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Making Youth Sports A Positive Experience for the Kids

  
  
  
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A lot of sports parents and coaches get so invested (which isn't inherently a bad thing) in youth sports they forget one crucial thing--it's not about you! No matter how much YOU love sports, no matter how big of a sports superstar YOU were, no matter how much YOU want your child to play, at the end of the day it doesn't come down to what you love or you want; it's all about the kids. Yes, YOU are the reason they played t-ball when they were five and six, but as kids get older playing youth sports has to be something they want to do. With 70% of kids quitting sports by age 13 clearly we are doing something wrong.

3 Sports Behaviors Coaches Can't Ignore

  
  
  
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As a youth sports coach, those 12 or so kids are under your watch and your protection during the game/practice, and you are ultimately responsible for what happens to your athletes. And while even the best coaches can't control every single little thing, there are some behaviors that you can't let slip by.

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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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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 Things Great Sports Coaches Have in Common

  
  
  
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Coaches can really make or break a sports season. Coaches that don't really care, play favorites, or are bullies on the field can completely sour a child's opinion of sports and push them to quit at a young age. On the other hand, a great coach can inspire a life-long love of sports that a child will carry with them long after they hang up their 4th grade cleats. There are plenty of good sports coaches out there that keep the season humming along, but it's those great sports coaches that kids (and parents) will remember and love forever. Here are 3 things those great sports coaches have in common.

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Should You Coach Your Own Child?

  
  
  
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Most sports leagues survive because plenty of moms and dads are willing to step up the plate (pun intended) and volunteer to coach. And we at SportsSignup applaud those sports parents willing to give up their weeknights and weekends to coach a dozen 8-year-olds and teach them the finer points of baseball/soccer/football/lacrosse. Being a coach is not an easy job! But even if you want to coach, it's important to know that one of hardest things about being a parent-coach is knowing how to handle coaching your own child.

What Does Real Sportsmanship Look Like?

  
  
  
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SportsSignup calls New York state home, and even though we are closer to Albany than New York City more than a few on our team are die-hard Yankee fans. As anyone who follows baseball knows, this is Derek Jeter's last season in the MLB. After 20 years of playing shortstop for the Yankees, "The Captain" is calling it quits. In his 20 year career, Derek Jeter has earned 14 All-Star selections, five Gold Glove Awards, five Silver Slugger Awards, two Hank Aaron Awards, and a Roberto Clemente Award. Jeter is also the all-time MLB leader in hits by a shortstop, and the 28th player to reach 3,000 hits. It's pretty much agreed by everyone in baseball that he is one of the best players of his generation. On top of that, he was also ranked as the most marketable player in baseball according to the 2003, 2005, and 2010 Sports Business Surveys and has done endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, Ford, Gillette, and other major brands.

Should You Punish the Player to Control the Parent?

  
  
  
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Every youth sports coach has dealt with "those" sports parents before; the loud, the rude, the mean, the pushy. And while (thankfully) they represent a small percentage of sports parents overall, one or two is enough to make for a rough season. A few weeks ago we wrote about a controversial tactic that one soccer coach used to keep aggressive and inappropriate sports parents in line.

Earning the Respect of Your Players

  
  
  
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A coach is in a position of power with their team, but as the saying goes "with great power comes great responsibility." A coach is responsible for the safety, well-being, and athletic development of their players and that is a not something to be taken lightly. Most coaches are well respected by their athletes and sports parents, but respect is still something you have to earn. It doesn't get handed out with a clipboard and whistle.

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Why Drill Stations Can Work Really Well at Practice

  
  
  
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So you've decided to volunteer this season as a youth sports coach! First off, thank you! It's parent-coaches like you that keep the sports wheel turning and without your our leagues wouldn't be possible! As a coach, one of your biggest tasks is figuring out how to manage practices. How can you keep young kids engaged, having a good time, learning the basic skills of their given sport, building team spirit and more?! It's a tall order for a few hours a week. One of the easiest things to do is keep your practice moving by planning several drills that focus on different skills.

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