They know the best thing they can say is “I love to watch you play.”

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Everyone always talks about “those” sports parents. The ones that are overly competitive, argue with the coach, build their child up the next Michael Jordan, and coach from the sidelines. Unfortunately those sports parents with the bad behaviors are the ones that make the news and get all the attention. But we feel it’s very important to celebrate the great sports parents, the ones that make youth sports a wonderful place for our kids!

They know the best thing they can say is “I love to watch you play.”


When reviewing the results of an informal survey that lasted three decades, hundreds ofdrinks.jpg college athletes were asked to think back: "What is your worst memory from playing youth and high school sports?" Their overwhelming response: "The ride home from games with my parents." Those same athletes were also asked what their parents said that made them feel great after a game. Their overwhelming response: "I love to watch you play."

There is a time and a place to go over what went wrong and what went right during the game, but you need to remember that what you say, what you mean, and what your athlete hears can be three very different things. You might think you are being constructive with your critique, but your son/daughter just feels like nothing they do is good enough. Saying “I’m so proud of you,” or “I love to watch you play” is never a bad idea! At the end of the day, most children just want to please their parents so be sure you let them know your love isn’t contingent on them winning!

They let their child play the sport (or other activity) they love.


You might have been a cross country stud in your day, but maybe your child prefers tennis, or karate, or swimming. Or maybe they just don’t like sports all that much and would prefer to just play intramurals for fun. Regardless, the best sports parents understand that their children are their own people, with their own lives and goals and interests. Our job as parents is to support our kids as they do what they love to do. Be there, be supportive, be encouraging, even if it’s a sport you know nothing about. As long as they are happy why does it matter what sport they play?

Your child is not your chance to relive your own athletic glory days, or unmake the mistakes you made. Yes, most five-year-olds aren’t signing themselves up for Little League, but as they get older be sure you are listening to what they want and not just pushing them into what you want.

They cheer on the whole team, not just their child.


Not every parent can make it to every game. That doesn’t mean they aren’t supporting their child, but there might be a sibling with a game of their own, a doctor’s appointment they can’t move one more time, a last-minute work project—life happens! Great sports parents are there to cheer on the whole team, not just their child. If you weren’t there when you son hit a homerun or your daughter scored the game winning goal wouldn’t you want someone to give them a high-five? Do the same for the other kids on your child’s team!

Especially if your child plays a team sport (football, lacrosse, etc.), the success of your child is largely dependent on the whole team! After all, a quarterback can’t score any touchdowns if they don’t have a team of receivers, right? A goalie can make amazing saves, but they can’t exactly play defense and offense from the goal! So cheer on your team, because they are the ones helping your child succeed on the field!

They know when to speak up and when to back down.


One of the hardest things a parent deals with is letting their child fight their own battles. We want to swoop in and fix things and make life a little easier for our kids. But there are some circumstances that our children need to learn to stand on their own two feet. For instance, if they really want to play for a certain travel team it shows immense dedication and courage to walk up to the coach after tryouts and ask “what skills do I need to work on to make the cut?” Yes, you could ask the same question but when the player themselves walks up to the coach it can make a true impression.

On the flip side, there are some circumstances when we as parents need to stand up. If our child is being bullied or intimidated by their teammates or the coach we have the right to get involved. If we suspect even the tiniest bit of verbal, physical, or emotional abuse we have the obligation to report it! Playing sports can help our children learn how to stand on their own two feet, but they are still just kids and some fights they shouldn’t have to handle on their own.

Three Ways for Parents to Avoid Politics in Youth Sports

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Three Ways for Parents to Avoid Politics in Youth Sports
 
For better or worse youth sports, especially as the competition level grows, can be full of drama. Parents team up against coaches, coaches penalize players for the action of their parents, league administrators pick teams made of their friends, parents get into it with each other, and more. Too much drama can suck the fun right out of a season, and keeping your hands out of the fray might be the best way to ensure your child doesn't get caught in the cross-fire of youth sports drama.

Here are three things parents can do to avoid youth sports politics:


1. Ask the coach about their expectations before the season starts.
The best way to avoid confrontation/politics is to know what you are in for before the seasondescribe the image starts. If your child has to miss a practice will they be benched during the next game? How will to coach ensure every players gets time on the field? What is their policy for pickup and drop-off at practice? Are there any rules you as the parent are expected to abide by? The more you know in advance about how the season should go the fewer surprises you'll be in for. If they written their policies up you can always pull those rules out should they not be following their own guidelines!

