PROGRAM AIMS TO GIVE TODAY’S YOUTH AN “ EDGE” BY BUILDING CONFIDENCE FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Parents often search for ways to support their children through life’s challenges by hiring a variety of professionals, including therapists, sports trainers and even life coaches. Elite Method, created by Rachel and Michael Dube, is an innovative new program that combines all of those fields/ services into one. It’s a revolutionary new way to help raise children’s confidence, social skills and physical fitness, and give kids an early “success plan” they can apply to every aspect of their lives, from the playground to the field, classroom, social life and family.
“We have every type of child in this program,” says Rachel, who started Elite Method with her husband Michael. “After all, who doesn’t need a confidence boost and an edge in today’s age? Our clients range from kids who are literally afraid to catch a ball to those who are super athletes on school teams. Both types of children can often lack confidence and have social skills challenges. Whether the concern is impulse control, shyness, hyper-competitiveness, lack of focus or weak sports skills, we identify the specific challenges and work on addressing them. We work with clients between the ages of 4 and 16.”
Serving families throughout the New York/ New Jersey area, the program currently staffs 16 coaches. “Our coaches are truly the heart and soul of our business,” says Michael. “They have a variety of backgrounds and experiences including PhD’s and grad students, physical education instructors, mental health workers, personal trainers and teachers. They all have years of experience working and relating with children of various ages and skill levels, and they all have an advanced level of athleticism and knowledge on how to teach children sports and fitness properly.”
Elite Method was conceived as a “concierge style” premium service that offers busy families’ convenience and flexibility. Parents purchase sessions in packages of 10 and can communicate directly with the coach to schedule sessions, which can be done in variety of locations, whether the child’s home, school, park or gym. “Our goal is to make this a seamless addition to a family’s hectic schedule,” says Rachel. “We want to ease the burden on parents who often have to chauffer and wait around on their kids while they take classes and go to activities.”
Elite Method customizes a unique curriculum for every child and matches them with the perfect coach who designs specific games, activities and drills that will build on their strengths and address their areas of need. During the 75-minute session, children may do a variety of things including sports fundamentals, strengthening and endurance drills, mindfulness/ meditation exercises, listening and focus games and social skills development.
“There is also a tremendous amount of work being done behind the scenes by our staff and coaches,” Rachel says, proudly. “We do lesson plan and curriculum development, progress tracking, data analysis and report writing. Communication is a key element of our program. These reports are an invaluable tool for parents to get a true understanding of their child’s development and progress. Many parents choose to share these reports with other professionals working with their child including doctors, therapists or teachers. Collaborating with the client’s entire support team is important so we can all work together towards achieving our client’s success.”
Elite Method is well aware of the timeliness and necessity of such a program. Dr. Marla Baum, a respected child neuropsychologist and member of the Elite Method Advisory Board, shared, “The world has changed so much in the past few decades and kids are facing more challenges now than ever particularly due to the popularity of social media and technology. Its effects are far reaching and pervasive. Children today play less outside and experience less face-to-face socialization. This has contributed to the growing obesity epidemic as well as an uptick in social anxieties and depression. Bullying has also become a serious issue and many kids are not being taught the tools and strategies needed to overcome this onslaught of challenges. I am thankful this program exists so we can offer support and solutions while the children are still young. Successful intervention can literally change the trajectory of a child’s life.”
“Our success can be attributed to two factors,” explained Rachel. “First is the extraordinary amount of work that went into the development of the methodologies we use in this program. We spent 18 months collaborating with the best specialists and experts in child development. We incorporated best practices from fields such as child psychology, occupational therapy and physical therapy.”
“Second, is the phenomenal work our coaches do in truly getting to know every child and what drives them,” Rachel continued. “They observe and listen attentively. They don’t judge and they are solely focused on giving every child whatever support it is that they need to feel more confident and content with who they are. They are mentors, cheerleaders and advocates. Watching these relationships blossom has been very moving and hearing from parents how their child has made great strides is incredibly rewarding. The testimonials from parents inspire us to work even harder and continue to innovate and support as many kids as we can!”
There are numerous scientific and behavioral studies that show sports and physical fitness are connected to self-esteem and confidence in children. The science is clear: this method works.
“Participation in sports has also been associated with a variety of social and emotional competencies and related skills that we know from extensive research are essential to success and well-being in school, work, and relationships,” found a joint research project by the Aspen Institute, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Easel Lab. “… children with strong social and emotional skills are more likely to have positive work and family relationships, enter and graduate college, succeed in their careers, and have better mental and physical health outcomes.”
The study also found that “Physical activity also provides youth with opportunities to build self-efficacy and perceived competence, which in turn are associated with initiating and sustaining physical activity. Participation in physical activity provides opportunities for participants to learn and use important social, emotional, and cognitive skills that ultimately improve performance and well-being in sports, school and life.”
It’s that science, and years of in-the-field experience they developed from their previous sports programming business, Dubezone, that inspired the couple to create Elite Method.
“In that time, working with thousands of children we learned a tremendous amount about what makes some kids successful and leaves others struggling. It became clear that helping a child develop fitness and sports skills was quite important, but it didn’t address the core issue of boosting a child’s confidence and helping them navigate an often-confusing world. Confidence is what gives kids the ability to feel good in their own skin and to want to make their mark on this world. We were determined to create a program that combined both fundamental sports skills training with a social/emotional component that would allow children to develop their social skills and confidence. Children need to feel good on the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside,’” says Michael.
The couple plans to introduce Elite Method to other markets, including Miami, LA, Chicago and Dallas in the coming years. “After all, there are kids everywhere who will greatly benefit from our program. In fact, we’ve even had adults asking to join. But we love kids too much; so, we are sticking with our plan!” laughs Rachel.