21 03, 2017

7 Traits Behind the Best Coaches

Across any given year tens of millions of kids take to the playing fields and courts where they will fall under the guidance of coaches (more than 2.5 million of them), most of whom are volunteers, may be coaching for the first time, and have received no formal training (only 10 percent). Not surprisingly, many parents are keen on finding good coaches that not only will teach their kids how to play a particular sport, but who also can be trusted to protect their kids against injury, treat them with respect, and perhaps pass along an

21 02, 2017

Why the Arts are Good for Kids on the Periphery

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It's a challenge facing many parents: a child - more often than not, a son - who is more inclined to follow the pack rather than lead or chart his or her own course. If there is a circle of friends gathered, these kids are usually on the outside looking in. In the classroom, they're less likely to volunteer to answers (or ask) questions. And even in an activity in which they excel, they're less inclined to speak up or use their skills to behave like a leader. These kids often are likable if reserved, quiet but not

6 02, 2017

Rules of Disengagement: How to Cut a Player

As kids move from the ‘all-in’ developmental house leagues of youth sports into the more competitive realms of travel leagues, AAU, high school, etc., cuts become an inevitable part of the process. How a child is cut is just as important as why they’re cut. For many kids, being cut from a team is the first such occasion where they get a taste of failure at something they enjoy (i.e. it’s not the same thing as scoring a poor mark on a school test). The child enjoys or even is passionate about the sport, but

30 01, 2017

Why Specializing in One Sport is a Really Bad Idea

A new study demonstrates rather conclusively that athletes who specialize in one sport are 70 percent more likely to suffer an injury during the season. Commissioned by the National Federation of High School Associations, the study adds still more ammunition to the argument kids should take time off from individual sports and/or also participate in different sports across the year rather than concentrate on just one. Conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin's School of Medicine and Public Health, the study focused on athletes who spent what was considered an inordinate amount of time on one sport

23 01, 2017

What Iceland Can Teach Us About Kids

Once ranked among the world's heaviest users of alcohol and drugs, Iceland's youth today are Europe's model for clean living. How Iceland achieved this remarkable turnaround could be a template for other nations struggling to keep their kids out of trouble. The story begins in 1992, when researchers asked virtually every child between the ages of 14 and 16 to complete a survey on their drinking, smoking and drug habits. The results were shocking. Nearly a quarter of the teens claimed to smoke daily and more than 40 percent admitted to being drunk during the previous

20 01, 2017

Why the Big Shortage in Referees?

By most measures, the number of qualified, sanctioned referees is falling across the county, and this shortage is impacting youth sports at all levels. In Kansas, for example, the numbered of registered basketball referees has dropped from 2,027 in 2013 to 1,887 in 2015. A small decrease, you might think, until you realize how many games those missing 140 officials could work in a given year. The numbers are similar across the country. In Tennessee, the number of high school football game officials declined 17 percent over the past year; Colorado officials say every year they're recruiting fewer and fewer officials;

7 01, 2017

Why Kids Quit Sports

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Another year behind us and the statistics regarding children's participation in sports continue to take a grim turn: namely, downward. By age 13, a staggering 70 percent of kids bail out on organized sports - a troubling trend for a number of reasons. Why are so many kids saying good-bye to sports? Depending on the source, there are a number of reasons, foremost among them: No Longer Fun Anyone who has played organized sports knows that with each passing year the competition becomes more intense. For many kids - especially those who aren't athletically gifted or

29 09, 2015

STEM and Arts Equals the Best Education

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Hardly a day goes by that parents aren't reminded in ways large and small the degree to which their children must pursue STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) if they are to have any real shot at life. But overlooked in this narrative are the equally critical courses - art, music, dance, theatre, band, speech, etc. - that develop the other hemisphere of the brain, the one largely responsible for a child's emotional intelligence. A generation ago, Daniel Goleman captured the nation's attention with his groundbreaking book on emotional intelligence. In it, Goleman argued that

23 09, 2015

Exercise is Key to Academic Success

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It's the time of year when millions of kids are back in school and their parents once again are fretting over how best to keep their kids' grades up. Turns out, there's one simple trick that is almost certain to help: exercise. Yes, exercise is key to academic success. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), kids who get a steady diet of vigorous exercise are twice as likely to get As as their more sedentary counterparts (we're talking As and Bs vs Ds and Fs). How much exercise? The CDC recommends at least 60 minutes per day of moderate

15 09, 2015

Why Women Make Great Coaches

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Close your eyes, picture just about any youth sport practice or game, and who is pacing the sideline? A man, right? And while it's true that most youth coaches are indeed men, it turns out that in many ways women actually make better coaches. In this post we look at why women make great youth coaches and the impediments many see standing in their way. First, the numbers. Despite the country's success in getting more girls involved in sports, the number of adult women participating as coaches remains stubbornly small. One study found that