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Girls Sport

Earlier this year I was watching the FA Cup and was sat on the sofa with a smile on my face. It was the men’s FA Cup draw but there was a man and a woman performing it. The woman was Alex Scott MBE, former Arsenal and England footballer.

On the surface it looks as though they just had two footballers involved in working out which teams would play each other in the next stage of the Cup as usual, but if you dig a little deeper, there’s much more to it: the BBC had placed a female footballer on prime time TV carrying out the duties that predominantly a man had done before; and they were showing girls and women that it is possible to gain the coverage that male sports’ stars in the UK enjoy.

I am loving the sea change that is happening across the media when it comes to women’s sports and it’s not just because I enjoy reading those stories. It is so much more than newspaper copy.

Girls in sport then and now

Firstly, let’s go back to, say, the 1970s - the UK was still tilted in favour of men although maybe things were starting to change... a little. Imagine being a girl who liked football then.
  • It might have been hard to be accepted into a team – she would likely have been told that football is a ‘boys’ sport’ and to go and play something typically played by girls.
  • She may have been bullied for playing a ‘boys’ sport’, been called a tomboy and the like.
  • And, she probably didn’t have any role models: she couldn’t see anyone older or further on in the game in real life or in the media of the day, who had fought her battles of being accepted into a team and the name calling as well as the challenges of playing sport as a teenager (periods, feeling self-conscious, lacking confidence being just three). She probably thought she was fighting a losing battle and so gave up, channelling her energies into other ‘more gender acceptable’ sports (we hope, although it’s highly likely she might have given up altogether).

    Fast forward to today and things are, thankfully, so different. If we carry on with the football theme, my daughter has just started playing for our local team and she is loving it! It benefits her in so many ways – exercise, a new friendship group, her confidence levels and just trying something new - the club has over sixty girls participating! Likewise, my son is training and playing cricket alongside girls much of the time and local towns have dedicated girls’ cricket teams. How that young girl from the 1970s would have loved it.

    And let’s be clear: it’s not all about girls playing ‘boys’ sports’. Even girls playing ‘girls’ sports’ didn’t used to be able to see their favourite sport on TV or reported in the newspaper. Coverage of women’s sport was pretty thin on the ground regardless.

    Why coverage is important

    Role models - this is why it’s so important for there to be coverage of women’s sports. We can buy our girls all the sports’ equipment in the world but what they really need are role models and when it comes to girls and sport, it’s critical, quite frankly. Girls, regardless of level, need to have others to emulate and who inspire them. They need to see that it is possible to achieve great things, be that at the local, county, national or even international level. And by establishing healthy habits through exercise and sport at a young age, they are on the right track to helping their mental and physical well-being as they grow older too.

    And with that in mind, I was really thrilled to see that The Daily Telegraph has started two campaigns recently. The first is “to transform the profile and visibility of women’s sport and to campaign for change.” They are going to start to publish a dedicated women’s sports’ supplement. This is MASSIVE news! Dina Asher-Smith summed up the importance of role models brilliantly, “I am very much aware that I am here because I am female track and field. I could conceptualise going to the Olympics as a female sprinter at the highest level. I could see it on TV. It should be the same if you are a young girl playing football, cricket, netball or rugby.”

    Their second campaign is called Girls, Inspired which aims “to close the gender sports gap in schools and keep girls active.” As I’m sure you appreciate, this is right up my street and follows other great initiatives such as “This Girl Can” and “Chance to Shine” for girls in cricket.

    Social media

    Social media receives bad press much of the time but it does have its pro’s too and especially so when it comes to women in sport. It has afforded many professional sportswomen the platform to create their own coverage and not only that, but in a really authentic way. They can post videos of themselves ‘behind the scenes’ to show that perhaps they’re not always ‘winning’ at sport, or at life! That training days are hard, that they sometimes resent the diets they have to eat but that overall, it’s to help them achieve their dreams.

    Girls in sport need to be able to see successful women to spur them on to achieve their own dreams. Unlike the FA Cup, coverage of women’s sport shouldn’t be down to the ‘luck of the draw’ and whether the story warrants taking the place of a men’s sports’ story. It’s so important to provide role models and in order for things to change there needs to be deliberate action to affect the status quo. It’s great to see what The Daily Telegraph is doing but now we need other media organisations to follow suit.

    This piece was not sponsored by The Daily Telegraph in any way! I just like what they’re doing. Follow them on Instagram @telegraphwomenssport.

  • 0 Comments | Posted in Features By Katie

    Win a Boot Buddy - CLOSED

    3 Feb 2019 09:27:17

    The Boot Buddy is a simple but great invention to clean muddy boots. Featured on Dragon's Den The Boot Buddy cleans the dirtiest of boots in less than a minute. Simply pick the mud away with the plastic pick. Unlock the water flow and scrub with the robust brush. It's as easy as that.

