i9 Sports Aims to Show Every Kid There is a Sport for Them
Youth sports are an important way to keep kids active and to introduce a lifelong habit of fitness. To help kids and parents start on this journey, i9 Sports® rolled out a new Multi-Sport Discovery Program. The program sets i9 Sports apart by helping the youngest kids fall in love with organized play while getting a taste of a variety of team sports that they might want to play more in the future.
Developed by Alli Wentzell, Manager of Sports Programming and Education in collaboration with some i9 Sports franchise owners, the program gives Pee Wee players (ages 3 to 6) an opportunity to play three popular sports — soccer, baseball, and flag football — in one program. The entire program runs for seven weeks and helps kids find the sport(s) they like most.
Alli came to i9 Sports from Reebok International Ltd., where she worked at the global headquarters near Boston. She says, “Sports had a big impact in my life, and I wanted to ensure youth across the country were able to experience that impact.” We asked Alli to answer a few questions about the new program.
Why is this program for younger kids who normally aren’t served by other youth sports organizations?
I think it’s the perfect way to introduce kids to sports. They don’t know what they like yet, coupled with the fact that at this age, their attention spans are very short – leading them to become bored easily – makes this program a great option. With this program, if a child doesn’t like one sport or it doesn’t grab their attention, they get to try another in a week or two.
Each sport emphasizes a different movement or muscle group. Kids this young are still learning how their bodies move. This program helps build body awareness and physical literacy.
How does this program help franchisees grow their businesses in the long term?
This Multi-Sport Discovery Program attracts more people to i9 Sports and drives registrations. It introduces parents to i9 Sports and the idea of a full league. The program is still new, but parents are excited about it. Eventually, it could be an idea that i9 introduces to educators for their after-school activity programs.
Helping Kids and Their Families
How did you get the idea for the program?
On the personal side, my husband and I have a 5-year-old son, Liam. We wanted to get him into sports, so we got him involved with sports we were more familiar and comfortable with to see what would stick. On the business side, i9 Sports has always focused on multi-sport play, but we didn’t have a league program to guide parents in picking a sport for their kids. We think that it’s important to prevent specialization in kids this age. After consulting with i9 Sports franchise owners who offer similar programming at the local level and coupling that with parent feedback when evaluating a sports experience, this program was a no-brainer.
Why does multisport sampling matter so much for kids in this age group?
At all ages, multi-sport play is important. It helps prevent burn-out and overuse injuries and can create more well-rounded athletes. Specifically at an early age, it’s important that kids try a handful of sports and activities so they can help guide their parents through selecting the right activities for them. That’s where the Multi-Sports Discovery Program comes in – it’s a single program that exposes the Pee Wee age group to three of today’s most popular sports.
The multisport program allows kids to have the journey and pick the sport they like. The foundation of i9 Sports is family involvement and putting the “fun” back into youth sports.