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4 Reasons to Get Involved in Youth Sports


Participating in a youth sports organization (either a team sport like baseball or a individual one like tennis) may not be for every child, but you never know until you try! Even if your child only participates in one season of youth sports before deciding they’d rather move on to dance, band, art, the math team or any other extracurricular activity, here are X reasons why it’s worth giving youth sports a go:

1. Encourage a healthier lifestyle.

Hopefully belonging to a youth sports team will encourage your child to get up and get active. The great thing about belonging to a youth soccer or basketball team is that its exercise disguised as fun! A lot of kids don’t jump at the chance to go for a run, but they get really excited when they have an upcoming game. Getting your child involved in youth sports can help make physical activity apart of their daily life now and (hopefully) for years to come.

2. Make new friends.4 Reasons to Get Involved in Youth Sports

Not only are youth sports organizations a great place to learn the value of teamwork and commitment, it’s just a great way for your child to make new friends! Not only will they get to know their teammates, but they might even strike up a friendship with players on the opposing teams. And sports parents can make new friends too! You’ll be spending a lot of time on the sidelines this season with the same sports moms and dads, why not expand your own social circle?

3. Accomplish something.

Making a game winning touchdown, hitting a homerun, nailing a three-pointer—these are all great accomplishments that youth athlete’s can hang their hats on and be proud of. Everyone deserves to feel like they’ve accomplished something, and belonging to a youth sports organization gives your child the opportunity to set and achieve goals. Youth sports is a great way to build self-esteem!

4. Get better at time management.

Sports should never supersede school, but it’s also not fair to leave your teammates hanging. Belonging to a youth sports team can help teach kids understand the importance of time management, a valuable life skill that even many adults still struggle with. You have to learn to organize and prioritize your schedule is you want to do everything on your to-do list.

There are plenty of other reasons to get involved in youth sports, or at the very least give it a try. You might be surprised—maybe your child will discover they love swimming, or running or lacrosse, something they would have never had the opportunity to discover if they hadn’t given youth sports at least a chance. If at the end of the season your child decides that sports just isn’t for them at least they’ll know for sure.



I totally agree - I feel that the parents should spend the time to get to know what the whole journey looks like... 
We live in a society where many parents are trying to get their child every little advantage to help them become the best volleyball, baseball, softball, track, football, tennis or basketball player in their area. The bad news is that players can only improve within the limitations of athletic ability, natural talent, determination, size, aggressiveness and coachability. The good news is that there are many places where players can go to get the instruction needed to help them along in their basketball education. Where? 
Here is a plan to give your child the best chance for improvement in basketball from the ages of 7-17. 
Have Realistic Expectations 
If the parents are 5’2 and 5’7 it is not realistic to expect their child to have a 9 inch growth spurt in high school. Or if the child is not blessed with amazing speed or strength it may not be good to expect a miracle. Every child has an incredible array of talents, but many are not useful in basketball. The parent’s job is to find out what they can do to help their child reach their true potential, not try to live up to unrealistic goals. It is okay to dream but it is a good idea to have a back up plan just in case. 
Display a love for the Game 
If your child is going to spend a good portion of their childhood working on their basketball skills, make sure that they truly love the game! Parents need to realize what they are getting themselves into as far as being the parent to this young “Hoopster”. You will spend countless hours on the road, driving endless miles to sit in gyms while your child grows as a player and becomes accomplished as an individual. If you and your child both possess a love for the game and have the determination to improve then you are in the right place to pursue excellence in basketball and we would be honored to help that process. 
Be selective  
There are tons of opportunities for players to get involved in traveling teams. These teams are a big part of the process but they are not the only solution. Players and parents should look at all of the options, interview the coaches, look at the schedule of games and practices then decide which will best fit the player’s level of commitment and position. 
7-12 years old (FUNDAMENTAL SKILLS)  
These years are very important for players to develop their understanding of basketball and a love for the game. They should be spending hours and hours working on the fundamental skills of the game. It is more important that players focus on footwork, hand-eye coordination, proper shooting mechanics, ball handling, pivoting and passing than playing 500 full-court games with referees and crowds. 
Players should take the time to learn how to confidently take care of the ball and how to shoot correctly. Playing too many games at this age can be counter productive. These young players need to learn the value of proper fundamentals and teamwork. This will help them succeed both on and off the court. As a parent of an athlete I would want to know how to deal with, “I don’t want to go to 
Practice today!” “I want to quit” after having a bad day or a bad practice, or perhaps having a difficult time mastering a fundamental. 
During the school year players should try to be a part of school or other league teams. During these teams most coaches will focus on team skills but the players should not lose sight of their personal goal which is to also improve their individual skills and confidence. It is important that they learn about competition but make sure that it is kept in perspective. 
During the summer months, players should attend two local summer camps as commuter campers (5 days in duration). If the player is mature enough and has the interest in a resident camp then parents may want to consider that option as well. At any point, with the high commitment level, should a parent have the child choose only one sport to focus on? Figuring of course that high school is coming and academics are demanding more time. 
13-17 Years Old (GAMES and EXPOSURE) 
This is the time where players will need to get as much on-court game experience as possible. They shouldn’t stray away from practicing the fundamental skills but they need to feel the game and experience the pressure associated with competition. Be sure to keep the wins and losses in perspective but the player needs to test their skills against players of equal or greater abilities. Maybe go over parent coaching. The pro’s and con’s of telling your child after the game, “You did great, but…..” Leave it to the coach. Especially if the parent wasn’t a basketball player. 
As players play junior high and high school the stakes begin to get higher. Recruiting services start to rank players and predict what level of college basketball they might be able to compete at. Many school coaches will try to dictate what their players can and can not do during the off-season. Work with the school coach to see what they are expecting from the player and research what other options there are in the area. Choose a traveling team that suits the players’ style of play and that assures them of playing time. 
Above all, make sure that the player is comfortable with the coach of the team. A coach who is understands that their role is to help develop the player is preferable to one who is impatient and driven by wins notoriety and tournament titles associated with their name. At 13, players should attend a resident summer camp and begin looking into all-star, competition or advanced development camps. They should increase the number of games they play. 
By the time they are playing in high school, players should be able to know what position they will be playing and they should spend more time developing their skills specific to that position. It’s also time to start a strength and conditioning program and begin to develop stamina and muscle structure to compete at the higher levels. Players who are successful at the high school level and beyond possess good fundamental skills they are mentally tough and physically strong. They rise to the challenge and are willing to work even harder to meet the demanding needs of performing at the highest level that they can. 
Just a reminder... Very few athletes actually get the opportunity to receive an athletic scholarship to attend a college and even less go on to play professionally. Parents should use sports to teach their child the importance of hard work on the court, at home and in the classroom. If players are mentally sharp they will have a better chance of succeeding in life as well as in sports. 
To all of the parents and players who are about to embark on this adventure we have one recommendation: ENJOY THE RIDE! 
Want more... check out amazing summer camps at the National Academy of Athletics.
Posted @ Friday, July 27, 2012 4:52 PM by Aaron Locks
All kids should keep an open mind and try all or any sport. Sports is Life!!
Posted @ Friday, July 27, 2012 11:29 PM by Kevin Mulholland
Comments have been closed for this article.

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