2. Don't get sucked in if other parents are complaining.
Misery loves company, and parents that feel like their child isn't getting the playing time/recognition they deserve are bound to cause a fuss on the sidelines. They might start looking for allies and other parents are the first target. If you don't want to get involved in the politics of youth sports than don't get sucked in to another parents' drama. If they have a legitimate concern/complaint they can take it up with the coach after the game without having to drag you into the drama.

3. Encourage your child to speak up for themselves. When kids play on more high-powered travel teams most coaches don't adhere to the equal time for every player rule. If your son/daughter isn't getting to play as often as they want, or not getting to play the position they want, encourage them to talk to the coach themselves and remove yourself from the situation. Chances are the coach will be impressed that a young player is taking the initiative to find out what they need to do to improve and earn their spot. If you get involved it might create drama with the coach, especially if it comes across like you are trying to tell them how to do your job.

Granted, if your child is being bullied or teased or truly can't earn their spot on the field you have every right to speak up, but make sure you're coming in when necessary, and not just because you want to "fix" everything and make the team "perfect" for your child.   

If you really want to change things, it might be worth looking into volunteering as a coach for the next season, or maybe even joining the league board. Granted, getting really involved means dealing with more drama, but sometimes it's easier to prevent drama from the inside out!
Our football story:
Should I let our son play tackle football? more...

Our football story:

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Football is America’s favorite sport, and Heads Up Football is changing the way the game is taught at the youth and high school level. USA Football is asking football moms, dads and coaches to tell us why they believe in football and how the game has influenced their lives. Share your story, and we will consider it for inclusion in this series. Make sure to include your name, hometown and a photo with you and your favorite football people to accompany the feature.

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5/29/2014 @9:13AM







Should I let our son play tackle football?

This question is being asked in households in every city and town across the United States. Warriors Youth Sports in Denver and the Arapahoe Youth League would like to provide our answer to this question – a resounding YES – and then provide you information to help you reach the same conclusion.

Having played this sport, coached my own sons and instructed many others, I strongly feel that every child who shows interest should be allowed to play tackle football, the greatest game out there. Football provides the best opportunities for your child to learn many life lessons that will apply to the future. Life lessons to help them be better men, husbands, fathers, citizens, employees, bosses … you name it.

Football is a hard sport. There is no debating that. However, I believe many of you will echo that at times life is pretty hard as well. There is no other sport that requires the same levels of teamwork, self-sacrifice, reliance on others and physical preparedness that a player learns in tackle football. Like life, football knocks you down time and time again and requires you to get up and face those challenges until you master them. Football teaches perseverance, something that can be applied to playing a musical instrument, public speaking, math, chemistry, work skills, boot camp, special projects, family budgets and so much more.

You may accept all of this, but it doesn’t address your fears that your son will get seriously hurt playing tackle football. Unfortunately, this is an area where the national media has done a great disservice to this question. Football in America is news. It is the most popular sport on TV, and it will always attract the negative story if there is one out there.

In February 2012, USA Football commissioned a two-year study of injuries in football called the Youth Football Player Safety Surveillance Study. This independent scientific study monitored 13 leagues with more than 200 teams and 4,000 players, ages 5 to 14, in six states. For the study, medical professionals attended every practice and documented every injury – from an upset stomach to the smallest bruise to broken bones and concussions – during the course of the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The study’s findings include:

·         Nearly 90 percent of youth players did not sustain an injury that resulted in missing a game or practice
·         Of the 22.4 percent of players who reported an injury, 70 percent returned to play the same day
·         Of the 11.9 percent of players who missed a game or practice because of injury, 60 percent returned to play within seven days.
·         Bruises were the most common injuries (34 percent) followed by ligament sprains (16 percent)
·         1.4 percent of players suffered a broken bone or fracture with 77 percent of these in the forearm, wrist or hand
·         More than 95 percent of players in the study did not sustain a concussion

·         No youth player age 7 or younger sustained a concussion at any time during the two-year study
·         No catastrophic head, neck or heat related injuries were reported among 4000 players during the study’s two-year span
·         Injury rate and time loss rate goes up with age

This research marks the first significant data-driven study performed regarding youth football and represents a huge advancement in learning and understanding for our parents. It is believed to be the first study of its scope in youth football’s 80-plus year history. One national expert in the area of sports medicine and injury rehabilitation is Dr. Stanley Herring from the University of Washington. Dr. Herring points out your children are far more likely to get injured in wheel-based recreation such as skate boards, bikes, rollerblades or on school playgrounds or using trampolines than in tackle football. All of this data leads to the conclusion that tackle football is not radically unsafe for your son to play.

