Jeff Farris
No coach would attempt to play an entire game with only one group of players, leaving most of the players on the sidelines. Player fatigue would quickly become a problem. Yet, many youth coaches fail to take advantage of their "extended team" (the parents) and feel fatigued themselves by the end of their season. Successful youth coaches look at their team not just as a group of players, but as a group of players and their parents. Just as coaches don't hesitate to ask for participation from players at practice, coaches shouldn't hesitate asking for participation from parents. Coaches have a large burden preparing for practices and leading a team during a game. They only make it harder on themselves when they try to do everything. Asking parents to help with items such as snacks, water bottles, and parties is the best way for coaches to fully use their extended bench.
Jeff Farris
Each sport has a position that generates more attention and is often more fun for kids to play. However, the desire to play one particular position often interferes with a player's overall development. Only by playing a variety of positions can a player learn all the basic skills required for advanced levels of play. For example, playing an offensive position improves speed and control. However, playing defense is a good way to improve backwards movement and understand the importance of positioning. Different positions emphasize different skills. Playing in the same position all the time doesn't give players a good chance of learning all the different skills that are required by all players. More importantly, playing different positions teaches players the importance of teamwork and the need for all positions to contribute to a winning game. Only when a player respects the difficulty of a teammate's assignment can players come together in team-oriented play.
Jeff Farris
by Department of Sport and Recreation / Western Australia Physical benefits:
  • Improve fitness, strength, flexibility and coordination
  • Improve general health and helps weight management
  • Develop a wide range of motor skills
  • Establish healthy behaviors that young people will carry throughout their lives
Social benefits:
  • Develop communication and interpersonal skills
  • Develop leadership and cooperation skills
  • Create lasting friendships
  • Increase interest in accepting responsibility
  • How to deal with winning and losing
  • Provide a vehicle for responsible risk taking
Personal benefits:
  • Enjoyment factor - a biggy!
  • Improve self-esteem and confidence
  • Improve ability to concentrate: facilitating better performance at school
  • Learn self-discipline, commitment and responsibility
  • Learn organizational skills and how to share
  • Learn how to deal with pressures and stress
  • Encourage health related behaviors i.e. better eating habits, less likely to smoke
What's in it for Parents? It not just your kids who will benefit from playing sport
  • You get to be a bigger part of their lives by sharing more of their experiences
  • Appreciate that your children are having fun, being active and healthy
  • Healthy children means a reduction in medical costs
  • You know where your children are, that they are being supervised and having fun
  • Research has shown that children who are involved in sport tend to stay in school longer and get better grades
  • Assist in developing behaviors that will encourage life long health and well being.
Jeff Farris
It is a good thing most businesses do not take their method of passing on expertise from one worker to the next from youth coaches. For many coaches, this method involves starting green, figuring things out under fire and then taking that knowledge with them when they leave. Just like players, coaches are developed through education that is tested and refined in actual situations. Unfortunately, there are no practices for coaches where they can master their skills before actually applying them. This lack of practice forces coaches to take responsibility for their own education and improvement. Here are 10 suggestions.
  1. Search the bookstore and the Internet. With 2.5 million volunteer coaches, there is a wide variety of books and topics at a sport-specific level.
  2. Talk with other coaches. Coaches with a few more years of experience can be invaluable for new ideas concerning both players and parents.
  3. Get feedback from parents. While parents may not be sport knowledgeable, they often have interesting perspectives on child motivation and interests.
  4. Get feedback from players. Listening to things from a player's perspective may be quite different from the adult perspective. Relaxed time before and after practices can be a great time to gain player perspectives.
  5. Attend training sessions. Many groups routinely conduct training sessions that address coaching improvement.
  6. Watch other youth games. Observing other teams, especially at the next age level, can give coaches insights into the needs players will have as they continue playing.
  7. Videotape practices. Reviewing team practices can help coaches better see the effects of specific drills or player skills and attitudes. Coaches can also watch to make sure practice time was organized effectively.
  8. Ask a parent to help with non-coaching tasks. Any additional time that can be obtained to use for planning practices or games will always be useful.
  9. Organize and plan ahead. Naming drills, putting drills on index cards and then taking fifteen minutes before a practice to organize the flow of these drills helps coaches get the most from players in limited practice time.
  10. Have fun. Fun is contagious and motivates coaches and players to perform better.
While coaches often start with sports knowledge, transferring this knowledge into the heads of young players may pose a new set of challenges. Coaches may sometimes feel that their problems are unique. However, with over 2.5 million volunteer youth coaches and over 30 million kids in youth sports, every coaching frustration is repeated many times over. This experience base is available to any coach who actively seeks it out.
Jeff Farris
  1. Wow!
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  69. What an imagination
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Jeff Farris
For those of you who have read and enjoyed the Sports Esteem newsletter over the years, this blog provides the same style and type of information but in a less formal and easier way to access.Youth sports is something every family should "endure". When done right, few things create better kids and families. The effort to get youth sports right is well worth the effort. Not that youth sports turns out exceptional athletes, but because youth sports can turn out some exceptional adults. Stay with this blog over time to get the latest insights into youth sports activities from the parent perspective. 

We hope you enjoy!! 
Jeff Farris