2-4-1 TOP Self Sports

About 2-4-1 TOP Self Sports

2-4-1 TOP Self™ Sports is our comprehensive school-based physical literacy development program and is where Social Emotional Learning (SEL) meets sports!  TOP stands for Thinking On Purpose and has proven to be a “sticky” way for young people to recognize that they can not only identify how they are feeling, but more importantly, take themselves from how they are feeling to how they WANT to feel. It is self regulation taught practically and authentically.

Typically delivered on site before or after school, we use fields, gyms and blacktops as our classroom, and sports as our core curriculum. We intentionally weave in leadership development, nutrition education and the skills of social emotional learning using our TOP Self™ approach.

We utilize the best practices of trauma-informed, solution-focused and cognitive behavioral approaches, as well as research on mindset and grit. Kids participate in “micro lessons and drills” seamlessly infused into our play-based programs. Our research and evidence-based approach shows that kids in particular are more likely to put these practices into play in other areas of their life because of the duration and frequency in which they’re delivered. By introducing them in short stints on a regular basis throughout the day(s), kids are more likely to incorporate them as habits when the need for the skills come into play. For example, by practicing TOP Self at the start and end of a sport/movement activity when the child has a positive mindset, that same child will be more likely to use their TOP Self skills when confronted with a highly emotionalized situation that same day. In the same way we give music lessons (let’s say piano) and expect the child to practice every day the week before the next lesson, the approach to TOP Self provides regular practice opportunities between lessons.


Physical Literacy Pals (PLPS)

One of the elements that makes the 2-4-1 TOP Self™ Sports program truly innovative is our Physical Literacy Pals (PLPs).

School staff and administrators select PLPs and they go through an interview and evaluation process. PLPs are trained in our TOP Self approach and coaching skills. We intentionally incorporate leadership development and job readiness training of PLPs.

Incorporating our model helps school increase attendance, positive behaviors and academic performance while decreasing incidences of bullying and poor self-regulation.


Sample Schedules

When brought to a school, we work with school administrators to decide which age group will be trained as PLPs (see PLP definition above) and which age groups will attend the program.  We also are flexible on days of the week, time of the day (before school, after school or recess) and length of the season (we typically offer 6-10 week sessions by season (Fall, Winter, Spring).

  • Example 1: (K-8 School)
    • Train grades 6-8 as PLPs
      • M/W – Grades 4/5 attend program before school with select PLPs
      • T/R – Grades 2/3 attend program after school with select PLPs
      • T/R – Grades 4/5 attend program after school with select PLPs
      • Fridays are almost always designated as Free Play Fridays in all of our programs (can be offered before and/or after school depending on staffing and is an opportunity for PLPs to be rewarded for thier work throughout the week.
  • Example 2: (K-5 School)
    • Train grades 4/5 as PLPs
      • M/W – Designated group of Grades 1-3  attend program before school with select PLPs
      • T/R – Different group of Grades 1-3  attend program before school with select PLPs
      • Friday – Free Play Friday
  • Example 3: (7-12 School)
    • Train grades 10/11 as PLPs
      • T/R – Grades 6/7 attend program before school with select PLPs
      • Friday – Free Play Friday

As you see, the model lends itself to flexibility in time, space and age.  Because we are using the PLP model, you typcially never need more than two adults to assist with delivery of the program.