Proud to be a member of the
Lincolnshire Gateway Academies Trust

World-Class Freestyle Footballer Treats Pilgrim Academy Pupils To Spectacular Display

World-class Freestyle Footballer Jamie Knight demonstrates his skills at Pilgrim Academy to Year 5 and 6 pupils. With them are Curriculum Leader, for PE, Holly Thompson, left, and Teacher Jordan Gibbon, right.

Pupils at Pilgrim Academy were treated to a spectacular performance from one of the world's best professional Football Freestylers, Jamie Knight.  

Jamie is one of the top 10 Freestyle Footballers in the world and he visited the Academy to deliver a fast-paced workshop to pupils, which highlighted the benefits of fitness for health and mental well-being.

Freestyle Football is a relatively new sport, having only been around for about 15 years. Most freestylers may not even have played football as it is much more like gymnastics, using different parts of the body to control the ball.

Jamie has travelled the world, working with global brands such as Nike and Adidas. He has performed at major sports events, including the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final in front of 80,000 people, with a global audience of more than 200-million. Jamie also works on a regular basis with professional footballers, including Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Roberto Carlos and Rio Ferdinand.

He visits schools across the country to deliver workshops to young people because he believes in the physical and mental health benefits of the sport.

“There are so many benefits from this,” he explained “There is so much concentration involved that you forget how much exercise you are actually doing.

“The most important benefit though is for mental well-being. A lot of people do not take up this sport because it is very hard to master. They take on a trick and wonder why they cannot do it straight away. But I tell them that one trick might have taken me six years to master. 

“You have to go into this with a positive approach and work out exactly what the trick requires. It takes resilience, coordination and concentration and I use freestyle to encourage a positive mindset and a healthy lifestyle.

“I have been doing this for almost 20 years now and there was a period of 10 years where I trained 4-6 hours every day just before the World Championships. A lot of it is down to muscle memory. It is like riding a bike, you have to practise and concentrate.”

Holly Thompson, Curriculum Leader for PE at Pilgrim Academy, said the whole school had been excited to see Jamie performing in front of them.

“Jamie ran the workshops for all Year Groups from Nursery up to Year 6 to provide a new and exciting opportunity for our pupils. We really wanted to give the children an aspirational experience, and a chance for them to watch a world-class performer and learn new skills from him that they could take into their sporting life. 

“All the workshops were adapted to meet the needs of the different Year Groups and abilities and the children really enjoyed the day. We have had some amazing feedback from both staff and pupils about the event and we hope to run more workshops like this in the future.”

Reception pupil Jasper Sinclair performs a trick with professional Freestyle Footballer Jamie Knight at Pilgrim Academy, where he held workshops for all classes to take part in the sport and watch some of his tricks.

Pilgrim Academy Reception pupil Ruby-Leigh Goy performs a trick coached by world-class Freestyle Footballer Jamie Knight.

Reception pupil Jireh Otu performs a trick.

Julia Somerscales, Pilgrim Academy Assistant Principal  and Early Years Lead, learns how to spin the ball.

Lily King, Year 6, performs a trick.