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Meet Heather Hansen of Playball

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Hansen.

Heather, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am the Owner and Head Coach for Playball Kiddos. I have my Liberal Studies degree from Cal State San Marcos University. I have always had a passion for working with children, and became apart of the Playball team in 2007 while I was working on my teaching credential. When the opportunity came up to become an owner and make Playball apart of my everyday life, I jumped right on it! Playball is such a rewarding and valuable program and I am lucky to be apart of it. I learn just as much from the children each day as they learn from me and the program. I live for the moments when you just see the light bulb click on for the child and they understand the task at hand and comprehend their accomplishment! I appreciate the opportunity to work with your children and help aid in their overall development.

I have been involved in sports ever since my early childhood years, and believe it’s important for children to stay active. The quality of the Playball program is nothing like I have ever seen which is why I feel in love with it and have a strong desire to make a positive impact on your child’s life through the curriculum of this program. I am very passionate about what we are doing for children!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
For the most part yes it has been a smooth road. When you love and feel passionate about what you do, it often does’t feel like work and challenges that come along help me grow personally and professionally.

However in all honesty, one of my first struggles and new concepts I had to deal with as a business owner was when I realized I couldn’t do it all on my own anymore and needed to hire employees. It was a scary thought having someone else working for my company. It was as if I was handing my baby (the company I’ve worked so hard to build) over to a stranger. Over the years I have embraced the process of bringing employees into my company and the value they can add to the business.

Please tell us about Playball.
Playball offers a variety of sport and movement programs for boys and girls. All of the programs are taught in a fun-filled, energetic and positive environment and for the last 30 years, children from all over the world have enjoyed the positive impact that Playball has had on their lives. Playball consists of 6 stages – each offering the relevant age group a program focusing on its specific development level for ages 2-8. We are not just another ball program. We use the medium of sports to improve motor development, increase concentration, build muscle tone, improve hand-eye and foot-eye coordination, improve balance along with countless life skills. At Playball your children will learn persistence, courage, responsibility, teamwork, self-worth, and numerous other attributes. Playball motivates children to participate in sports and sparks an interest in physical activity. The sports coached progressively throughout the Playball class are Soccer, Hockey, Tennis, Baseball/Softball and Basketball/Netball. At Playball we are partners in education. We believe that success leads to confidence and more success!

Every sensory motor skill that is mastered is an important building block in your child’s overall development. All skills are built according to the physical foundation laid in the first years. MOVEMENT IS THE KEY!

Once in the school classroom, findings show that children who have had the opportunity to strengthen their core stability are able to sit up straight in their chairs and concentrate far longer than those who are slumped, as the lungs aren’t getting the same amount of oxygen to the brain.

Gross motor skills are the first movement skills that a child develops. It involves the movement of large muscles of the body and includes balance, hand-eye coordination and motor planning (ability to plan movement). Gross motor skills develop over a relatively short period of time and most of this development occurs during childhood.The development of fine motor skills allows one to be able to complete tasks such as writing, coloring in a picture, buttoning, or tying their shoelaces. At Playball, we believe that sports can play a pivotal roll in developing these skills. Motor skills usually develop together since many activities depend on the coordination of gross and fine motor skills. For example, throwing a baseball, while learning to hold a ball correctly has a direct impact on how kids hold a pencil correctly in amongst other skills that are taught to encourage fine and gross motor skill development.

This is of massive importance as it helps a child understand where he or she is in relation to the world around them. Children who constantly bump into objects or who seem clumsy are lacking spatial awareness, balance, and possibly gross motor coordination. Playball encourages personal and spatial awareness through a plethora of age-specific exercises and skills.

Bilateral integration is the ability to coordinate the use of both sides of the body simultaneously. Midline crossing is the ability to cross the longitudinal axis the body with the eyes or the hands, for example, reaching for an object on the right side of the body using the left hand. Bilateral integration and midline crossing are important developmental aspects, which can influence the successful execution of both fine and gross motor skills. In our Playball classes, we actively encourage midline crossing through various exercise and skills so that when they start midline crossing in the classroom, for example drawing left to write or reading, they will be able to achieve this more readily.

Our action-packed lessons are limited to small numbers to ensure maximum learning and are delivered by experienced, professional background-checked coaches who are well-trained in the program. The lessons have an impressive creative component that ensures your child is never bored and will just love every lesson, week after week. This winning formula has benefited thousands of children who have themselves achieved competency through our specialist coaching, and have gone on to apply the fundamental skills they have learned in a variety of sports at school.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
When I was 5 years old I joined my first soccer team and my dad was the coach! I was the kiddo who would rather pick the flowers and chase the butterflies than pay attention to the game. During one of the games my dad was calling my name; trying to redirect my attention onto the ball near me. I couldn’t hear him, so I walked away from the ball going off the field and right up to him asking him what he was saying. He turned to my mom and said, “If she never wants to play soccer again I’ll be fine with that decision and we won’t force her.” They never did push me, they unconditionally supported my decisions. Which in time gave me the chance to learn and grow a love of sports on my own. To this day I still play in coed soccer leagues.

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Image Credit:
Ashley DuChene , Victoria Pearce

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