Shaun Batt and Kevin Lisbie visited Henry Maynard Primary School in Walthamstow recently to help a class of Year 1 pupils with their football skills.
The six-year-olds were taking part in a 5-a-side tournament at the SCORE Centre the following day so the O’s strikers had a challenge to teach the youngsters how to play in a competition atmosphere.
To begin with, the players got the children to participate in a passing and ball control warm-up activity whereby the children paired up and practiced their passing using different parts of their feet. They then got into three teams and took part in a mini tournament and whilst Kevin tried to teach the pupils the basic ideas of formation and positioning, Shaun took the resting team to the side to carry on with some skills work.
However, once the games got under way, it seemed Lis’s coaching has a long way to go as all the players from one team decided to tackle the opponent with the ball at the same time!
The day brought back memories to Batt. He said: “It was really nice for me because it was bringing back old memories. I used to coach in schools and it was always something I used to enjoy. It’s nice to see the smiles on the children’s faces. It was good fun.”
Lisbie was impressed with how well behaved the children were. “For young kids they took on board what we were saying to them and they seemed to enjoy themselves which is the most important part. That is what it is all about; giving back to the community and helping them in any way we can,” he said.
The afternoon ended with Lisbie and Batt then entering the school assembly filled with 300 five to seven year olds! Undaunted, they held a question and answer session with the children. One pupil asked “Do you win trophies?” to which Batt replied, “Hopefully we will come back in a few months and say yes because we are trying to win the league!”
Henry Maynard School is part of the Leyton Orient Partnership of Associated Schools Scheme (LOPASS) which was designed to help improve the educational attainment and life skills of young people in the community as well as offer player visits, match day occasions, stadium tours and inter-school competitions, utilising the club for an overall experience with the ultimate aim of enticing and encouraging pupils to be Leyton Orient fans of the future.
When the Head of Henry Maynard, Nicola Wilson, was asked how the school’s participation with the LOPASS scheme has benefited Henry Maynard, she said, “We really appreciate the association with Leyton Orient. It’s great to have the players here as the pupils hear all sorts of things about football so to have young men like Shaun and Kevin coming in to talk to them and being real to them, it’s a great thrill. They’ve also helped make tomorrow’s competition seem more important to them.”
If you would like more information on LOPASS, the 50-50 scheme or any other community initiatives, please contact Howard Gould, Community Liaison Officer on 0208 556 5973 or email [email protected]