Monthly Archives: October 2014

  • What Every Parent Needs to Know About Coaching

    When it comes to sports and kids, parents have a vested interest that goes beyond safety concerns and a good-hearted desire to instill healthy habits into childhood years. In many cases, parents can become irritating, annoying, and even abusive toward coaches and staff over what they believe is unfair treatment of their children. This behavior is partly to blame for the 70 percent of kids under the age of 13 who drop out of organized sports.

    Why Do Most Kids Drop Out Of Sports?
    It begins in the early stages when coaches volunteer to train our kids. A good-hearted family member of one of the kids on the T-Ball or softball team offers to coach the team in order to pass on their love of the game. For everyone involved, it’s an innocent and carefree activity. Points aren’t recorded, the teams go out for ice cream after the games, and everyone gets a trophy at the end of the season.

    Within a couple years, however, things tend to change. Kiddo is a rising star and you begin salivating over a potential scholarship or starting position on your favorite team down the road. And thus begins a new era of parental-based sideline coaching. Why? Perhaps you think you know more than the coach. Perhaps you believe the coach is a volunteer or otherwise unfit for the task. While 25 perfect of coaches in America are volunteers, 75 percent are paid instructors who are hired specifically to improve the overall performance of the team. In other words, he’s not just there to focus on your pride and joy.

    What Are Basic Coaching Requirements?
    Oftentimes, your kids’ coaches are full-time teachers. Even if they don’t choose to teach as their primary occupation, if they’re paid coaches, they’ve met the training requirements of a school teacher. Beyond that, specialized training in first aid, concussion knowledge, and coaching fundamentals are required before they’re issued their whistle, clipboard, andlanyard.

    For all intents and purposes, the coach has to play the role of a parent, teacher, motivator, and medic alongside of his or her basic coaching duties. He’s responsible for ensuring everyone knows their schedules and shows up when they’re supposed to. He’ll arrive an hour early to prep the field and stay late to return the football equipment back to the locker room. Therefore, you know that furious screaming from the fence, or worse, in the coach’s face, thing you do? Yeah, it’s not helping. Let the coach do his job.

    What Can You Do to Help?
    In any type of sport, there are needs for all types of support. If your local school team has a booster club, consider joining it. If there isn’t one, you can organize it yourself or simply help by agreeing to supply extra sports equipment or coaching supplies. And that would be much more beneficial to the team than becoming irate over differing opinions regarding the “lack” of fairness on the playing field.

    If the coach is an established teacher within the district, he likely has access to access to gym teacher equipment. However, if you’re feeling especially generous, new locker room equipment – balls, cones, pads, helmets, new mouth guards – are options to consider. But you can start off small as well. Clipboards and dry erase boards are always needed for planning new plays. Scorebooks, scorers, whistles, lanyards, and laser pointers are necessary basics as well. And he can always use extra stopwatches, timers, pedometers, water bottles, inflators…the list goes on. Confused? Ask the coach what supplies you can help out with for the season. Sometimes just making the offer is enough to save face when you’ve been less than tactful.

    The point is this: it’s fine to get emotionally invested in your kids’ activities. But when you cross the line and become verbally abusive, it ruins the fun for everyone. Your child will be torn between his loyalty to you and his desire to please the coach. Work with the coach, not against him, and everyone will remain happy on and off of the playing field.

  • Kids - Top 4 American Sports

    Kids are generally ready for sports far at a very young age. Exposing children to organized physical activity early on in their formative years can have lifelong benefits:  an active youth is a health youth. Various youth organizations strive to offer fun, safe fitness options for kids as young as 6 years old. Nowadays, parents can walk into just about any store to readily equip their impending superstars with pint-sized sports equipment and accessories. Check out the top sports for tiny tykes:

    Baseball

    By the age of 5, many kids can play T-ball. After a year or two of that, many leagues encourage a transition to softball, where the game is played with a large, somewhat flexible ball. After the transition period, kids who stick with the activity move on to actual baseball.

    Baseball encourages balance, hand-eye coordination, and strength. But specific equipment must be used to avoid injury. Beginners in T-ball generally need a ball, mitt, matching team uniform with hat, cleats and a mouth guard. Shell helmets are also important, especially when up to bat, as are face cages if the child is small for his or her age or playing a catcher position.

    Soccer

    Once upon a time, we used fitness concepts to describe our kids: fast, athletic, flexible, tough. Sadly, today’s parents often use very different words to describe their kids: diabetic, hyperactive, overweight, medicated. Soccer can help young kids with balance, cardiovascular endurance, weight control, coordination, and flexibility.

    Pee wee soccer is a fun activity that encourages coed organized play. Two teams of four play at a time. There are no goal keepers or scorekeeping. A sweatshirt and jacket is acceptable on the field if the games are played on cold days. Baseball cleats may also be incorporated into the players’ equipment as long as the front toe cleats are removed. (It’s also a good idea to have kids wear shin pads just in case other parents missed the safety rules regarding cleats.)

