How three friends turned quarantine into a passion project & set out to reimagine youth sports.
Growing up most kids dabble in some form of physical activity.
Whether it be soccer, karate, baseball, gymnastics, ballet, swim… For young kids sports are time-fillers and opportunities for socialization, but as they grow, learn and progress they determine the sports they want to try or continue to be a part of. Some kids drop out, others keep going and some turn childhood hobbies into a lifelong career.
2020 forced everyone to stop everything – including sports. Fast-forward to today, and even though many sports have made a comeback, statistics show that kids are having a hard time getting back into their pre-pandemic routine.
Quarantine Screen Time
COVID-19 also resulted in children spending upwards of six hours a day in front of a tablet or computer during remote learning. Passive screen time paired with low physical activity is a recipe for disaster when it comes to children’s physical and mental health.
Reimagining Sports Training
Enter Joe, Paul and Justin – three friends who came together and decided to reimagine youth sports training and create a community and platform for kids to learn about the sports they like in their own time and in their own space.
Let’s see what they have to say about the moment inspiration struck and what’s most exciting about Hiveclass!
Question: Tell me about the day the concept of Hiveclass was born, what was that “AHA!” moment?
Joe: New York at the height of the pandemic forced schools to conduct all classes via zoom. It seemed to work well enough for my friends and family, however, I noticed that Physical Education simply was not happening. We did some research, talked with some friends in this world and were able to easily confirm – there were no good remote offerings for Physical Education.
Paul: I was inspired to look into golf lessons for myself and was very quickly disheartened to learn how much it would cost. I thought – with all the amazing advancements in technology and instant access to information on our mobile devices, there just has to be a better alternative to YouTube when it comes to learning through video instruction.
Justin: My kids are very active and play multiple sports. When the pandemic hit, their training schedule basically grinded to a halt. Watching videos actually served as a great resource, but so much of the content was not engaging enough. I distinctly recall thinking to myself, “My kids need something like a Peloton, but for kids.”
Q: It’s a big undertaking to create something new, especially during a global pandemic – what motivated you to keep going?
PS: The road has been challenging for sure – working remotely, multiple time zones, and multiple team members all working on this as a passion project and a global pandemic to boot! Still, what has served as a constant source of motivation is our conviction that this is something that the world truly needs, AND that the time is ripe for a solution. As friends for decades too, it helps to be able to have that level of support and trust in each other that we are all working towards a common mission that is near and dear to us as parents.
Q: In your eyes, what is the biggest challenge youth sports are facing today?
PS: In one word – access. The youth sports industry has become a big multi-billion-dollar business and it is not surprising that overall participation has been falling for the past 6 years. Determining the factors that contribute to this is complex, ranging from the socio-economic, to the time-constraints for busy parents, to the type of environment that just doesn’t work well with some kids. Whatever the stance is, we believe change is needed and it is going to take a village to change the status quo to one that is more inclusive and accessible.
Q: What excites you the most about Hiveclass?
JT: When I was growing up in the 80’s, sports had not yet become a “big business.” So I had access to different programs and the opportunity to try out new things if I wanted to. Hiveclass will make this possible for kids everywhere – and not just access to sports, but quality instruction and physical education.
PS: Playing sports is so much more than physical activity, it’s a fun way to build confidence and resilience in kids. Hiveclass allows kids to learn new techniques and explore different sports in their own time and at their own pace. Having a fun, safe space to explore new activities can encourage children to learn new things and build their confidence, which is a vital life skill.
JF: Access to youth sports is diminishing, especially with many community-based programs being cut during the pandemic. Hiveclass is working towards democratizing youth sports and making it accessible to kids worldwide.
Q: Did you play sports growing up? What sports do you enjoy watching today?
JT: I played a lot of sports as a kid, wasn’t the best, but I had fun. I’m a huge Kobe and Lakers fan, Magic Johnson started it all. Now I’m a disgruntled Knicks fan…but I still love the Lakers. My son loves watching all sports, so it’s fun to do that together.
PS: As a kid I wanted to be a professional tennis player, and I also played water polo and wrestled. Now I enjoy surfing and rock climbing. Alex Honnold is an incredible rock climber and I enjoy following his career – he’s a great example of the power between the body and mind.
JF: I thought I was going to be a football player growing up, and I also wrestled. Now I like to follow football and baseball – I’m a long-suffering, die-hard Jets fan.
Q: If you could share one piece of wisdom with today’s young athletes as it relates to sport, what would it be?
JT: Both sports and life are about collaboration…. too many people focus solely on competition.
PS: Striving to get better in sports, as it is in anything, is tough work! Start with your WHY and remind yourself of this especially during those times when it feels you are not making progress. A good way to make the most impact is to focus on developing good habits around your training routine.
JF: PLAY as much as you can. The friendships and bonds you will build playing sports will last forever.