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Ahead of ukactive’s National Fitness Day on 26th September, we spoke to Steve Davies about the power of sport for our latest Humans of Grassroots Sport interview:
Sport and physical activity has always been my passion and once I graduated with a Sport and Leisure Management degree from Canterbury Christ Church University, I was very keen to combine the two for my career.
My big chance came when I saw a job opening at ukactive and it’s been a fantastic and rewarding journey ever since.
ukactive has a mission of simply getting more people, in any way we can, partaking in physical activity. Our philosophy revolves around making physical activity fun and showcasing the benefits of being regularly active.
Everyone knows how popular mainstream sports like football are and they do wonders in introducing people to physical activity for the first time. However, there are plenty of kids who either don’t like playing these or who do not feel confident playing against others who might be more naturally gifted.
It’s imperative we show the benefits of physical activity to open kids’ eyes to other opportunities – away from the mainstream. We want to make sports inclusive by removing barriers to entry.
We’ve seen amazing increases in activity numbers in sports like rounders, free running and even hula-hooping. Sports Day events like bean bag, pancake and the egg and spoon races have also done wonders over the years by introducing children to the fun of sports.
A lot of our work is aimed at the young to change behaviour patterns when they are more impressionable which will set them up for a better life.
I see first-hand the impact of physical activity from my football coaching at FC Jean Te Le, Crawford FC and Youth Work with 2inspire, all based in Southwark, the area I grew up. In particular, I see the positive work sport can have during our sessions.
At FC Jean Te Le and 2inspire, we have groups of kids that may not be the best players technically, but we work incredibly hard to teach core skills as they tend to migrate to midfield and forward positions. Fundamental skills such as communication and self-belief – two huge aids also used away from the football pitch.
Working in and around Southwark is a pleasure given my history there and seeing the evolution within each youth group makes it all worthwhile. Sport and physical activity helps in day-to-day life and gives people a pathway away from some of the troubles they can find themselves confronted with, allowing them to expend their energies in a positive way.
Sport helps develop skills for real life situations. The ability to understand the importance of playing in a team, winning and losing gracefully are priceless.
National Fitness Day launched as a way to showcase the fun of fitness to everyone in the nation, from the oldest to the youngest – highlighting the positive role physical activity can have for our health and our lives more generally.
We’re in the eighth year and this will be my second official National Fitness Day. Momentum continues to grow as gyms, leisure centres, schools, universities and celebrities throw their weight behind the cause, getting millions moving across 20,000 events on the 26th September
To find out more about National Fitness Day and how you can get involved, follow this link https://www.nationalfitnessday.com/
BY - Will Chrimes
19 September 2018