    Basketball

    Basketball is easily one of the most popular sports among older kids and teens, and the little ones want to be just like the big kids. Pee wee basketball gives kids as young as 3 and 4 a chance to participate in organized play. Pee wee programs a step up offer game options for 5- and 6-year-olds game as well.

    Basketball encourages teamwork, coordination, cardiovascular health and, at 3 and 4 years of age, it’s just a lot of fun! There’s not much equipment needed to begin this sport. Team matching shorts sets and running shoes with decent tread is about all the kids will need to begin. Parents may be encouraged to invest in a 6-foot rim and size 3 basketball for their tiny players to practice and continue the fun when they’re off the court. Generally, your child’s coaches come prepared with necessary phys-ed equipment. Usually, younger players play a 5-on-5 game, and a parent is on the court with the coach. But some groups lean toward even less fewer for the younger crowd.

    Pop Warner Football

    America loves football and many parents salivate for the chance to put their kids on the field. Pee wee football groups give them that chance. Boys and girls as young as 5 get the chance to experience and fall in love with one of America’s greatest games. The younger crowd, generally through the age of 10, plays a gentle touch or flag form of the game. Pee wee football is safer than soccer for the same age crowd, and serious injuries are rare.

    Pee wee coaches focus on fair play rather than competitiveness. Pee wee sports are about learning to be part of a team and understanding the basics of the sport – they’re not intended to build stars or develop big egos. Safe fun is paramount. Therefore, all aspects are covered. Kids are required to have full setups including hard shell helmets with face masks, mouth guards, athletic cups, and cleats. Matching uniforms allow padding placement for shoulders, chest, back, thighs, shins, and butt.

    While the athletic club may offer some uniform equipment in any sport, a lot of it may be overly worn or wearing heavily. Parents can help by buying their children new safety equipment, which they know is up-to-code and safety than used gear. Safety has to be a personal priority so your kids can do the most important thing out on the playing field: Have fun!

  • 3 Fun Fitness Solutions for Every Budget

    Fitness activity is essential to overall health, but it can be difficult to build better health habits. It takes three weeks, on average, for most people to develop a new habit. For those who fall of the wagon a lot, fitness goals can seem to fail even before they begin. But there’s a simple trick to increasing your chances of developing a new fitness habit. Make it fun. Set aside some time to play with three innovative gym equipment solutions:
    Poly Push-Up Mats

    Push-ups are great exercises for whole-body strengthening, but it can take years to learn perfect form. Kids, for example, can do several at once and without much effort, but they tend to have trouble remembering to keep the back straight and avoid sticking the butt up in the air (which does nothing to build the core). And, of course, if they do manage to perform the exercise correctly, injury can occur without warning. Fortunately, Poly Push-Up Mats can easily change all of that.

    These slip-free mats are simple but oh-so-effective. Hand placements offer three different widths for various ages and strength abilities. The kids simply get into plank pose, place their hands on the correct outline, and lower their bodies. A block of foam in the center of the mat acts as a training guide. As their chests hit the blocks, they return to starting position. Hands stay secure and proper form is achieved.

    Hot Spots Exercise Spots

    Hot Spots are a unique and fun new way to keep your group or class active and organized in an array of different activities. Each set includes a dozen anti-slip 8-1/2-inch rubber disks that act as floor guides for group play or organized fitness needs. Each disk offers a different suggestion, exercise, or pose and works as the perfect group circuit station. The activity choices are practically endless with this activity and can be combined or built from basic physical education equipment. Some of the more popular options include yoga,Pilates, jumping rope, core exercises, arm work, cardio, exercise ball, and partner work.Exercise spots help develop social skills, strength, endurance, flexibility, and improve overall body conditioning.

    Climbing Wall Equipment

    Few physical activities come close to providing the emotional and physical benefits of climbing walls. Huge structures can be found in fitness clubs, public gyms, schools and recreational centers. Of course, not all facilities have the space or budget for enormous wall-length equipment. Entire whole structure climbing walls can range between 8- and 30-feet high, or they can be sold in panels and set up wherever you have room. They can even fit relatively easily into your personal residence.

    Climbing walls are designed to emulate rock climbing conditions one would find in nature. While indoor use of these walls won’t offer anywhere near the risks of falling to your death from a cliff or mountain, injuries can still occur easily if safety procedures aren’t taken. Properly constructed frames and resin handholds are standard in all wall options. Safety harnesses must be used correctly for larger professional-style walls. This specific activity should also be performed with a group while a trainer or safety guide ensures everyone continues having fun and avoids unnecessary injuries.

    The right equipment can make all the difference in your fitness results. And they don’t have to drain your bank account or require hours of setup just to try them out. Use your head, space, budget and lifestyle needs to choose your perfect exercise solution. Then just see how even small but fun changes affect your health goals.

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