Another important consideration has been raised by Tom Cove, president and CEO of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Mr. Cove recently stated in an industry forum that the “biggest health issues in the U.S. comes from inactivity. Inactivity has become a pandemic in the U.S.” In 2007, 25 percent of Americans said they were inactive, (nearly 70 million people). That number rose to 28 percent by 2012 (nearly 80 million people) and is projected to grow to 31 percent in 2018 (nearly 91 million people). In Mr. Cove’s opinion, the benefits of football to the youth of the U.S. is huge, and football is a tremendous opportunity to get our children active.

The Warriors, the AYL and USA Football are committed to creating the best atmosphere in which your child can learn this sport. That begins with coaching education, clear and consistent direction from medical experts on player safety and a strong focus on teaching the fundamentals at the heart of your child’s youth sports program – everything that USA Football’s Heads Up Football is about. That is why Warriors and the AYL are again partnering with USA Football. The AYL has committed to pay the costs in 2014 for all of our coaches – head and assistant – to obtain coaching certifications in tackle football through USA Football. All of our member clubs will be appointing Player Safety Coaches to oversee the implementation of Heads Up Football, and the AYL will appoint a League Level Player Safety Coach. The purpose of these PSC positions is to educate all of our coaches regarding proper methods to run practice drills, proper organization of practices, teach proper Heads Up Tackling techniques and provide information for our parents who may have concerns or questions. All of this adds up to the overwhelming commitment that the Warriors and the AYL have to continue to find ways to make this game we love safer for your son.


We believe that tackle football is the greatest sport for a child to play, and it is important to measure a sport’s benefits against its risks. Tackle Football is a hard sport, no question, but with the commitment to make this sport safer for all of our players we hope you can now answer the question posed above with your own resounding yes! 

Hydration strategies for spring competition

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As warm weather approaches, football players and coaches are starting to pull out the helmets, shoulder pads, blocking shields and lesson plans for spring workouts.

One key to a good football practice is proper hydration.

Throughout training – including before, during and after – players and coaches both must focus on maintaining adequate hydration levels. Drinking plenty of fluids and staying well-hydrated benefits onfield performance while reducing the risk of heat stress or illness.

Hot and humid environments present greater chances for players to have fluid, energy and electrolyte deficits, but staying hydrated remains crucial even during mild early spring weather.

Ewing (N.J.) High School athletic trainer and USA Football Football and Wellness Committee member Dave Csillan provides some hydration tips and rules all football players and coaches should consider before lining up.

The chair of the Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey Secondary School Committee, Csillian received a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Trenton State College and a master’s degree in athletic training from Old Dominion University. He is a member of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) Liaison to USA Football.

    How much should you drink before and after activity? Drink 12 fluid ounces 30 minutes before activity begins. After activity, drink every 20 minutes during the first hour to make up for fluid loss.

    What should you drink?Cold water is the best fluid to drink during activity and allows for fast absorption.  It’s a myth that cold water gives stomach cramps. Sports drinks work well after activity to help replenish lost electrolytes.

    How much should you drink during exercise?Children under 90 pounds should drink 5 ounces every 20 minutes, and children more than 90 pounds should drink 9 ounces every 20 minutes.

    Easy tip: A child’s gulp equals half an ounce of fluid. Therefore, a child 90 pounds or less should drink at least 10 gulps every 20 minutes.

    What is the thirst response? Don’t allow thirst to be your guide to drinking. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. 

    What color should your urine be? Your urine should look like lemonade and not apple juice. Urine color can be a non-scientific indicator that the body is becoming, or already is, dehydrated.

Drinking liquids is a necessity. Players and coaches should keep water and sports beverages available during drills and training sequences.

Dehydration signs and symptoms include: feeling fatigued, lack of energy, muscle cramps, headaches, dizziness and thirst.

Coaches should be mindful of keeping their players’ hydration in balance.  

