Club season kick-off: Try out sports for free this weekend in Prague

The Wannado Festival is the largest recruitment event in the Czech Republic, aimed at getting children to sign up for sports clubs. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 02.09.2021 11:04:00 (updated on 07.12.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Prague’s Wannado Festival is an annual celebration of sport for adults and kids alike. It is the largest sports recruitment event in the country, giving attendees the opportunity to try out new activities and sign up for a huge variety of sports and leisure clubs.

The City of Prague recently approved a one-off subsidy of CZK 200,000 to support the festival as it aims to reach a wide audience following a decline in sporting activity during the pandemic.

The inaugural Wannado Festival took place in 2011 and has since helped almost 11,000 children and young people join sports clubs. Each year, an average of 140 sports clubs are present, although this year’s festival is expected to be slightly smaller due to Covid.

Kids have the chance to try out a variety of sporting activities at Wannado Festival / photo via
Kids have the chance to try out a variety of sporting activities at Wannado Festival / photo via

Around 5,000 people are expected to attend the event at Prague’s Branická Louka, starting at 10:00 on September 4 and featuring appearances from sports legends Jaromír Jágr, Radek Štěpánek, and Jan Železný. People can sign up for sports clubs directly at the festival, or they can arrange initial trial sessions.

“This event allows families and the general public to try out a maximum of sports in one place in a single day. The festival will this year feature many interesting projects supporting exercise and a healthy lifestyle, as well as opportunities to learn from sports doctors, physiotherapists, and psychologists,” said Vít Šimral, the Prague City councilor for sports.

Kids have the chance to try a wide variety of sports at the Wannado Festival, including biathlon.
Kids have the chance to try a wide variety of sports at the Wannado Festival, including biathlon.

The festival will be a welcome chance for people to engage in new sporting activities following a downturn in exercise caused by the pandemic. A recent study by the Technical University of Ostrava showed a dramatic decrease in exercise being undertaken by students, with 65.2 percent saying pandemic restrictions led to a decline in their sporting activity. The survey showed a large proportion of students switching to home exercise in place of group activities.

The impact of the pandemic on sports activities for younger kids has been harder to measure, but the Czech School Inspectorate has expressed concerns about a lack of physical exercise for children stuck at home due to Covid restrictions. Estimates that kids’ movement fell by 25 to 30 percent during lockdown are leading to concerns about increased levels of obesity and other health issues.

While the Wannado Festival will largely focus on Czech clubs (though some English-language clubs do participate) a number of English-speaking afterschool activities are getting underway this weekend as well. We spoke to Coach Sam from the Prague English Football School about the resumption of sporting activities in the Czech Republic after a lengthy lockdown.

“We’re really excited to be back, providing opportunities for kids to enjoy themselves outside, doing something which will help them physically, socially, and emotionally," he said of PEFS' non-competitive season which kicks off this weekend, playing on Saturdays in Prague 10 and Sundays in Prague 6.

Like many other clubs now enrolling PEFS will be offerings free trial classes for anyone who would like to try out its club. Coach Sam also had some advice for parents who are currently shopping around for sports clubs for their children.

“My advice to parents is to pay attention to how the coaches and club are with their kids. Is it a positive experience for them? Do they leave smiling and happy, or not wanting to go back? It’s often a question of what is more important to the club: the kids’ enjoyment and development in a fun and inclusive environment, or simply that the team wins,” said Sam.

What are "Kroužky"? In English "circles" are afterschool classes common in the Czech Republic ranging from sports to art classes. They are low-cost ways to add enrichment to a child's schedule. In addition to the Wannado Sports Festival this Saturday, this month a number of venues will offer free programs that allow you to try a class or two. Your local "Dům dětí a mládeže" (Center for children and youth) should also have a rich roster of classes to choose from. English-language activities like Prague English Football School can be found in our directory.

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