Sportball, teaching kids skills to strive in life and sports!
What is Sportball?
Sportball is an all-inclusive camp, founded by Mica and Alyssa Villalon, that strives to teach children the fundamentals of various sports in order to give them a good starting block to explore sports more rigorously. What makes Sportball unique is its methodology. Sportball is not like any other “sports camp” because Sportball takes the rules and processes found in most other sports and completely flips them upside down. Sportball masterfully integrates sports fundamentals, imagination and teamwork. Have you heard of any other sports camp that captures the imagination of your 5 year old by teaching him or her to dribble a soccer ball by making your child pretend that the soccer ball is a giant dinosaur egg that must be safely transported to the other side of the field? To the Sportball coaches, the score at the end of the game does not matter as much as the process that participants go through during the game or scrimmage. In a Sportball scrimmage, points are awarded to children who pass the ball well, show outstanding gamesmanship, and are representative of a team player!
Social and Emotional Development
Sportball doesn’t only help your child with sports wellness, but also social and emotional development. Because of their all-inclusive, non-competitive environment, Sportball fosters positive growth in children. Studies show that 70% of kids quit sports by the time they are 13 years old. A big reason for the massive exodus from sports is that kids don’t like the intense competition that takes place in sports as they get older. To keep kids in sports, it’s important to teach them how to have fun playing without getting caught up in the winning/losing aspect of sports. At a young age (3-8 years old), it’s especially important to expose children to outdoor play in a non-aggressive manner. Therefore, the non-competitive environment is crucial in letting a child have fun without the constant stress of outperforming the other team. In the same light, losing a game can be incredibly distressing to a child and lead to feelings of sadness, resignation, and hatred towards the opponent. With Sportball, social development occurs by promoting friendship and a team-first mentality. These lessons help a child by allowing him or her to have an idea on how to behave on a court or pitch. Central to Sportball’s philosophy is to teach every child at camp how to be a good sport. Emphasizing teamwork and sportsmanship builds confidence and fosters emotional development in children. Whether you win or lose, a handshake is always polite, and a “good game” is always recited. Although it may seem small, teaching children to say “good game” sets the precedent for how to act in similar future interactions, whether it’s on the field or not.
The way Sportball approaches sports and teamwork is matched by no other camp. Sportball puts emphasis on teamwork and communication at the same time skills are being developed. Through sports, Sportball believes that children have the chance to learn how to communicate with their teammates appropriately and also experience the importance of respect and support to your team.
Stress Relief for the Future
Many children, although young, face a lot of mental stress. Stress arises from many things that parents may dismiss as negligible, such as when kids overhear parents complaining about work or discussing finances. If kids don’t learn how to deal with stress at a young age, the effects can be much worse when stress intensifies as kids get older. Fortunately, Sportball’s physical wellness helps cope with mental stress, which leads to many more benefits. Physical activity leads to drastic reduction in sources of depression and anxiety and helps in increasing self-esteem and reducing the effects of ADHD. An added benefit of sending your child specifically to Sportball is it is an opportunity for your child to make friends, which is another way to reduce stress levels.
Sportball has done amazing work with RISE, an Austin-based school for special needs kids. At RISE!, there was a student who had trouble walking. He required special equipment and braces to aid him in movement. Sportball reached out to this boy and wanted him to attend their camp! The boy regularly met up with his Sportball coaches and friends to build his confidence and physical abilities. After two years of training with Sportball and also attending his regular occupational therapy appointments it was a magical day when this young boy was able to walk across the field without the aid of braces or crutches.