The best preparation for workouts is coming into practice well-hydrated. Football players need to monitor sweat loss and increase fluid intake as their exercise level increases. Many teams mandate players weighing themselves before and after practice to see how much water weight was lost.

“Heat illness and dehydration are not a 100 degrees Fahrenheit issue. Heat illness has been known to occur in temperatures of 82 degrees Fahrenheit,” Csillan said. “When the right combination of air temperature, relative humidity and exercise intensity are present, so is the risk of dehydration and heat illness.

“Altering practices to the training environment, allowing for a gradual increase in exercise intensity and providing proper fluid intake makes dehydration and heat illness 100 percent preventable.”
- See more at: HERE

Encourage Youth Football Players with Positive Feedback

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By Marty Gitlin
Special to PlaySportsTV

 
Every player on a youth football team should feel he is an important part of the team’s success, even though they might not share the same abilities and talents.
 
Longtime and highly successful coach Russ Jacques of the Strongsville High School football team, in Strongsville, Ohio, fully believes this coaching strategy.
 
Jacques understands that for younger kids to have the desire to continue competing in football, they must feel good about themselves. And they can’t feel good about themselves with a football inferiority complex.
 
“A coach has to feel his way around that situation,” Jacques says. “But every kid has to get some positive feedback. If he’s not the best player physically, maybe he can be the kid who leads calisthenics or the kid who gets a little head start on a relay race and wins that. You want him to go home at the end of the day and tell his Dad, ‘Hey, Dad, I was the guy that led calisthenics today!’  You have to be positive.” Make football drills stimulating and fun Jacques believes the primary function of the youth football coach is to teach football fundamentals in an enjoyable way. (A great way to coach the football fundamentals necessary to play quarterback is through PlaySportsTV's football training plan How to Play Quarterback. Here's one of over 40 drills: the Pitch technique.) 
 
It’s all about blocking, tackling, catching and throwing. But players won’t learn these football fundamentals if they’re not having fun on the field.  Most players' minds are prone to wandering through boring and repetitive drills.
 
“What you want to do is make it a competitive situation,” Jacques says. “Instead of running gassers, do a relay race.  Bring it down to the level that will allow you to get your work done with the kids not even knowing it.
 
“Most people are competitive by nature and kids are no different. Don’t tell them they’ll be running gassers after practice. Tell them they’ll be running a relay race and they won’t even know they’re getting in shape.
 
“Kids who are 7 or 8 or 9 years old, all they want to do is play. But they have to know that to play the right way, and they have to learn the basic things. They want to do something for a short time and then do something else. You have to break your practices down into segments.” Football coaching tip: Keep encouraging players Jacques also stresses that even if all your players learn the basics, they are not all going to enjoy performing those specific tasks equally. He believes that coaches must be sensitive to the feelings of all his players.
 
In other words, everybody will learn how to tackle and how to be tackled safely, but while some younger kids will love the contact that is a necessity in football, others will shy away from it. That doesn’t mean they are doomed to play only non-contact sports. It just means they must be given time and encouragement.
 
“Some kids are going to love tackling and getting tackled and some kids are not,” Jacques says. “Some kids have to work up to wanting to hit somebody and wanting to get hit. But those are life lessons. In life, when you get knocked down, you have to get up. And that’s what they have to learn.”
 
The bottom line is that every youth football player must believe he is contributing to the team effort.
 
“You want every player to understand his role and look forward to every day,” he says.  “As long as he feels like he’s contributing, that’s the most important thing.”
 
Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Coach Engram a Kid Favorite at Ravens’ Football Clinic

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 The Baltimore Ravens hosted their annual Ravens Football Clinic, presented by Under Armour, at the Fallston Recreation Complex for over 300 Harford County youth athletes on Saturday.  Members of the Ravens’ coaching staff were on hand to guide participants through a series of age-appropriate drills to develop their offensive and defensive skill.

The Ravens coaches in attendance included: Bobby Engram (wide receivers), Jay Harbaugh (Offensive Quality Control), Chris Hewitt (Assistant Defensive Backs), Don Martindale (Inside Linebackers) and Clarence Brooks (Defensive Line). The young athletes got to take part in drills that were similar to the ones that the coaches have Ravens players do. The
Ravens head team physician Dr. Andrew Tucker wrapped up the clinic by speaking to the athletes and their parents about concussion awareness.

