Ken Han is the founder of Shooting Stars, a local sports academy that provides sporting activities for children in Brunei. Ken’s programme encourages children to be more active and embrace fitness at an early age. The programme has garnered praise from parents for its effectiveness in getting children to play sports.
In this interview, we asked Ken about the story behind the programme started and what he hopes to achieve through Shooting Stars.
What made you want to start Shooting Stars?
It started with a casual discussion on how to get kids to be more active in sports. A lot of kids nowadays spend too much time on their devices. This takes away the opportunity for them to go out and play.
I spoke to some of my friends and they supported the idea of bringing their kids out on Saturday mornings for sports. It started with a few kids but that number grew and now, it has got me to where I am today. I also didn’t foresee that it would become a full-time business.
To me, being progressive is about giving your best to a cause that you believe in, and doing it in a fun and engaging manner.
Tell us more about the programmes that you run under Shooting Stars.
It all started with Shooting Stars Basketball, and then it grew into rugby and then other sports. I’ve played basketball and rugby for the Brunei National Teams, so these are the two sports that I’m familiar with. We have five sports programmes in total under Shooting Stars, which covers basketball, multi-sport, gymnastics (Leaping Stars), football (Striking Stars) and a baby programme for children from ages one to four called Jumping Stars.
Tell us more about Jumping Stars.
When I introduced Jumping Stars, I realised that younger children below five years old are spending less time being active. Jumping Stars is about the child’s gross motor skills such as jumping, running, climbing and hand-eye coordination. The important part is the avenue for parents and their children learning to play together. When your kids start becoming active at one year old, it becomes easier for them to pick up any sport later on in life.
Our commitment is to deliver a fun, engaging and exciting programme whenever we conduct a session.
Aside from being active, what other things do the kids learn?
Sports has numerous benefits and can teach children about taking initiative, critical thinking and social skills, which are crucial for success in today’s world. (See our article on how Creativate teaches kids creative thinking and social skills.) Through sports activities, we learn the values of teamwork, effort, leadership, respect and learning from both victory and defeat. We also believe that when people come together to play, they create a community bond that can last a lifetime.
Being a good coach takes a lot of passion, patience and love.
You have an interesting model. You offer sports, but you don’t actually have your own one-stop-shop for it. Why did you choose to link up to different places as opposed to having one centralised place?
There was a need for more activities in schools. I started out as a volunteer and the programmes grew from there. In the earlier days of Shooting Stars, we ran a lot of classes at Fitness Zone because there was space available. Now, it has become our main platform for basketball training on Thursdays and Saturday mornings.
We’re quite focused in the classes. Each class is capped at 25 to 30 kids per session because we believe that the training will be more valuable and beneficial to the kids. And there’s a lot of preparation involved for each class.
I’ve always believed that if you put energy into it in the beginning and get people to believe in what you do, you will be rewarded for it.
How do you see Shooting Stars growing in the coming years?
We want to be known for running quality and fun programmes for kids of all ages. We are also expanding and want more Bruneian coaches to help teach our programmes.