How Should I Breathe When I Run?

How Should I Breathe When I Run?

Did you know that breathing inefficiently during your runs could be the reason you’re not progressing or meeting your running potential?

Most new runners don’t have a pattern to their breathing yet as they focus more on their running technique. As a runner, you may be thinking more about your stride, keeping your knees in line, pushing on and off while watching your elbows. You think more about maintaining a proper running form as you push yourself faster and farther.

And if you didn’t think that your breathing was an essential component to your running performance, you’d be wrong.

Nose or Mouth?

You need as much oxygen as possible while you’re running and you get the most oxygen through mouth breathing.

Nose breathing and chest breathing is much too shallow a form of breathing for running. They simply don’t bring in the adequate amount of oxygen you require and doesn’t fully expel your lungs when you exhale. For these reasons, the best runners don’t breathe through their noses when they run as it slows them down.

Breathing through your nose is mostly associated with meditation. Because the breaths are shallow, they put your mind and body in a calm and relaxed state. While running can be quite therapeutic for most, staying alert is crucial for runners and getting enough oxygen guarantees that.

Many experienced runners have developed a breathing rhythm to run to. What is a breathing rhythm?

Ask yourself how many steps you take during your inhale and how many you take during your exhale. If you take 2 steps as you breathe in and then 2 steps as you breathe out, your breathing rhythm is 2:2.

Remember that we’re not all the same. Breathing rhythms between individuals vary. Your running buddy may have a different breathing rhythm and forcing yourself to follow their pattern may hurt your running performance it doesn’t feel natural for you.

Instead, listen to your internal cues. Be aware of natural inclination to inhale and exhale with every step. Does breathing through your mouth feel right or do you find yourself inhaling through your nose? If you do, make the necessary corrections. You may struggle with the transition at first, but it will feel natural soon enough.

Ultimately, when it comes to a breathing technique when running, consistency is the most important thing. Not only will your running improve but your lungs and breathing muscles will get stronger.

How the Two-Adult Rule Can Save Your Child From Abuse

How the Two-Adult Rule Can Save Your Child From Abuse

The hard truth that all parents have to accept is that abuse does happen and it happens in youth leagues.

We don’t want our kids to miss out on the all the fun, learning, and exercise they will get from participating in youth sports. But we also fear that our child may become the victim of abuse.

We want to assume the best of people in general. We want more than anything to entrust our children’s coaches with their safety and assume that their passion for the sport and love for teaching kids is genuine. Unfortunately, the reality is that many people out there do use youth leagues as a means to get close to children for all the wrong reasons.

Sexual predators exist, and the most important step you can take as a parent to protect your kids is to make sure they are never alone with their coach or another adult in the organization.

You may have known your child’s coach for years or even be friends with them. They may even feel insulted that you would ever suspect them of such behavior. However, enforcing the Two-Adult Rule is as much for your kid’s protection as it is for the

The Two-Adult Rule requires that no fewer than two adults be present at all times when with a child.

The Two-Adult Rule is good because it:

Protects the child: Children are vulnerable to sexual abuse because they naturally trust their coaches. They’re often not given any reason not to. Parents don’t usually give their kids the sexual abuse talk until they start to feel it is necessary or begin to suspect something. Unfortunately, by that point, it may already be too late.

If the coach is never left alone with the child, they are protected from becoming a victim of grooming, molestation, or abuse.

Protects the coach: If the league has a rule that a coach and player can never be alone together, the coach will never find themselves in a situation where they have to defend themselves.

The smallest of accusations of any inappropriate behavior, touching or language on the part of the coach could potentially destroy their reputation and end their career. Even if the alleged behavior were later proven false, the emotional damage has already been done. And people may always be suspicious of that coach which will ruin their career in youth sports.

No opportunity for inappropriate behavior to occur means no opening for a sexual predator to strike and no allegations can be made. As parents and coaches, protect yourself and the kids by enforcing the Two-Adult Rule.

How to Handle Out-of-Control Parents of Youth Athletes

How to Handle Out-of-Control Parents of Youth Athletes

As a coach, you’ll encounter every kind of parent. While the majority of them will be good-natured, you’ll still likely meet some difficult parents who can be unreasonable and simply out-of-control.

Difficult parents are often the ones who are overly involved and meddle in their kids’ lives. While their intentions are good, their over protectiveness can result in ugly and unruly behavior.

These parents are the ones who complain when they feel their kids are being overlooked or humiliated. They get angry when their child is barely scratched or lightly bumped.

