children’s mothers registered him for our program, she reached out to us to let us know that her son was extremely shy, has a lot of trouble coming to school each day, but that he absolutely loves sports! I responded and told her, “This sounds fantastic! Our program is directed towards these types of kiddos, and he will fit right in!
Now, the other kiddo was a bit of the opposite; he is outgoing, says what is on his mind, is never shy and jumps right into every activity. He even asks to be a “helper” each class so that he can stand up next to the coaches. Now back to the shy kiddo. He was definitely shy in our first few classes, but we could see he was slowly coming out of his shell. By the third class we noticed the shy kiddo and the outgoing kiddo in the class started to connect and would ask to be next to one another each class.
By the fourth class we received a phone call from the mother - she told us her shy son was crying that morning because he was scared to go to school and really didn't want to go. Knowing what we did about the growing relationship of this shy kiddo and the outgoing kiddo, we made sure to have them start out the program side by side. When the mother picked him up at the end of the day from school she asked her shy son how school went today. He said “GREAT! They liked how I played and they all cheered for me! My best friend stood by my side the whole time to help me through the activities.” She told us it really warmed her heart to hear that class made him feel really good about himself and that it's helping her shy kiddo make friends! She also said they were looking forward to the next 3-weeks of class and thanked us for our program and how we made sure to include everyone. We were thrilled to hear this from the mother and even more so that our program is helping her kiddo jump out of his shell and make friends with his teammates.
As our program continued these kiddos still asked to be next to each other every class and they soon became some of the best cheerleaders in our class. Their parents contacted us at the end of the session and asked us if we could hold their own HERO joint Birthday party for their kiddos and we did. They loved it and so did we.
I think we all know that in playing in team sports you do create lifelong friendships even at an age this young! I can personally say that two of my very best friends till this day were on my first “navy blue soccer team” that I started playing on when I was around these two kiddos ages, and they helped me become a better team player and break out of my shell. They encouraged me along with my coaches. And they still do! Yes, it is true that teammates can become lifelong friends. But perhaps more importantly, the skills learned playing together can translate into the ability to make friends all throughout life. That’s an important part of our philosophy at HERO!
“Inspiring the HERO inside” W/ HERO Kids Sports!