    Boot Buddy

    Easy to use, it may even encourage young sports people to clean their own boots! Suitable for all types of sports boots as well as running shoes, hiking boots and buggy wheels.

    Thank you to everyone who entered. Congratulations to our winner Chloe Billington.

    1 Comments | Posted in Competitions By katie
    Win a Strider 12

    New to Little Big Sports in 2018 and now one of our most popular sellers is the Quick Hit 8 x 8 Hitting Net.

    A versatile product the Quick Hit 8 x 8 Hitting Net is great for practising golf or cricket shots at home in the garden. Measuring (unsurprisingly!) 8 foot by 8 foot the net gives the budding sportsperson a target to aim for and importantly it absorbs the power of the shot. For a limited period only we are selling the net with a free cricket target

    Congratulations to our winner Sarah Lewis.

    0 Comments | Posted in Competitions By katie
    Win a Strider 12

    Cycling is a brilliant way for the whole family to get active together but teaching children to cycle can be a challenge. Bikes can be heavy and stabilisers are clunky. That was until we discovered the brilliant Strider 12" Sport Balance Bike.

    Suitable for children aged 18 months to 5 years, this award winning balance bike is incredibly light and easy to control. Featuring a padded saddle and a long seat post, the Strider bike grows with your child.

    Not only will the Strider get your child active but the progression to a traditional bike will be seamless as they will have all the transferable skills necessary. We can vouch for this from personal experience.

    Congratulations to our winner Claire Smith.

    0 Comments | Posted in Competitions By Katie

    Second in our series of blog posts, we are focusing on gifts suitable for children aged between 5 and 8 years of age. This is a key time in a child's life to encourage activity and for exercise in what ever form to become the norm. With this in mind we have selected our best christmas gift ideas that are sure to get kids (and parents for that matter) active.

    Reactor Rebounder Net

    This rebound net is brilliant at encouraging physical activity and building sporting confidence in young children. The Reactor Rebounder Net returns a thrown ball at differing angles helping develop the child's catching skills as well as providing hours of fun. Sold with a ball, the Reactor Rebounder net is suitable for indoor as well as outdoor use.

    Rebounder Reactor Net

    Cornilleau Sport One Indoor Table Tennis Table

    Table tennis is a fantastic sport for all the family. Not only does it build hand-eye co-ordination, it improves brain agility and is hugely sociable game. The Cornilleau Sport One Indoor Table Tennis Table is a brilliant, affordable table which is sold complete with net, posts, bats and balls.

    Cornilleau Sport One Indoor Table Tennis Table

    Samba Rugby Post

    Young children love emulating their sporting heroes. If rugby is their passion there is no better way than recreating a match and practicing their kicking in the garden with a Samba Rugby Post. Designed with a clever no holes system this ensures the garden stays in tact . A hugely popular product with kids and parents alike!

    Samba Rugby Post

    Zing Flashing Stump Set

    If cricket is becoming of interest to your child then look no further than the Zing flashing cricket stump set to further inspire them. This set will recreate the excitement of T20 cricket as the stumps light up when the ball dislodges the bails. Great fun.

    Zing Stump Set

    There is plenty more inspiration for gifts perfect for an active child in the gift section of our website which can be navigated by age. Coming very soon is a blog with older kids in mind
    Thanks for reading


    0 Comments | Posted in Features By Katie

    Before my children started school I remember feeling overwhelmed by the plastic avalanche of toys in our lounge. No matter how diligent I was by the end of the day (well actually 8am) the toys had seemingly multiplied taking up all the floor space. Not only was it a minefield to walk across but the reality was the kids didn't play with them properly, they flitted from one to another. The plastic situation was further amplified every birthday and Christmas. Presents given with love but maybe not appreciated by the kids as much as they should have been. So in a bid to steer away from just plastic we started suggesting non toy items; experiences, subscriptions or gifts that encouraged children to be active. (Can you see where I'm going with this?!).

    Now the countdown to Christmas is well underway we thought we would help you with some gift inspiration for active kids. First up we have selected a few of our best Christmas gift ideas for children under the age 5:

    Strider 12" Sport Balance Bike

    Strider Balance Bike Kids Red

    Balance bikes are a fantastic way of encouraging children to be active whilst learning the basics of riding a bike. We think Strider balance bikes are the best on the market and many happy kids agree. Featuring a padded seat and two seat posts, the Strider grows with your child making it suitable from the age of 1 up to 5 years old. The Strider Sport is available in 7 brilliant colours.

    US Kids Golf First Putter

    Us Kids Golf My First Putter

    Presented in a gift box there is no better present for a golf enthusiast to buy for a young child than this First Putter. Made out of steel, the putter is1 8 inches long making it a perfect club to introduce children aged 3 and younger to the game of golf.

