Biddy Sports has since become a popular option for children to participate in sports activities, serving more than 7,000 kids, including Brentwood residents since 1998.
The programs allow 3-to-6-year-olds to learn the fundamentals of team sports at their own pace while playing basketball, T-ball, outdoor and indoor soccer or flag tag (football) in a stress-free environment.
“It’s an all-inclusive, very safe and fun way for children to get into organized sports while learning life skills they’ll need later in life,” Mason said. “For example, taking turns and sportsmanship.”
Basketball, T-ball, outdoor and indoor soccer and flag tag programs are offered in Brentwood; basketball is offered in Oakley. Mason hopes to start a T-ball program in Bay Point and expand the options in Oakley.
The soccer and T-ball programs are designed for 3-to-5 year-olds while basketball and flag tag programs are tailored to 4-to-6-year-olds.
Ruben Estrada, whose child has participated in Biddy basketball, feels the program provides a nice introduction to team sports. “(Mason) runs a good program for little people,” Estrada said. “It’s really group-oriented, and they learn the first mechanics of playing in a sport.”
Children also learn unconditional participation, which means they can stand on the sidelines and watch until they feel comfortable taking part in the sport. All players are treated equally and all receive positive reinforcement. “The kids are exposed to sports without it being a real technical, skill-heavy program,” Mason said. “We want them to run around and have fun.”
Following a consideration of parents’ requests, players are assigned to teams at random, which Mason believes fosters social development.
Teams in the Brentwood programs meet for eight weeks; teams in Oakley for six. Meetings consist of a warm-up, practice and short game guided by trained referees and coaches following lesson plans and drills. Parents are required to stay for the duration of the activities and encouraged to volunteer to referee or coach.
According to Josh La Rue, who has enjoyed coaching his son on various teams, his son gained valuable life skills in the programs. “It helps the kids build social skills because they’re with the other kids,” La Rue said. “The first time in the program, my son just participated, but I really enjoyed the program, so I’ve been coaching for about two years now.”
Between 2003 and 2007, each league averaged around 240 players, a number that has declined to a current 40. “The economy has been tough on everyone,” said Mason. “But hopefully people will continue to spend money on their preschoolers. My ultimate goal would be to have preschoolers across the country running around and playing sports in a safe environment.”
A scholarship program for families in need of financial assistance is available for Brentwood residents.
For more information about Biddy Sports, visit www.biddysports.com.