SAN ANTONIO – A new innovative virtual sports program is helping children stay active and work on their athletic skills by simply using objects found in their own home.
San Antonio Sports recently started “i play! at home” for children in grades K-5 to help them learn and practice skills in four sports: soccer, track, volleyball and basketball along with an Alpha Warrior Jr. workout series through the creation of instructional videos and workouts that can be accessed on its website.
“It is a spin-off of our after-school program, it is for kinders to fifth-grade students in the greater San Antonio area and it’s a 65-video library that teaches five different sport units,” said Sara Tover, San Antonio Sports’ director of youth and community programs.
The nonprofit said they recognized that the ongoing pandemic increased the equity gap in youth sports participation as well as limited face-to-face interaction, creating a need for quality virtual sports instruction.
“We saw the amount of screen time that kids were getting just from the pandemic last year. We are really encouraging kind of the best of both worlds. So we provide content to everybody that we can and encourage healthy habits,” Tover said.
The first 1,000 elementary school students who complete and log their workouts for all five units will receive an i play! uniform (t-shirt, shorts, socks, shoes and backpack).
San Antonio Sports said the soccer unit is led by former MLS player Michael Lahoud, the track unit by USA Track & Field athlete Kendra Chambers, the basketball unit by former WNBA All-Star Sophia Young-Malcom, the volleyball unit by five-time Olympian Danielle Scott and Alpha Warrior Jr. unit by American Ninja Warriors Kevin Klein and Tawnee Leonardo.
“Like many nonprofits, we’ve had to adjust in these uncertain times. But we are staying true to our mission to transform the community through the power of sport,” said Russ Bookbinder, San Antonio Sports’ president and CEO. “San Antonio Sports will continue to be a hub for community fitness and kids’ programs as we launch i play! at home. It’s important to exercise and this initiative helps bridge the gap for students who are not attending school in-person or are unable to participate in sports after school.”
The videos are already currently being used by PE teachers and schools throughout the area.