Primary school children joined Tigers hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and head of strength and conditioning Alex Martin for the launch of the club’s new Healthy Schools Programme.
Read below for a report of the launch event at Tigers' Oval Park training ground from nine-year-old Erin Sandham-Bailey.
During half term, primary school children and their parents were invited to the Leicester Tigers training ground for the launch of the new Healthy Schools Programme
Sponsored by Tigers partners Global Payments, Healthy Schools is a free new objective where club representatives go into primary schools in the area and work with Key Stage 2 pupils for a week focusing on the importance of healthy eating and an active lifestyle.
The aim is to teach at least 4,500 children a year at more than 30 schools, there will also be a competition to create a healthy meal for Manu Tuilagi with the winners getting two match tickets to a home game.
This programme is being led by Tigers health education officer Ashleigh Theobald.
First of all, we visited the Tigers gym where we were introduced to Tatafu Polata-Nau, who plays for Tigers, Alex Martin, who looks after the team, and Ashleigh Theobald, who goes round to schools and tells them about the Healthy Schools Programme.
Alex and Tatafu took us over to the centre of the room and told us to pair up when Alex said “go”. The last pair to do so had to do 10 star jumps on the spot, but Alex cheekily made it 12.
After this, Alex taught us how to do a broad jump (bend your knees, throw your arms back and jump forward then land with flat feet) and let us have a practise.
After our practise, we had a competition to see who could jump the furthest. Later on Alex and Tatafu told us about protein, carbohydrates and fat and explained the fact different positions have to eat more of different things.
A couple of children already knew some facts which was impressive.
Soon after, we had a practise at push-ups. Can you guess what we did next? We turned it into a competition! The competition was who could do the most push-ups. Someone managed to do 47 push-ups! Amazing!
Later we had to run the full length of the Tigers gym. We had to see how many lengths we could run in one minute. The highest someone ran was around 11 lengths.
Next, Tatafu and Alex led us over to two whiteboards. One was split into thirds with the words protein, carbohydrates and fat written separately in each third. The other had pictures of food, which we had to stick in the right section. There were a few mistakes but we got there in the end.
After, awards were handed out to people who won the competitions and a prize for someone who put a huge amount of effort in. That someone was six-year-old Noah Sandham-Bailey.
Noah said: “I enjoyed myself and I liked winning a prize.
“I liked the environment I was in because it was nice and sporty.
“I enjoyed meeting Tatafu as he’s a nice man who does many tackles. It helped my future ambitions to be a rugby player.
“My favourite part was spotting Freddie Burns’ name on a plaque in the building where the kits are washed. Freddie is my favourite rugby player.”
We got a tour of the gym and got to feel what it was like to use some of the equipment. We pushed a tank – a heavy platform with wheels – and we also attempted lifting a heavy ball.
Then we got a brief tour of the Tigers training ground. It was cold, wet and windy so the tour got cut short.
We got taken into a room in which the kit is washed of the kits takes place. On the door, there were plaques with players’ names on to go in the Welford Road changing rooms. There were also names of famous former Tigers such as Harry Ellis, Freddie Burns and Marcos Ayerza on the plaques.
Finally, I would like to thank Ashleigh Theobald who organised the event, and everyone who helped and came along.
If you want to know more about the Healthy Schools Programme email [email protected]