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Archive for Youth Sports

When it comes to youth sports there is more and more pressure for kids to specialize at a younger age – whether to make the “travel team,” set them up for college opportunities or be the next big thing. But, is early specialization the best way to go? How do you know your child really loves that sport they are doing 4 days a week?

In a recent article by Sharon Chirban, Ph. D. for the Huffington Post, she discusses the benefits of letting kids sample different sports. I agree. At a minimum, offer it up.

When a child cross-trains in other sports, they are working different muscles and joints, which creates better overall conditioning. This training model also allows for young athletes to develop a new set of athletic skills, which can transfer to their other sports, leaving many experts to believe this type of training creates better overall athletes.

My 9 year old daughter who swims year round cannot wait to start field hockey season this Monday – it is something new and different and I hope she loves it. My twelve year old daughter has tested out a few different sports and when asked if she wants to try something new at this point, she just keeps saying no – she’d rather be in the gym doing gymnastics than anything else. But she has already checked out a variety of other options and has made the choice to be in the gym on her own.

What is your opinion? I tend to agree that at least exposing children to a variety of sports is a good thing. Some kids will still gravitate to one sport year-round, but by giving them the opportunity to try different sports you help them make that decision on their own. And if you have a child who wants to play another sport in addition to their primary sport – consider it a good thing – its a good diversion mentally and physically.

Categories : Youth Sports
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youth sports report That is the big question of the day – do youth sports interfere with family time?

The University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center Associate Director Nicole LaVoi and Research Assistant Alyssa Norris have released a cutting-edge report on parent perception of how much youth sport interferes with family time. In the report they look at factors such as how sports affects meal time, sleep, homework, family time, vacations, and religious commitments.

Click here to read the report first then let me know what you think!

I say youth sports can interfere with family time, however, the benefits my children receive from participating in youth sports are just as important as the benefits they receive from sitting together around the table eating dinner.

My kids have some sports activities they do on their own and then they all swim on the same summer swim team. This gives them opportunities for independence and opportunities to work together and support each other on the same team.

They get time with each parent on their own depending on the schedule for the week and let me tell you, one on one time with your child is precious. You have a captive audience and so do they. I can’t tell you how many really important conversations have been had on the way to or from a swim practice or a gymnastics meet.

As far as homework time goes – I think doing sports teaches a really important life skill – time management. All three of my kids have good grades and get homework done with little to no prompting. All of their schedules leave ample time to do homework – whether it is before or after practice.

Overall, I think our kids would agree that youth sports are a positive part of their lives that have led to better friendship opportunities, taught them skills they can apply in school (like don’t give up, be patient, how to work with others, etc), and given them each something different to excel at (as well as something they can all do together).

Thanks to the Tucker Center for taking the time to research Youth Sports and Family Time.

I’d love to hear how youth sports affects your family time!

Categories : Parenting, Youth Sports
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Recently I was introduced to a pretty cool website called It is an online community for sports families that  gives kids, parents, and coaches the ultimate youth sports experience. One of the primary goals of Weplay is to responsibly engage our audience on the internet while encouraging fun, positive reinforcement in sports.

Weplay is getting noticed, too- especially with the involvement of pros like Peyton Manning, Summer Sanders, Derek Jeter, LeBron James, Jennie Finch and more. We’re also funded by Major League Baseball, Creative Artists Agency and partnered with Pop Warner, ASA Softball, the Positive Coaching Alliance and more.

So how does Weplay work?

Go to the Weplay website and create a free account. You can add your photo, your own sports interest and add your athletes. You can create a group for your sports team and use it as a means of communicating announcements, celebrating successes and staying connected.

You can play games, read articles and get the latest news from Weplay’s growing list of pro athlete contributors – like Summer Sanders who will be live in Vancouver covering the Winter Olympics. You can ask sports related questions and get answers from any number of Weplay’s thousands of users. Check out the ParentHood section of the site to get sound sports parenting advice, tips and connect with other parents in your child’s sport.

As you begin to build your own circle of friends on Weplay you can give each other props – fun, virtual pats on the back, for everything from great effort, leadership, and other positive qualities.

Weplay is a really cool and unique social site for those of us who spend so much of our time involved in youth sports from every angle – athlete, parent, coach and fan. Go check it out and while you are there, friend me!

Categories : Youth Sports
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