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3 Ways Parents Can Protect Their Youth Athletes

  
  
  
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There is always a risk of injury when you're playing youth sports. And unless you're just going to cover your kid in bubble wrap for the rest of their lives, there is always the chance that something could go wrong and they'll get hurt. But parents can and do make a difference when it comes to keeping their kids safe and preventing most injuries. All it requires is a little extra attention.  

Do You Believe in the Mercy Rule?

  
  
  
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A few weeks ago we came across this story about a PeeWee football team who suffered a $500 fine and an automatic one-week suspension for their coach when a young player’s first touchdown put the team over the 33 point league mercy rule. It’s probably safe to assume that the 8 year old receiver didn’t think that his first touchdown (a major point in any football player’s short career!) would end up hurting his team. And is a coach supposed to stop a player from scoring his first touchdown in order to not “run up the score?” While there are two sides to every story, the mercy rule in youth sports is often hotly debated in leagues and amongst coaches. Does the mercy rule prevent one team from steamrolling the other? Or does the mercy rule actually hurt more than it helps?

3 Ways Sports Parents Can "Let it Go"

  
  
  
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If you have children under the age of 10 you've probably seen "Frozen" at least once in the past year. Probably even more than once...a lot more. By now you know all the words to "Let it Go" and while the song may be getting on your nerves, the idea of learning to "Let it Go" is something every sports parent should take to heart. It's very easy to get caught up in the passion and excitement of youth sports, but there is a fine line between being an enthusiastic and supportive sports parent and transforming into one of "those" sports parents. Here are 3 ways sports parents can "let it go" when they get overly invested in youth sports:

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Is Your Youth Athlete Playing In Pain?

  
  
  
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A 2014 study from from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine found that "Estimates of the proportion of all sports injuries that are due to overuse range from 45.9% to 54%." This means that nearly 1/2 of all sports injuries are due to overuse! If you think it's odd that a 10 year old could ever possibly overuse their throwing arm, the study hypothesized that these overuse injuries are due to the increasing pressure for young athletes to begin specializing at an earlier and earlier age. Many parents and coaches believe that early specialization is the key to putting a child on the path to an athletic scholarship, an Olympic team or the world of professional sports.

Using Player Assessments to Address Who Plays

  
  
  
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We recently talked about what is the most uncomfortable question in youth sports, "why isn't my child playing more?" No parent likes to see their child sitting on the sidelines and more often than not they'll go to bat (pun intended) to get their son/daughter on the field. Good youth sports coaches will do their best to ensure that everyone gets equal playing time, but even the best intentions can go unrealized. However, the less-than-great coaches might intentionally be benching certain players simply because they want to win at all costs.

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Why Confidence is So Important in Youth Sports

  
  
  
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A lot of things go into making someone a great athlete. They need at least a little natural talent, be willing to learn and put in the hard work that pushes them to the next level, know how to take a loss on the cheek and keep on trucking, stay focused and committed even when they are tired and lots more. Plenty of parents and coaches look for the "secret" to turning a kid into an athletic superstar, and while there is no one "right way" to help a child become a solid youth athlete (and maybe beyond) it's fair to say that confidence plays a big part in the overall process! If a child doesn't believe in themselves no amount of outside work will matter!

League Administrators - The Unsung Heroes of Youth Sports

  
  
  
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We always try to give credit and thanks to the parents, coaches and volunteers who keep youth sports teams running. It's a big job with little thanks and it is most certainly a labor of love, but without their help organized youth sports just wouldn't be possible! But we too often forget to thank one other group of people without whom youth sports would fall apart---the league administrator. This person isn't on the field like a coach or official. They aren't on the sidelines cheering on the team. You might never actually meet them face-to-face, but they are the ones working to ensure your child has a sports team to join this season!

Why Isn't My Child Playing?

  
  
  
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Love 'em or hate 'em, there is no denying that Bostonians take their sports any every level very seriously. The other day I came across this article on Boston.com that discussed what is probably the #1 LEAST favorite question a coach gets asked; “Why isn’t my kid playing?” Plenty of youth sports coaches have had to find a way to tactfully answer this question because, let's be honest, no coach wants to say and no parent wants to hear "They’re just not good enough.” While at a young age we at SportsSignup believe that every child deserves as much time on the field as possible, especially when they are still learning the fundamentals. As children get older and the level of competition gets higher some youth athletes are bound to stand out amongst their teammates and the pressure to win grows. Maybe those players are naturally more talented, maybe they were exposed to better coaches at an earlier age, or maybe they just work harder than anyone else. But as players get older some athletes will be at the head of the pack, others will be in the middle, and still others will fall behind.

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3 Signs You Aren't Ready to be a Youth Sports Coach

  
  
  
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Let's preface this by saying that any parent who volunteers to be a youth sports coach has our gratitude and respect! It's a big responsibility and many leagues wouldn't exist if it weren't for those parent-coach volunteers willing to step up to the plate (pun intended)! And even though most leagues are always on the lookout for new coaches (after all, parents tend to follow their kids through and out of the league), not every parent is ready to be a sports coach, no matter how much they may want to help out. Here are 3 signs that you may not be ready:

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3 Winter Sports Safety Tips

  
  
  
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Just because it's cold outside (and depending on what state you call home, buried under 10 inches of snow), that doesn't means youth sports has to stop! There are plenty of winter sports, both indoor and outdoor, for your son/daughter to play this season if they want to stay active. And if they are on a highly competitive team their coach might be running mandatory winter conditioning camps. But getting and staying active when it's cold outside means following a few winter sports safety rules and tips.

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