Having Fun and Skill Development As Important As Winning In Youth Sports

Ask kids about what they want to get out of sports, and the vast majority will say competitive games in which everyone plays and has fun. Given a choice between fun and winning, most would say having fun. They would rather play on a losing team than sit on the bench of a winning team.

Setting Realistic Expectations Depends on Age of Youth Athlete

The explosion of highly competitive sports programs for kids under twelve (e.g. travel soccer, hockey, etc.) would have you believe that your preteen is ready, indeed eager for intense competition.  They aren't.

Contact Sports and Off-The-Field Violence Linked, Study Says

While the benefits of sports participation are well known, less publicized are the downsides of such participation. A study by researchers at Pennsylvania State University published in the October 2007 issue of American Sociological Review suggests that athletes who participate in contact-heavy team sports, such as football, are more likely to commit violence off the field.

Setting Realistic Expectations for Youth Athletes

It is critically important that you and your child have realistic expectations about his or her development as an athlete and that you don't confuse your expectations and desires with those of your child. Parents who complain that their child has quit a sport too early may be doing so because he isn't doing what they want him to do.

Does Athletic Success In Age-Group Competition Depend On A Child's Relative Age?

Have you ever watched the Little League World Series on television? Ever notice how the players on the teams are almost always much bigger and stronger than the average twelve-year-old and look more like sixteen-year-olds?

Early and Late Bloomers in Youth Sports: Lessons for Parents

Some children are early bloomers who enjoy success in sports because they develop faster, not because they have more raw talent. Late bloomers develop more slowly, but may be more gifted athletes. There are advantages and disadvantages for both.

Perspective in Youth Sports Today

As a teacher, former coach and elite level collegiate athlete (and father of two Division I scholarship athletes), I have been genuinely saddened by the loss of perspective in sports, especially youth sports, and the lack of understanding about how athletic success is achieved. What our young sports enthusiasts should be learning by going through this process and what they are learning are two different things.

Ten Signs of a Good Youth Sports Program

Part Two examines five more important signs of a good youth sports program, from required coaching training and evalutations to sensible limits on number of practices and games per week.

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