Basketball can help us learn about the connection between the body and mind.

Our body is a messenger. It is the first sensations we receive to seek safety. Through our fight or flight responses the automatic fear based systems in our nervous system kick in and our behavior becomes less in our own control. 


Being mindful of our actions and choices can only come after we regain our thinking brain. That depends on greater awareness over what is happening in the body and body based ways of coping with stress.


By providing education through hands-on activities, physical play, and educational bonding experiences, we aim to increase access to important mental health education while improving overall community well-being.

basketball [at] createkidsedu [dot] org
somatic basketball program for mental health
somatic basketball program for mental health
nervous system education basketball games
Why it matters

By recognizing the bodily cues signaling the need for coping mechanisms, individuals gain greater control over their responses, increasing a sense of emotional regulation and resilience.

This, in turn, leads to more constructive and adaptive coping strategies, reducing the likelihood of maladaptive behaviors or emotional outbursts.


Nervous system education cultivates empathy and understanding towards others’ emotional experiences. Armed with a deeper understanding of their own emotional responses, individuals become more attuned to the signals of distress in those around them. This heightened empathy fosters stronger interpersonal connections and promotes more supportive and compassionate relationships.


Greater awareness also serves as protection since children recognize physical signals of mental health distress. It is through awareness that we know to seek support and body based education makes that possible sooner than ever.

Meaningful Education

The Nervous System is where our body processes and behavioral responses are being managed. There are three divisions in the Nervous System: Autonomic, Parasympathetic and Sympathetic.

  • The Autonomic Nervous System is said to regulate the body’s unconscious actions.
  • The Parasympathetic system activates rest, repair and digestion processes that only happen when your body is in a resting mode.
  • The Sympathetic Nervous System activates our fight or flight responses like tension in our jaw and hands, lighter breathing and the escape feelings when we are feeling stressed.

The Sympathetic Nervous System feels like:

  • a pounding heart
  • adrenaline
  • quick or shallow chest focused breathing
  • tensed muscles
  • Nausea, vomiting and stomach pain
  • sweating
  • Processes in our body that are quick responses

This combined response is what we call the fight-or-flight response.


the body nervous system

The Parasympathetic Nervous System feels like:

  • a calm heart,
  • slower blood pressure,
  • deeper belly focused breathing,
  • relaxed muscles
  • digestion processes restart
  • Processes in our body that are slow responses

This combined response is what we call the rest-and-digest response.


It is possible to learn to activate or trigger the Parasympathetic Nervous System to immediately reduce stress and cope with resurfacing stress from prior experiences. That's what CREATE programming focuses on teaching.

Education that Empowers
Nervous System

Body Skills Spotlight

The Ears

How to stimulate the Vagal nerve to start the rest-digest process in the body. Also, learn how humming and vibration can help us calm down fast through music.

The Lungs

What is Box breathing, how can double breathing help us recalibrate stressed breathing. Also, how 2 simple breathing tricks that can increase our oxygen intake by 15% on every single breath.

The Hands

How squeezing, pushing and pulling, helps us complete the fight fear response and think better in the moment. Also, how we can use our non-dominant hand to grow the self-control muscle in the brain.

The Stomach

What emotional eating is and how to notice it. The impact strong emotions have on our eating habits and how healthy foods support well-being. Also, how to do a lymphatic release to promote movement in the stomach area.

The Feet

How to use jumping to complete the flight fear response. Also, the importance of movement for good blood circulation and waste drainage in the lymph system.

Full Body

What bilateral movements are and how they help the body move out of fear responses into rest and digest modes. Easy to remember bilateral movements that increase body awareness.

kevin love mental health

Everyone is going through something we can’t see.

Kevin Love

Intervention Stages

Support for all needs

basketball mental health program for public schools


Free basketball programming through delivered through physical education classes in public schools, community centers, after-school care programs and on-site.

graduate student volunteers playing basketball


One-one-one mentorship with one of our volunteer high school or graduate students seeking medical or mental health professional tracks.

child mental health therapist


One-on-one therapist sessions, family workshops, support groups, resource bridging as well as additional investments in the child's future including skill building, college and future planning.

Building Connection
basketball buddies volunteers
Our Basketball Buddy system gives graduate from local universities and high school students seeking mental health oriented careers meaningful experience while providing kids with amazing role models. We're excited about how this increases connection within the community as well as promotes more minority students into medical tracks.
Evidence backed research

CREATE uses a variety of materials to develop its educational programming.

Parenting workshops, educational training and basketball programs use facts and strategies outlined by the following resources:

CDC - HI-5 Interventions

School-based Programs to Increase Physical Activity, School-Based Violence Prevention, Early Childhood Education

CDC - Advancing Health Equity Through Partnerships, Collaboration, and Community Engagement

Community-Clinical Linkages Health Equity Guide, Healthier Food Retail: An Action Guide for Public Health Practitioners

CDC - Leveraging Evidence to Prevent ACEs

Merging somatic strategies with recommendations by the CDC to create body based strategies that provent trauma based stress retention.

Healthy People 2030 Mental Health and Mental Disorders Evidence-Based Resources

Treatment for Self-harm, and Suicide Attempts Among Youth, Screening Anxiety in Children and Adolescents: Screening, Eating Disorders in Adolescents, Suicide and Violence Prevention, Mental Health: Targeted School-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Programs to Reduce Depression and Anxiety Symptoms, Physical Activity, Preventative Care, Nutrition and Healthy Eating.

mental health educational basketball games
educational basketball games for mental health
basketball buddies volunteers
educational basketball games
Education Partners
basketball games guide access
We partner with sports and mental health based non-profits, educational companies and school systems to spread our programming. Sign up as an educational partner to access our digital set of materials (video instructions for games and full game guide).
basketball [at] createkidsedu [dot] org

More than just play

A program that cares for a child's mental, emotional and physical health.