In this era of teenage pro athletes, you may be wondering when you should introduce your child to sports. Just as important is how you introduce age appropriate skills regardless of the sport. A new DVD for children by tennis champion Gigi Fernandez could be just what you are looking for to get started in tennis, baseball, basketball, golf and soccer.
“Inspiring a generation to move” is the mission of Baby Goes Pro, a first-of-its-kind DVD series created by a former professional athlete that introduces children to sports using an engaging animated character who “coaches” children on the building blocks of sports. Baby Goes Pro encourages children to lead active lifestyles and begin a lifelong love of sports.
Baby Goes Pro was founded by two mothers, championship tennis player Gigi Fernandez and Valerie Stern, a self-proclaimed “soccer mom”, whose mission it was to create a vehicle to introduce movement through sports, at time when a child’s brain development is at its peak. The fundamentals, from simple movements to the rules, of five non-contact sports -- baseball, tennis, basketball, golf and soccer -- are outlined in a DVD series designed for young children. The first 25-minute DVD, created for children under age 4, is set to original music by award-winning composer Dani Donaldi that will appeal to even the youngest child.
Baby Goes Pro, which was unveiled at the International Toy Fair in New York City in last month, is available online at www.BabyGoesPro.com for $14.95 (free shipping and handling). It will also be available later this year from a variety of mainstream video and DVD outlets. The company is committed to giving 10% of profits to charitable organizations that promote active lifestyles for youth.
A lovable animated character, EMKEI the Monkey (pronounced “M.K.”) plays the role of both host and “coach” throughout the video series. The acronym E.M.K.E.I. represents: Equipment, Movement, Know-How, Externals and Instruction. Developed by a 2009 Annie nominated character creator, EMKEI introduces the basics of sports and the value of movement through an inspiring and clever combination of music and instructive activities. The goal of the series is not to “create” professional athletes, but to introduce children at a young age to sports in order to enhance their motion development and encourage physical fitness.
“As a professional athlete and mom, I am well aware of the benefits participating in sports can bring to the life of a child, both mentally and physically,” said Fernandez. “With childhood obesity on the rise in the US, it is our hope that EMKEI’s lessons will inspire children to make sports and movement a priority, even at an early age.” Baby Goes Pro joins others, including First Lady, Michelle Obama, and the NFL, in their commitment to fight childhood obesity through active living.
Upcoming DVD’s planned for 24 to 48 month-olds will expand upon the movements and offer a general introduction to the rules of each sport. Sport specific DVDs (i.e. Baby Goes Pro – Tennis) will be developed for four-year-olds and older, and will cover fundamentals such as grips, stance, techniques and strategies. These skills will be taught by professional athletes, along with “coach” EMKEI. Additional brand offerings will include toys and books which will expose children to the many lessons and values that athletics teaches children who participate at any level.
Fernandez is a celebrated tennis player who won 17 Grand Slam doubles titles, two Olympic gold medals and reached the World No. 1 ranking in women's doubles. She was the first female Puerto Rican athlete to turn professional and the only Puerto Rican to ever win an Olympic gold medal. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of South Florida and just completed her Masters in Business Administration at Crummer Rollins School of Business in Winter Park, Fla. Early in 2009 she became the proud mother of twins, Madison and Karson (the inspiration behind the name EMKEI), who motivate her daily of the importance of inspiring a generation to move.