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9 Tips to Protect, Prepare and Propel Your Young Athlete

  1. Protecting our youngest athletes is the single most important component that we can do as parents, coaches and others who support athletes.  It is imperative that you ensure that those working with your kids have taken background checks.  Make sure and ask your park houses and associations what their vetting process is and make sure they are consistent with the process.
  2. Youth Sports is a huge business somewhere between 9-15 billion dollar industry.  This means people are profiting off of your athletes.  Be aware that all things be offered to your athlete are not necessary or good for them.  
  3. Overuse injuries are a huge issue for our youngest athletes.  Have someone speak to your team or association about the risks of playing all year long.  If your athlete is playing year-round make sure you watch for signs of fatigue, stress, and anxiety in yourathlete.
  4. Check in with your athlete and make sure they are having fun in their sport. Athletes play sports for many different reasons.  Some want to become professional athletes, some participate for social connections.  Let them define what their sporting experience means to them
  5. Athletes drop out of sports at a high rate; 70% will drop out by the time they are 13 years old.  If we can make the time in sport more fun and less stressful we will keep them playing longer.
  6. A great question for your coaches or association is what is our sports culture and how do you enforce it?
  7. Competence creates Confidence spend time teaching the fundamentals.
  8. Your athlete does not need to be the star athlete or even the starting athlete to receive all of the benefits associated with sports.
  9. Creating an environment where winning at all cost is not the focus is critical. For many young athletes sport isn’t just what they do, it’s who they are.  Make sure that their short time spent is sport has positive effects later in life.

Bring Back the Fun

Athletes won’t remember the individual wins or losses, but they will always remember a coach who brought positive energy, the camaraderie of friends and mastering a skill.