Coach Engram was one of the favorite coaches at the clinic. The kids took to his hands on style of coaching and it showed by the progress that they made as he helped them learn how to become a better receiver . He talked about why he came out to coach at the clinic.

    
   camp.jpg It means a lot, it’s a blessing because I remember when people came and helped me as a young football player. It’s a part of the reason why I’ve been able to do some of the things that I did in my career. You’re never too young to learn fundamentals. It’s great when they see coaches and players that care about them as people. 
To me coaching is a way to continue to serve.”
Each camper received a t-shirt provided by Under Armour. Ravens youth football specialist, Coach Tom gave the kids a very upbeat pep talk and encouraged them to “Play Like A Raven.”   There are two more Ravens clinics coming up this month. Parents should register their children for them as soon as possible by clicking the following link:  Ravens Clinics

Victor Santiago from Aberdeen Maryland told Pro Player Insiders that he had a great time at the camp. “My favorite thing was coming here and having fun. I learned to keep a good base in the offensive line drills. It was great to learn about values like hard work.” The camp was a success as many of the young athletes left with a smile on their face.

- See more - HERE -

The Baltimore Ravens hosted their annual Ravens Football Clinic, presented by Under Armour, at the Fallston Recreation Complex for over 300 Harford County youth athletes on Saturday. Members of the Ravens’ coaching staff were on hand to guide participants through a series of age-appropriate drills to develop their offensive and defensive skill.The Ravens coaches in attendance included: Bobby Engram (wide receivers), Jay Harbaugh (Offensive Quality Control), Chris Hewitt (Assistant Defensive Backs), Don Martindale (Inside Linebackers) and Clarence Brooks (Defensive Line). The young athletes got to take part in drills that were similar to the ones that the coaches have Ravens players do. The Ravens head team physician Dr. Andrew Tucker wrapped up the clinic by speaking to the athletes and their parents about concussion awareness.Coach Engram was one of the favorite coaches at the clinic. The kids took to his hands on style of coaching and it showed by the progress that they made as he helped them learn how to become a better receiver . He talked about why he came out to coach at the clinic.
IMG_20140614_082435644“It means a lot, it’s a blessing because I remember when people came and helped me as a young football player. It’s a part of the reason why I’ve been able to do some of the things that I did in my career. You’re never too young to learn fundamentals. It’s great when they see coaches and players that care about them as people. To me coaching is a way to continue to serve.”
Each camper received a t-shirt provided by Under Armour. Ravens youth football specialist, Coach Tom gave the kids a very upbeat pep talk and encouraged them to “Play Like A Raven.” There are two more Ravens clinics coming up this month. Parents should register their children for them as soon as possible by clicking the following link:  Ravens ClinicsVictor Santiago from Aberdeen Maryland told Pro Player Insiders that he had a great time at the camp. “My favorite thing was coming here and having fun. I learned to keep a good base in the offensive line drills. It was great to learn about values like hard work.” The camp was a success as many of the young athletes left with a smile on their face. - See more at:
Coach Engram a Kid Favorite at Ravens’ Football Clinic - See more at:
Coach Engram a Kid Favorite at Ravens’ Football Clinic Posted on Sunday, June 15th, 2014 at 9:16 am.Written by
The Baltimore Ravens hosted their annual Ravens Football Clinic, presented by Under Armour, at the Fallston Recreation Complex for over 300 Harford County youth athletes on Saturday. Members of the Ravens’ coaching staff were on hand to guide participants through a series of age-appropriate drills to develop their offensive and defensive skill.The Ravens coaches in attendance included: Bobby Engram (wide receivers), Jay Harbaugh (Offensive Quality Control), Chris Hewitt (Assistant Defensive Backs), Don Martindale (Inside Linebackers) and Clarence Brooks (Defensive Line). The young athletes got to take part in drills that were similar to the ones that the coaches have Ravens players do. The Ravens head team physician Dr. Andrew Tucker wrapped up the clinic by speaking to the athletes and their parents about concussion awareness.Coach Engram was one of the favorite coaches at the clinic. The kids took to his hands on style of coaching and it showed by the progress that they made as he helped them learn how to become a better receiver . He talked about why he came out to coach at the clinic.
IMG_20140614_082435644“It means a lot, it’s a blessing because I remember when people came and helped me as a young football player. It’s a part of the reason why I’ve been able to do some of the things that I did in my career. You’re never too young to learn fundamentals. It’s great when they see coaches and players that care about them as people. To me coaching is a way to continue to serve.”
Each camper received a t-shirt provided by Under Armour. Ravens youth football specialist, Coach Tom gave the kids a very upbeat pep talk and encouraged them to “Play Like A Raven.” There are two more Ravens clinics coming up this month. Parents should register their children for them as soon as possible by clicking the following link:  Ravens ClinicsVictor Santiago from Aberdeen Maryland told Pro Player Insiders that he had a great time at the camp. “My favorite thing was coming here and having fun. I learned to keep a good base in the offensive line drills. It was great to learn about values like hard work.” The camp was a success as many of the young athletes left with a smile on their face.
- See more at:

