CHILDREN in Denton have flocked to new fitness sessions that have been set up by a group of coaches after concerns over their health.
John Gould, who is behind the new Haughton Green rugby union club, and Ryan Owen, of Ultimate Kids Sports Coaching, have started putting on classes for five to 16-year-olds after they became worried.
And if the initial reaction is anything to go by, they were much needed as up to 40 kids are taking part in the free activities.
It is all an initiative to help tackle the growing obesity problem, as well as pushing participants, by getting children off their phones and computers and replace it with the enjoyment of being outdoors.
And yes, going back in time is part of the thinking.
“Myself and Ryan started a conversation on a Saturday morning conversation about how this generation of kids is nowhere near the same fitness levels we were at similar ages,” said John.
“I remember when I was younger that I could run and run for hours on end. Nowadays, you’d be lucky to get 10 minutes out of them.
“As we both coach kids teams, me rugby and Ryan football, we have seen this is a factor that can lose them games and can progressively get worse as they get older because of kids generally not playing out the way kids used to any more.
“We decided we wanted to do something to help our teams, this then escalated in conversation as to lets do it for all kids regardless of age or what clubs they are involved in or even if they do no sport or exercise at all.”
What started as a talking point has quickly escalated as sessions are being put on in Haughton Green Park between 7pm and 8pm on a Monday evening until the end of August as a trial.
Also on board are Shaun Peters of Haughton Green RU, Ameer Muavia of Ultimate Kids Sports Coaching and Stef Drakopoulos, who has featured in the Correspondent because of his record-breaking cycling feats.
“Most clubs’ seasons don’t start until September and as a rugby coach, I noticed that many kids just aren’t fit enough,” John added.
“I thought, ‘We need to do some fitness coaching with them.’
“We thought it would be a great idea to try and bring as many kids in from around the area and surrounding areas, firstly to help increase their fitness and condition levels but also to make new friends, get out, have fun and be with other kids different ages to push themselves and help increase their own self-discipline.
“This will not only help them with their chosen sports but will also help them in the future, whether that’s just an increase in confidence or their desire to make themselves better with whatever they choose to do.
“It’s completely community-run but over the last two sessions we have already seen the kids push themselves that bit further and already creating the desire to improve what they have already done.
“We do upper body work, lower body work and strength and conditioning but in an environment that is fun.”
If the early response is a gauge, expect the sessions – operating in the park opposite Tesco on Tatton Road – to carry on.
And the group may consider spreading its gospel.
John added: “We’re looking to maybe start it as a business and target different areas. We’re just seeing how it goes at the moment as a pre-season fitness thing.
“As well as football and rugby, we’ve had a netball team come down and people who do boxing.
“The response has blown me away. There were kids I didn’t think would come back the week after but they’re now asking when the next session is.”