HOW FREE PLAY GO WORKS
A NEW YOUTH SPORT MODEL
FPG pays young playersyers (kids of any age from 18-90) to play with kids
Do you love to play? That is a skill with real value, FPG will pay you to set up games and play with kids
1) Get certified--learn the play best practices; 2) Build your games, sign up players; 3) Play; 4) Get paid directly by FreePlayGo!
Looking for a game? Order one in your backyard, or go to the park with your friends, you Our Play Heroes will build a fun game with you, no coaching, no feedback, just play, just fun.
Building play close to home unites communities, it teaches empathy, cooperation in a more natural way, and it builds amazing skills. If we feel that play is important then we must dedicate resources to it. You can help by donating or volunteering.
Q and A with FPG Founder
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR FREEPLAYGO?
Watching kids learn so well in a free play setting I wanted to bring that to all kids. I could see a big need and desire from the 'club" kids who loved playing at JOTP but were so busy with training to attend very often.
We could never scale JOTP because the coaches often did not trust play. The answer was sitting in front of us, but we could not see it: If we train kids to run free play--if they are playing and trying their best, 2 important things happen, 1) they model leadership for younger kids who see their heroes and say to themselves "when I am older, I want to lead games"--this builds the golden goose of sustainability. 2) They underload, instead of trying harder, they are trying easier. They build fluency, smoothness, and communication as they find easier and easier solutions.
When I spoke to their coaches they all felt free play was important but not as important as Training. We started to look at a model that focused on the best practices and was doable, and inviting for young adults.
WHAT ARE THE BEST PRACTICES?
It's about building an environment, a community, and not removing the child from that too soon The secret lies in being close to home to allow a slower more organic building of what we call the language of play.
1) Autonomy. It must be the child's choice. The freedom to enter and leave or quit a game because the are enjoying it or not is an empowering tool for the leaders to make the game equal, interactive and expansive--everyone invited, everyone happy, everyone learning.
2) Friends. Our closest friends can be trusted to accept us and we accept them. Mistakes, successes and the building of game/play fluency is easier, more organic with friends first. So much so that making friends must come before building any skills.
3) competencies. Kids like to get better. The ones who get better enjoy it more and create a sustainable cycle of improvement. Kids in play are generally spending more time, more actions due to small sided nature, differential learning with different balls and surfaces, large goals to create and solve the finishing problem, on and on. The free play kids are using better methods, they are building better skills, most importantly they are enjoying it more, are more motivated than their club counterparts and this lessens the chance of burnout.
CAN ALL KIDS PARTICIPATE IN FPG?
The idea is just that. Kids can play underneath their club system. Kids left out of club play can find excellent and fun games. All kids, everywhere, all the time. By empowering kids who love to play rather than coaches who love to be the best, we get our priorities correct from the start. Step one is letting go of performance and surrendering to the fun. Whether you just like to play, just want to be with your friends, or play in a club, or don't have the resources to travel --all kids have the right to play. And all kids have the right to achieve. FPG allows children, boys and girls of all ages a better playing field.
I ALREADY PLAY IN A CLUB
FPG is perfect for clubs. Here are three great reasons
1) kids in clubs are often the most play deprived, they are so scheduled that they have little time to play. Play focuses on close to home, easy to schedule times (after school, Saturday mornings) that don't conflict with club play.
2) FreePlayGo! is a great way to build your club. By having your players branch out where they live (schools, neighborhood parks) they will draw in more kids interested in their sport, growing the club with new kids.
3) Clubs are expensive, having kids earn money at what they are good at can help offset those fees.
4) Making use of underloading they will become better and more fluent players.
WHERE ARE THE GAMES? WHAT ARE THE SPORTS?
Games can be participated in two ways. Heroes can drum up play, recruit kids from the neighborhood, school, club. Start a regular game and keep it going whether it's once a week, or everyday.
A second way to start a game is to organize the kids yourself, say in your backyard with a few friends, then order up a hero to play with your kids. Kinda like Play babysitting.
Games can be any sport. Heroes can specialize or play a variety of games. As FPG develops more and more heros will specialize in different sports.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS? WHY NOT JUST HAVE HEROES PLAY FOR FREE.
This is a great question. In our modern world we have been steadily driven apart from our community. Neighbors kids go to different schools, kids play on different clubs, on different teams and told who to be friends with. In out effort to create expertise in kids, whether it's soccer or school--kids are separated from the same community of friends needed to grow them to that expertise.
The Youth Industrial Sports complex is very big and strong, but not very good at developing kids. If we want to bring back play, if we think it is important (it is) then we must devote resources to it. By creating a registered community of kids and adults who play for fun, we unionize nationwide, giving voice and power to play.
SO FPG PAYS OLDER CHILDREN TO RUN GAMES?
Yes, but not really run, as in coach, they play. And when they play they do their best, they try to dribble, they score, they screw up, they model behavior. In this way they also get better, way better by harnessing something we call underloading. After all, what do the best players in the world do every day, that you could do but probably do not? They play against those they are better than, they play down, they underload. Underloading makes use of a secret resource: Energy. The best players in the world get to focus on how to make things easier and easier. Less effort means more valuable resources left for more actions. That's why the best players tend to stay the best for a long time, they have discovered a secret sause.
WHAT IS THE BUISNESS MODEL?
Older kids (FreePlay Heroes) are trained in, safe sport and background checked in a FPG certification process. They then are charged with drumming up their own games after school, backyards, neighborhood parks, wherever. The children who wish to play register with FPG, and the Heroes check them in. The parents receive a message that their child has just checked in to FPG. When the game is over FPG pays directly to their mobile phone. Parents are sent a short survey to rate the game and ask to donate. Donations are also raised by the general public and youth sport community that wishes to support a healthier model as well as corporate and other institutional sources that see the value of this model.
HOW CAN SOMEONE PARTICIPATE?
Kids can get certified. If they love to play they can become a hero. Younger kids may get certified as well, they just need an adult sponsor (over 18 ) to support them as well. Parent and corporate leaders can pass the word and take a chance on this model. Coaches in clubs can encourage their kids (along with an adult of younger than 18) to get certified. By sending young leaders out into the community they will from their club. Parents who are looking for some great activity for their kids can order a game in their backyard. Neighboorhoods can join together to build regular games. All sports, al the time.