If a child at Little Ladybirds goes on to score the winning goal for their team at Wembley in the years to come, the chances are that in their post-match interview, among the people they will thank for helping them to reach this pinnacle is Coach Shane.
They will, of course, be referring to Shane Readman, the football coach who comes into the nursery each week to support the children.
But it’s not just actual football that the children are learning when he’s at the nursery.
He explains: “It’s about so much more than kicking a ball. It’s also about balance, coordination, listening, working as a team, and there’s even a bit of English and maths subtly thrown in there too.”
Coach Shane, predictably, has loved football all his life, going on to play at various good levels, including the Northern League and coaching at a football clinic in the United States.
With a degree in physical education, the 36-year-old also spent time working as a PE teacher in a school in the Midlands and in outreach for Sunderland AFC in the Community.
Then, in 2011 he set up his own coaching business working with nursery and primary schools in the region. These include High Bank/Little Ladybirds.
Shane, who lives in Crook with his two-year-old daughter, works with children in our toddler and pre-school rooms.
He says: “Working with children as young as two is not always easy but the key is ensuring they remain engaged.
“When I first start, I try to be as silly as possible, give them a few basic instructions and let them get on with it, then I can start introducing other things such as the importance of listening.
“It’s massively rewarding and by the time they leave the nursery, they will have a basic understanding of the rules of football and football skills, but just as importantly it will also have improved their overall communication skills.”
Coach Shane is now waiting for the day when he sees one of his former ‘students’ playing professionally.
He adds: “There are definitely some children who have had that extra competitive drive and who I could easily see going on to play academy football for a team like Middlesbrough.
“If any of them then take that giant extra leap and go on to play professionally it would be amazing!”:Little ladybirds, activities, Coach Shane