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Even if Your Child Loves to Play, Should They Play All Year-Round?

  
  
  
Multisport Hands In

Earlier this year ESPN ran a story showing that most kids playing sports do love playing...but is loving the game enough to justify the year-round play (and possible consequences) that comes with high-pressure travel teams?

Why The Physical Presence of Parents Matters in Youth Sports

  
  
  
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Parents can make or break a youth sports season. Not only are they the ones registering their children for Little League or Pop Warner football, they are the ones driving their kids to practice, volunteering to coach the teams, organizing team dinners, chaperoning away tournaments, playing catch at home, and more. The attitudes and actions of sports parents really can make a child love or hate playing sports. But even if you aren't the biggest sports fan yourself, the physical presence of parents during practice and games make a huge difference.

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3 Tips for Preventing Heat Illness Among Athletes

  
  
  
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Summer is in full swing, and with temperatures easily climbing into the 80s and 90s youth athletes are certainly feeling the heat! A study by Andrew J. Grundstein, an associate professor in the department of geography at the University of Georgia, found that 123 high school football players died of heat-related illnesses between 1960 and 2009. While every death is heart-breaking, what's even more frustrating that all of those deaths were totally preventable. Heat illnesses including cramps, exhaustion, and even heat stroke are completely preventable and treatable given parents and coaches keep an eye on their players for the signs and symptoms and immediately give them time to cool down if it looks like an athlete is in rough shape.

3 Tips for Managing a Multi-Athlete Family

  
  
  
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If this is the first time you've got more than one child playing sports each season welcome to the family! There are dozens of practices and games to make, team dinners to plan, fundraisers to organize, away tournaments to get to, and more. Managing a multi-athlete family may require a little more planning than you suspect, so here are three tips to make it through the season.

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Three Ways for Parents to Avoid Politics in Youth Sports

  
  
  
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For better or worse youth sports, especially as the competition level grows, can be full of drama. Parents team up against coaches, coaches penalize players for the action of their parents, league administrators pick teams made of their friends, parents get into it with each other, and more. Too much drama can suck the fun right out of a season, and keeping your hands out of the fray might be the best way to ensure your child doesn't get caught in the cross-fire of youth sports drama.

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Will the Future of Youth Sports Depend on Fundraising?

  
  
  
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There have always been costs associated with youth sports. Whether its sport-specific equipment or just a new pair of running shoes it’s not uncommon for parents to pay something in order to have their children enrolled sporting activities. Parents and coaches have been bearing this cost for many decades and although it was tough for some parents to find the money that was needed, it was still largely manageable.

The Importance of Casual Play

  
  
  
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From one generation to the next youth sports has changed dramatically. When we (meaning current sports parents) were young, sports was something you did in the summer because your parents wanted you outside. Maybe you played sports in high school, but you might have played a different sport in the fall and in the spring, not just one sport all year round. Or you didn't belong to any "real" team, but you played pickup games with the neighborhood kids every weekend. But in recent years youth sports has changed dramatically. Even those who are against early specialization can't argue that more and more kids are playing one sport all year round, are getting onto more high-powered (and costly) travel teams, and getting very serious about their athletic career at a younger and younger age.

Long Island Junior Soccer League and SportsSignup Renew Service Agreement for 3 Years

  
  
  

SportsSignup today announces a three-year service agreement extension with the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), an organization with more than 60,000 youth soccer players on 97 clubs and more than 7,000 volunteers.

Choosing Sports Teams Based on Friendships

  
  
  
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A few weeks ago we got an email from a baseball dad whose son plays in a league where one team was hand-picked by the coach and the other teams were created at random. Not surprisingly, the hand-picked team was made up of the best players in the league and was winning almost every game. This baseball dad's son was having a hard time staying excited throughout the season because he knew his team was going to get blown out of the water. And while no one likes to lose, especially a close game, knowing you are about to get obliterated because the other team is stacked is even worse. Why bother showing up if you'll only get to bat once and you can't stop the other team from running up the score?

The Drama of Tryouts

  
  
  
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As youth athletes get older, say around 10 or 11 (although it could be much sooner depending on the sport), the chance to get involved on more elite teams comes around. These high-powered travel teams may play year round, travel each weekend to away tournaments, and compete against some of the best squads in the country. They have access to better coaches, one-on-one training sessions, and other "perks" that can put a child heads and shoulders above their friends that may only play sports casually. Many parents believe that getting on these teams are the first step in building a life-long athletic career for their child and will move heaven and earth to make it happen.  But, in order to get onto these high-powered teams youth athletes have to make it through tryouts. And that's where things can get messy, especially when parents get involved.

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