Back in November 2012, Priya and Sandhya, two old school batchmates and mothers to young boys had a chance encounter after two decades as they realised their kids went to the same school and played football together. They both felt that though their sons were crazy about the sport, their coaching programme needed more fine tuning and their skills needed improvement. Not able to find a program that was fun, safe but at the same time challenging and skill-focused, they decided to create their own. Great Goals was born on January 2013. Today they have more than 250 kids, aged 4 to 16 years, enrolled with them and about 12 coaches across football and basketball programmes.
“Our central tenet is that the child has to enjoy himself or herself, while demonstrably getting better at the game. A big component of the programme is fostering team spirit and developing the right attitude towards the game,” says Priya. The programme has a high ratio of coaches to kids. “Coaches are on alert for blame-gamers, bad losers and bragging winners — all of these natural in the age- group we work with. But also a perfect age to foster true sportsmanship spirit. We firmly believe that a good attitude is as important as star skills to ace a game,” she adds. Great Goals runs three sessions in a year, each for a duration of 12 weeks.
Both Priya and Sandhya have stayed in the USA durinng various points of time and are aware about the kind of sports programmes that are designed for children abroad and the impact it has on their lives in the long run. “We understand that the culture and the value system is different in India and our programmes are created keeping that in mind,” says Sandhya. She is a former science teacher who has had ex perience working with children across all age-groups. Priya, on the other hand, is an engineer and urban planner who has extensive experience in slum re-development, public health and urban food security.
“We both believe that sports should be introduced early in the life of school children. It helps in imparting essential life skills. Kids should be taught the sport properly and they need to be comfortable playing it. Our programmes are meant for all that,” finishes Sandhya.
Children involved in soccer and basketball programmes