5 Life Lessons You Learn From Football

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5 Life Lessons You Learn From Football
By 
Taken from About.com Football

Someday, your son will move out of the house (we hope) and pursue a career.   The statistics show that his career most likely won’t be in football.  But are there some life lessons that the game of football can help you transfer to your son?  Are there any lasting benefits to this 100-year-old game?  Definitely.  Here are a few to ponder.

Teamwork
Football requires a pretty unique brand of teamwork.  When you’re a part of a football team (sometimes with up to 90 other players), understanding your role and that of your teammates is critical.  Trusting them to do their job is also of utmost importance.  Even guys on the 2nd and 3rd string play a  definitive role that helps the overall group.  The emotional ups and downs that a team will experience help to build trust over time. 

Discipline
Football requires the player to discipline himself and to work hard.   There is also a beautiful life lesson in the scrutiny and evaluation process.  From high school on up, every move in practice and games is evaluated by coaches and fellow players through film.  This is a wonderful thing, because it allows for growth and accountability.  As his parent, you’ve been evaluating him since birth.  It helps him to have other mentors and friends evaluating his performance.  This is like life, where if we hope to improve and grow, we have to take responsibility for that growth, and surround ourselves with people who can help.

Perseverance
Football provides a variety of challenges that will test (and help to build) your son’s perseverance. He loses a big game. He doesn’t make 1st team. He misses a play that results in a touchdown for the other team.  He struggles as other players develop strength and quickness before he does. These are all things that will challenge your son emotionally, and might tempt him to quit. But if he sticks with it, there will be a payoff in the end.  You’re the parent.  You see what he doesn’t, so help him through those things.

Goal Setting
There are a lot of things that a football player does that can be measured.  Where there’s measurement, there’s a chance to set goals for improvement.  He might set a goal to get his 40 yard dash down to a certain time.  Maybe he could try to increase his weight training maximums, or catch a certain number of passes in a season.  He will also be exposed to lots of team oriented goals, which will help him be accountable for his part to the overall team.  We all should grow and improve ourselves, and football can help him get started on the right foot with good goal setting habits.  This is great stuff! 

A High You Can’t Buy
My head coach in high school always said, “It’s a high you can’t buy,” when talking to us about our success in football.  This game can create a huge adrenaline rush.  Fighting and scrapping with all you have alongside your teammates, and being successful, even in one play, is a moving experience.  It can teach your son that there are healthy, productive ways to pursue adventure and “highs” in this life.  How many stories have we heard about boys being kept grounded and out of trouble by the camaraderie and mentorship they’ve received in football? This list is not all inclusive, but the bottom line comes back to you, the parent.  It’s important that you take the initiative to help him process what’s going on. If you do, it will be far more than just a game; it will be a vehicle to help your son achieve greater things later in life.

5 Tips For Youth Football Coaches

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 5 Life Lessons You Learn From Football
By 
Taken from About.com Football
 
Whether you're a veteran in the coa
ching world, or just starting to coach your son's city league football team, here are some tips to help make the experience enjoyable for you and your future stars.
 
 
1. Keep it Fun
Football is a game, it's not life.  While there are wonderful life lessons to be learned from the game, we as coaches cannot be so caught up in pummeling our opponent that we forget this important principle.  In youth football, you've been successful as a coach if you've made the game so fun that kids want to play it again next year. This may mean playing "Johnny Slow Shoes", while offering up a prayer that they don't run his way. Like you, I've always maintained that winning is more fun than losing, but winning is not the thing.  Fun is the thing. 
 