Autism and Sportball
Jonathan joined Sportball at the young age of 2. He was diagnosed with autism around that time. Most kids with special needs have a difficult time joining regular sports leagues. Traditional sports leagues can be competitive with a few kids getting the majority of playing time. Jonathan loved Sportball so much because it was a comfortable environment where he could learn soccer fundamentals and build confidence without the pressure of a traditional soccer league. However, Jonathan also had the desire to join a competitive soccer league one day where he could compete at the same level as kids without special needs. Jonathan participated in Sportball for over three years and by the time he was six years old, he was thrilled to be able to join a competitive soccer league. Being a part of Sportball for over three years allowed Jonathan to gain the skills to advance to the next level where he was fortunate enough to explore the sport of soccer at a deeper level. Jonathan’s love for Sportball was evident when he returned many years later as a coach. At the age of thirteen Jonathon first joined as a junior coach during spring-break camp and eventually went on to become a lead coach so that he could continue to give back to the organization that did so much for him. Sportball and Jonathan are incredibly appreciative of each other. Jonathan is a shining example of Sportball’s goal: giving youth skills to succeed in life and sports!
Sportball is Outdoors!
Even though there are numerous benefits of Sportball, many parents are still concerned with a camp that has kids outside in the Texas heat during the entire program. To help bust many of the myths of being outdoors, we’ve gathered some info for parents.
Effects of an outdoor camp?
There are many misconceptions held by parents when it comes to sending their kids outdoors. The most common misconception is that children should not go outside because the sun’s harsh UV rays could cause serious skin conditions. Although this may be true in instances where your child is outside for the full day, it is not the case with Sportball. The Sportball team knows of the harmful effects of extended activity under direct sunlight and takes every precaution possible. They follow the guidelines set by KidsHealth.org on proper children’s outdoor play: applying sunscreen, taking numerous water breaks, and going under the shade. On top of this, to prevent overheating of the body, Sportball has employed misters to cool children down between and during activities. These misters are wide-reaching and are another form of cooling down children. With all this comes safe play for your child and also provides them with the essential vitamins they need. Overall, Sportball is incredibly precautious and takes superb care of the safety and well-being for any child participating in their summer camps or after-school programs.
Typical day at Sportball?
A child spending a day at Sportball gets the opportunity to have fun and practice sports activities for 2-3 hours. Starting with warmups and stretches, Sportball coaches help your child get into the habit of loosening up before any athletic activity, crucial for the wellbeing of muscles and bones. Next, the coaches and kids perform sports drills ranging from soccer to hockey and forming fundamental sports skills. As they move onto scrimmages, students will get the chance to put their skills on display and also learn in a slightly different environment. Throughout the entire day of camp, there will always be breaks and water will be given out regularly!
Schedule for 3-hour camps:
8:55-9:10 - Sign In
9:15-10:10 - 1st Sport Block
10:15-10:30 - Bathroom and Snack Time
10:30-10:55 - Downtime or Playground
11:00-11:55 - 2nd Sport Block
11:55 - 12pm -
Schedule for 4-hour camps:
8:55-9:10 - Sign In
9:15-10:10 - 1st Sport Block
10:15-10:30 - Bathroom and snack
10:35-11:00 - Downtime/playground
11:00-11:45 - Second Sport Block
11:50-12:15 - Bathroom and Lunchtime
12:20-12:55 - Scrimmage or more skills of 1st & 2nd sport block
12:55-1:00 - Circle Time/Sign out
Sportball Camps and Locations.
If you want to sign up your child for Sportball, there are many different camps in Austin for which you can do so. There are around 32 programs specific to Austin with the earliest one being at Magellan International School-Anderson Lane Campus running from July 16 - July 20 . Furthermore, there are many different locations which makes it easier for you, the parent, to find a location close to your job or daily activities. Also, all of their facilities and locations of play are fun and made for kids. For example, there are camps at places such as Dick Nichol’s Park, which has a playscape designed for kids to have open spaces and play outside. With ample shade in all of these locations, it’s a great place to drop off your kid during the summer!
If you can’t make it at the times there are camps available or the locations do not suit you, there is a solution! In order to fit your schedule, Sportball has “Backyard Camps”, a service in which professional Sportball Coaches can meet up with your children and treat them with the same, great Sportball experience! Camps are available mornings (2 or 3-hour sessions) or afternoons (2-hour sessions) and can be booked as a one-week camp or as a one session per week camp over the course of the summer.
There is also a “Ultimate Skills Clinic”. In this camp, your kid, if he or she has experience in a certain sport or has heightened athletic ability, can learn the game at a deeper level than the normal camps, which focuses on fundamentals.