Parents and coaches work hard to keep their children and players safe and maximize everyone's enjoyment from the sport. However, parents and coaches often have limited experience with youth sports participation. Though they may have once been players themselves, the skills to be a good player and the skills to be a good youth sports parent or coach are quite different. It is a little like saying that because you can bake cookies you can run a bakery. Playing is about technical skills where as parenting and coaching are about educational skills.
This skill deficit is then compounded by turnover. Just about the time parents or coaches get good at their respective roles, the kids grow up and a new group of parents and coaches starts the process all over -- Not exactly a model for long term success. However, the business world provides a great role model for how to deal with these issues and run a successful youth sports organization - the franchise!
In a franchise system, a franchisor sets the standards and provides an operations manual that franchisees much follow exactly to make sure that their business succeeds. The operations manual has been perfected over many years and with the experience of many franchisees. Thus, the operations manual is a proven path to business success. New franchisees don't have to reinvent the wheel. They immediately start their business with all the skills of long term participants. New McDonald's run as smoothly as the oldest ones even though the manager and crew may have just started. Now, why not take this model to youth sports?Creating a Youth Sports Franchise
Organized youth sports can do more than just setup game and practice schedules. It can also set the the right physical and behavioral standards that ensure that kids can enjoy sports over their entire childhood. These standards are not just codes of conduct. These standards are very detailed plans for behavior, instruction and participation.
Little League Baseball has implemented one step towards this with its new pitching standards policy which is shown below. Similar standards can be created in a variety of sports. Instead of taking away creativity or flexibility from coaches, these standards give coaches the benefit of years of participation and the input from medical experts. In order to improve, youth sports needs to implement more of these standards to help everyone achieve their goals - better kids playing longer and healthier.Little League Baseball Pitching Standards
The table below gives an overview of the number of pitches that will be allowed per day for each age group during the regular season in 2007.
|Pitches allowed per day
|10 and under
The rest periods required during the 2007 regular season are listed below.
Pitchers league ages 7 through 16 must adhere to the following rest requirements:
- If a player pitches 61 or more pitches in a day, three (3) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 41 - 60 pitches in a day, two (2) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 21 - 40 pitches in a day, one (1) calendar day of rest must beobserved.
- If a player pitches 1-20 pitches in a day, no calendar day of rest is required before pitching again.
Pitchers league age 17-18 must adhere to the following rest requirements:
Source: Little League Online (http://www.littleleague.org)
- If a player pitches 76 or more pitches in a day, three (3) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 51 - 75 pitches in a day, two (2) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 26 - 50 pitches in a day, one (1) calendar day of rest must beobserved.
- If a player pitches 1-25 pitches in a day, no calendar day of rest is required before pitching again.