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5pm on a Saturday night straight from Carrington, a long days match preparation and prior to driving back to Manchester to the team hotel, Mike Phelan was in his home town of Burnley coaching 6, 7 and 12 year old grassroots players.
His company www.sensiblesoccer.co.uk sponsor two such teams and through a recent partnership agreement with www.thecoachingmanual.com these budding youngsters were given free membership and access to a new the new TopTekkers app.
“It isn’t a recruitment exercise and it isn’t about finding the next Marcus Rashford or Mason Greenwood it’s about young children enjoying football and living a healthy and happy life” said Phelan.
“Its initiatives like this in times of poor grassroots facilities and dwindling participation figures that government might well be advised to support and investigate” stated David Horrocks, a renowned Academic and Co-director at: www.sensiblesoccer.co.uk
The mobile phone and the App is the world the generation Z child lives in and there is growing evidence for gamification and digital interaction to be an ever growing catalyst for sports participation amongst these younger generations. Sports participation in the early years comes with a higher likelihood of lifelong commitment and in turn a lower likelihood of NHS burdens such as obesity, heart disease, adverse mental health to name just a few.
The TopTekkers App provides both guidance and challenges for all levels of player from beginner to elite, it can be personal, it can be group orientated and can form part of any club or schools learning curriculums through the medium of football, the worlds most watched, talked about, played and invested in sport.
“Anything like this that gets young people playing and enjoying sport on their terms can surely only be a positive. The app is easy to use although I have to say the young boys and girls were way ahead of me in navigating the display, but their enthusiasm and the desire to not only go and play but to go and play again and repeat the following day was infectious and highly pleasing to see.” stated Phelan.
"Having been very fortunate to have my 7 year old son and his friend invited to the event I can honestly say both the event and child engagement were fantastic. In my position as Head Teacher at Water Primary I am all too aware of the challenges for primary physical education and the ever dominant world of digital technology. This is something all schools should consider integrating into their curriculum, and enabling schools to use the Sport Premium funding to build skills, knowledge and confidence of their pupils. The app will ensure that physical activity is at the forefront of their PE and school sport offer, improve the quality of existing PE teaching, increase participation levels, improve health and wellbeing of all pupils.” Christopher Willan, Head Teacher, Water Primary School.
“It was an absolute pleasure to host the event and watch Mike working with my son’s team, Todmorden JFC Thundercats. They clearly love the App and I believe that this is the perfect example of just how digital engagement can also have a truly positive influence on our next generation.” Damian Greenwood, D&M Creative Limited, Sleeve Sponsors.