 
2. Teach the Fundamentals
The best football players of today learned the fundamentals of the game many years ago.  This is in our job description as a youth football coach.  We cannot give our kids a 100 page playbook and expect them to memorize it in a 6 week season.  Simplify.  Teach.  This game gets more complicated the older they get.  Take the time now to focus on fundamentals, and teach them how to make a good blockhow to catch the football, and how to make a solid tackle.  Set them up for success in their future football career by laying a solid foundation now. 
 
 
3. Teach Good Sportsmanship
We are privileged to have a role in the shaping of some young people, and we need to take that responsibility seriously.  Our kids should be the ones breaking up the fights in school, not starting them.  Our kids should be the ones leading by example with their grades, effort, and enthusiasm.  And if we expect them to lead by example, it starts with us.   This does not mean they have to gather up after every play and sing Kumbaya .  We can encourage good sportsmanship and physical intensity at the same. I love to see players going as hard as they can between whistles, and after the play, helping each other up and going back to do it again. 
 
 
4. Keep It Safe
Football has always been a physical game, with many injuries, and injuries are a normal part of most sports. However, the reputation for football has gotten worse recently with the research and media buzz about concussions in football. Can't we, as a general body of good coaches, do our part now before we have mandates on training and safety audits on our practices? Do we really need to do "bull in the ring" drills with our 10 year olds? Again, our goals are to make sure they come back to play the game, have fun, and grow into good people. Some injuries are avoidable.
 
 
5. Build Lasting Relationships
Many of us reference our youth or high school football coach when we talk about who has made a big impact on our life. See beyond the scoreboard. You've got parents, neighbors, aunts and uncles involved (for better or worse). You've got Johnny's little brother, who actually is fast and physical, and might play for your team someday, if Johnny has fun with it. To me, it's not just about the game of football, it's about relationships. The 6 team city league that you're a part of may not seem like much, but it's an opportunity. I ask my fellow coaches the same thing I've asked my players; What are you going to do with what you've been given?

Celebrating the Good Things Sports Parents Do

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Celebrating the Good Things Sports Parents Do
by Jodi Murphy

Like most of the news, stories about youth sports often focus on the dark-side of things—stories of parents getting into fight at games, coaches verbally, physically or sexually abusing their players, league administrators caught robbing their organizations, and more. While we realize we don’t live in a perfect world and we shouldn’t look the other way when we hear about these stories (especially when it comes to abuse), we at SportsSignup feel it’s even more important to celebrate all the good that comes out of youth sports programs! And that doesn’t just mean celebrating the achievement of the players as they grow as athletes, it also means celebrating the good things that sports parents do for their teams.

Here are three things that we feel most sports parents should get a pat on the back for:

1. Sports parents are the reasons we have youth athletes.
Let’s be honest, most 6-year-olds can’t sign themselves up for Little League; it’s often sports parents that get their kids interested and involved in youth sports in the first place. Most turf_closeup.jpgsports parents AREN’T in it for the future college scholarships, or the chance to relive their own glory days. They want their children to play because youth sports teaches dedication, teamwork, leadership skills, how to win/lose with dignity, and more. Don’t let “those” sports parents ruin the reputation of sports moms and dads as a whole!

2. Sports parents learn as they go.
Most coaches are actually sports moms and dads who volunteered, not professional coaches or athletic trainers looking for a side job. Some of them probably played sports in high school, and some maybe even in college. But most sports parent-coaches have little to no training when it comes to being a coach, so they are learning on the job! Not everyone can be a great sports coach right out of the gate, and while we’ve all had to deal with a terrible coach at some point, let’s not forget about those sports moms and dads who were willing to volunteer when no one else would to coach our kids! It takes a lot of courage to take responsibility for a dozen or so young athletes (and learn to cope with “those” sports parents along the way).

3. Sports parents juggle a lot. Multiple kids means multiple teams and multiple games and practice schedules. Plus there are after-school activities to coordinate, doctor’s appointments to get to, family vacations to plan, sleep-overs to schedule, and so much more! Most sports parents are easily trying to cram three or four people’s schedules into one calendar and for the most part they make it happen. No one is perfect and sometimes they run late to practice, but most sports parents understand the important of getting kids to the game on time and try their hardest to make it work.

What do the sports parents do on your team or for your youth sports league that deserves recognition?
There are plenty of stories of when sports parents screw up but we think it’s time to start celebrating all the good and positive things they do for our communities.