    My First Football Boot

    My First Football Boots Kids

    For many children the love of football starts young. Running around and kicking a football is what they want to do all day long whatever the weather. If you know a child like this then their perfect Christmas present may well be a pair of M1B football boots which are available in tiny sizes. Not only do they look the part they will help with the child's football development.

    Super Tramp Spring Time Trampoline

    Super Tramp Trampoline for Kids

    A trampoline isn't just for summer. They are a brilliant addition to the garden all year round. Super Tramp trampolines are renowned for their quality and bounce. For younger children the Spring Time is an ideal present as not only will it guarantee hours of active fun it has additional safety features that protect small hands and feet.

    Hopefully that has given you some inspiration but if not then check out the gift section of our website which can be navigated by age for more gift ideas for kids. If you have an older child watch this space. Next week we will be featuring Christmas present ideas that encourage kids aged between 5 and 8 to be active
    Happy shopping!


    0 Comments | Posted in Features By Katie
    Win a Rebounder Net

    Physical activity and building sporting skills are an important part of every child's development. With the nights drawing in and the lure of screens this has never been more vital. One of our newest products, the Reactor Rebounder net is ideal for young children to build confidence in their throwing and catching skills. Using Crazy Catch technology, the Reactor rebound net returns to the ball at different angles to hone their reflexes and provide hours of fun. The Reactor Rebound has an adjustable arm which when altered varies the height and trajectory of the rebound. It is suitable for children between the age of 3 and 8 but can be enjoyed by all the family.

    A huge congratulations to our winner, Helen Connolly.

    1 Comments | Posted in Competitions By Katie

    Cricket Bowling Machines

    12 Oct 2017 11:46:38

    This month, the cricket bowling machine manufacturer Bola have delivered their 10,000th machine since they came on the scene in the 1980's. A staggering number but when you are immersed in the world of cricket as I am it is not unsurprising. Every club or net session my son attends there is a Bola machine reliably delivering balls. If you are unaware of the Bola Professional Bowling Machine then check out this video featuring, James Taylor, the ex England cricketer. It really is a brilliant piece of equipment suitable for junior or adult cricketers

    For many (if not most!) parents and cricket clubs the Bola Professional Bowling Machine is not an affordable option. In 2016 Bola launched the Bola Junior Bowling Machine.The Junior has proved to be a huge success with cricket mad kids in the garden or cricket club allowing them to hit more balls and enjoy playing cricket. The battery lasts for 7 hours so it will keep them entertained for most of the day!! My son never gets bored of playing cricket. I kept expecting his enthusiasm to diminish but he loves the game more and more.

    Although Bola are the established brand there is a new kid on the block (so to speak) Dimension Sport. Dimension manufacture the Paceman range of bowling machines as well as cricket nets which are much more affordable for home use but are still excellent quality products with great performance. The Paceman Pro X2 bowling machine is the top of the range model. With speeds of up to 100 kmph and the ability to inswing, outswing as well as deliver off and leg spin it is a popular choice for cricket clubs and older junior cricketers playing at a good level.

    Our biggest seller by far is the Paceman S2 Original bowling machine. With a price point of just £244.99 including balls it is an affordable option which delivers excellent batting practice with speeds up to 65 kmph and the ability to produce outswinger and inswinger deliveries. Many of our customers are junior cricketers who have patiently saved up to buy the bowling machine themselves. I can personally highly recommend this bowling machine as my son's cricket development has in part been down to facing many balls from the Paceman in the garden!

    0 Comments | Posted in News By Katie
    Win a Combo goal

    There is no escaping football at this time of year. I am exposed to football chat on the radio, TV, the newspapers and my son's endless chatter! At least four times a week I am taking him to training, school matches and club matches as I suspect many of you are with your children. With this in mind, I thought it about time we ran another football related competition.

    We are giving away a Kickster Combo Goal and Rebounder. Easy to assemble, it is an ideal goal for a football match but quick to adapt into the rebounder for training practice or when the child is on their own in the garden. The Combo goal packs down quickly and easily into a bag making it very portable.

    Huge congratulation to our winner, Zoe Spinner

    0 Comments | Posted in Competitions By Katie

    Here at Little Big Sports we are immersed in cricket. My son is playing very regularly sometimes as much as 4 times a week. England are hosting South Africa in a test series and the English Women have brilliantly won the Women's Cricket World Cup. Not to mention the huge number of cricket bats, bowling machines, and cricket nets that are flying out of our warehouse.

    With this in mind I thought it only appropriate to run a cricket related competition. The prize is one of our newest products, the Zing Cricket Stump Set with Flashing Bails. The Zing set is a popular product with younger cricketers as it allows them to replicate their T20 hero's.The innovative technology results in the bails lighting up when they are dislodged by the bowler.

    Congratulations to our winner, Jenny Clancey.

    0 Comments | Posted in Competitions By Katie