Friday, 18 June 2010

Our Little Kickers NZ trip to the U.K.

I knew the plane trip to the U.K. with twin 20 month old boys would be a nightmare (which sadly it was) so at least it was nice to be sitting outside the next day wearing singlet and shorts in the hot sun watching a squirrel scatter along the fence posts.

My husband is English and our family went over for a relatives wedding and to see the in-laws so this was a perfect opportunity to meet some Little Kickers (‘LK’) staff and see some sessions in action (LK originated in the U.K. and is now the largest provider of football sessions to U.K. pre-school children). I first met up with Julia who is the longest standing Little Kickers franchisee who runs 30 + sessions (that’s more than 500 children a week– could you imagine it)! It was invaluable to meet someone who’s been involved in Little Kickers as a franchisee for so long, Her ‘tricks of the trade’ will definitely be implemented here in New Zealand, starting off with 3 goals instead of 2 for goal time. It was also great to see how she manages to run her very successful business all from home while still managing to enjoy time with her kids. I haven’t quite worked out that ideal work/life balance yet but I’m sure it will happen.

Next stop was LK Head Office out in Blewbury, Oxfordshire. It was worth the trip just to see the lovely countryside of bright yellow rapeseed glowing on the gently rolling hills. Even though I’m one to complain about the horrid English weather I will happily state that we were treated well during our trip (which I’m sure I will be reminded about by my English in-laws for the next month’s worth of Skype calls). I lived in the U.K. for 3 years and one of my bugbears about the U.K. was the grey gloomy dark skies during winter with a two-week gap for scorching hot weather during summer.

Enough about the weather though! The staff at Little Kickers Head Office were so lovely. I left feeling even more enthused about Little Kickers (if that’s possible) and how we can grow and offer even more children a kick-start into the wonderful game of football and sports in general.

What I do miss about the U.K. is the passion of football, even though I’d rather play sports than watch them I would say my favourite game to watch would be a premier league football match in England. Nearly every department store, pub and program on T.V. is concentrated around football. I was delighted to see that the All Whites win against Serbia was mentioned on the BBC TV News and to read about how many excited fans – including children – went to see the All Whites off.

I’m back home now, not quite over my jet lag but I have Saturday sessions to coach so I better be on top form by then.

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