Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Don't Underestimate the Effect Sports Have on Your Child

A good friend of mine, who coached a youth baseball team of nine and ten-year-old boys, related the following story to me. It illustrates the positive effect sports can have—even on the most unlikely of children.

“A few years back, the parent of one of my former players told me about a speech her son gave as a senior in high school. Each student in the class was required to give a talk on something that had a ‘profound effect on their lives.’

It had been eight years since the boy had played for me. The boy was arguably the least athletic child on my team; however, he was the brightest and went on to win most of the academic awards at his high school as well as a college scholarship. The boy could have spoken about any of the numerous academic awards or his scholarship; but instead, he spoke of the one hit he got as a nine year old to win a key game. He also spoke about the importance of his coach believing in him to come through when substituting in a better hitter was the easier, safer choice.

I was obviously warmed to hear that a coaching decision of mine had such a positive impact on this child. But I was also struck by the fact that the child you think is least influenced by sports is the one that carries their effect with them forever.”

Whether your child is a star athlete, beginning player, or a struggling, non-athletic boy or girl, you should recognize that sports often play a significant role in his or her life. In the above example, a boy unaccustomed to athletic success found his heroic moment and held it close to his heart. Regardless of your child’s apparent abilities, believe in your child and support his or her interest in sports.


Friday, October 23, 2009

LeBron James is a Failure (and So Are You)

At some point or some level, all athletes eventually fail. Great players, defined by their last moment heroics, have also succumbed to challenges they could not overcome, obstacles too big, and personal shortcomings of character or performance that resulted in failure. As eloquently expressed in the famous baseball poem, mighty Casey does not always bring joy to Mudville.

You should understand that the failure to convert the big shot, and other similar disappointing moments are a common bond among all competitive athletes. Every athlete has experienced the bitter moments of a personal failure or a devastating loss, sometimes forever altered by the event. When you try and fail in these key moments, you are experiencing the same set of emotions that all of your sports heroes have gone through.

Also understand that putting yourself in the position to take the big shot, and having the courage to do so, in itself is an admirable quality. Regardless of the outcome, these moments reveal a positive aspect of your character—reaching for the prize instead of giving in to a fear of failure. You will eventually learn that the disappointment of failure is usually preferable to a lifetime of regret for not facing a challenging moment.

These failures, both real and anticipated, can also have a positive effect. They provide you with the motivation to prepare, giving yourself the best chance to succeed when you face these special moments. Always attempt to translate any fear of failure that you may have into constructive actions.

Finally, recognize that these types of failure are the necessary flip side of your greatest successes. If you don’t try, you’ll never enjoy the incredibly satisfying and fulfilling emotion associated with winning your heroic moment.

Embrace your athletic failures as an educational and necessary part of the journey. As LeBron says, "Don't be afraid of failure. This is the way to succeed."


Friday, October 16, 2009

The Joy of Youth Sports Now Available from Amazon

My book, The Joy of Youth Sports, is now available from Amazon for $8.95.

To view the Amazon product page go to The Joy of Youth Sports. The "Look Inside" feature is enabled for this book.

If you are affiliated with an organization that is interested in distributing this book to your member community, substantial discounts are available. Please contact for more information.

Here's the book's back cover:


Sunday, May 31, 2009

About Inside Youth Sports


Opportunity, knowledge, and fun are the foundation of a great experience in youth sports. Inside Youth Sports examines the many factors that impact this experience - and what parents, coaches, and players can do to better achieve an enjoyable, rewarding outcome. Pragmatic tips, techniques, anecdotes, and examples that help illustrate advocated principles are included.

Inside Youth Sport's primary audience is sport parents (in their various roles) - but articles directed toward players are also included.

Topics are labeled in one of three categories (Coach,Parent,Player) and include information for the respective audience. By clicking an item in the Category list in the left column, you will see all of the articles for that category.

New articles will initially be posted weekly. Comments are welcome!