There are ways to avoid problems with out-of-control parents before they arise like having a parent meeting before the season starts. During this meeting, it’s crucial to set expectations. Go over the rules and guidelines. Some coaches even create a “parent code of conduct.”

However, despite our best intentions and preparation, parents may lose their way and forget everything that was discussed and agreed on. You’re now mid-season, and a difficult parent may be ruining the fun for everyone.

Here are a few tips on how to handle out-of-control parents:

 

Never Talk to a Parent Who is Yelling at You

This is a general rule, parent or not. The last thing you want is for the situation to escalate into a shouting match. If a parent approaches you yelling, calmly tell them that you will speak with them at a later time.

 

Talk to the Parent at a Later Time in Private

The parent may want to discuss the situation immediately after the game. There are even parents who will refuse to leave the venue until they’ve been heard. However, emotions are still likely heightened. Try to schedule your talk the day after the game.

 

Have Another Adult Present During Your Meeting

It’s ideal to have the assistant coach or someone else from the league organization present for the meeting with the parent. Another adult present would be a witness in the event that an incident occurs.

 

Hear Out Their Side Without Interrupting

It’s tempting to dispute their comments especially if they sound absolutely unreasonable. However, interrupting may only aggravate the situation. Hear them out.

 

Keep Your Cool

If the parent lost their cool at the game, there’s a big chance they may lose their cool during your meeting. Even if they’ve had an entire day and even slept off their anger, reliving the issue during your meeting may set them off again.

If they at any point start to speak to you in a language or tone that is unacceptable, tell them to stop. Otherwise, you will end the meeting. If this angers them even more, politely excuse yourself from the conversation.

 

Respond Responsibly

You may not agree with their argument but do acknowledge their points. Assure them that you understand where they’re coming from. Explain your side. At the end of the day, you and the parent do have something in common, and that’s to ensure that their child has the best possible sports experience.

The Pros and Cons of the “Every Kid’s a Winner” Philosophy

The Pros and Cons of the “Every Kid’s a Winner” Philosophy

You’ve likely heard both sides of this argument presented before, and it’s one we’re still on the fence about – should kids be subjected to the “every kid’s a winner” mentality?

For those unfamiliar with this style of coaching and athleticism, (or schooling), it’s associated with every child being praised and rewarded like a winner, no matter if they actually win or achieve last place. This includes giving out trophies, not officially counting the scores of matches and not officially counting anyone as a winner or loser.

There are definitely some cons to this culture of athleticism, but at the same time there are many obvious pros. Decide for yourself where you stand, after reading the below.

 Pros

One obvious pro to supporting every child like they’re a winner is boosting their self-esteem. Younger children especially take loss and failure very hard in a lot of cases. When they lose a game and are singled out as, quite literally, a loser (whether they caused the game to tip in their opponent’s favor or whether it was a team loss), their self-image takes a hit. Children take this incredibly personal, and while parents and coaches can have discussions with their children about how to handle failure, sometimes it doesn’t stick the way they’d like it to.

For parents and coaches, it is tempting to try and avoid disappointment by handing out rewards to all, and attempting to even the playing field.

It also helps promote a more positive sports atmosphere. If a child experiences loss after loss, this hinders how much fun they have playing sports and can lead them to want to quit. Children get incredibly frustrated when they try and fail, and this doesn’t promote a positive environment to have fun in.

 Cons

Similar to the original pro, the obvious con with the “every kid’s a winner” philosophy is how it promotes false ego inflation. Many parents believe that children need to deal with the reality of failure early in order to promote being a better-rounded person who handles future loss in a healthy way. The argument made is that children who are constantly rewarded for a loss will not be able to adjust to the reality of failing in real life.

In reality, adult life rarely reward failure with a trophy and a pat on the back – in most instances, there are consequences for failures, as well as disappointment.

Similarly, while this practice is prevalent in younger levels of league sports, it becomes rarer as kids move up in age groups, and in school sports. This can deal a harsh blow to a child who is suddenly faced with the reality of disappointment and sadness, because the usual “high” of the reward is missing after a loss or a cut.

What is your attitude on the topic? How is your league handling rewards and ranking? Email us at community@leaguenetwork.com with your comments!

Youth Sports: The Psychology of Winning and Losing

Youth Sports: The Psychology of Winning and Losing

In all sporting events, there will always be a winner and a loser.

In youth sports, the sting of defeat can be particularly traumatic for kids at this age haven’t yet developed the maturity and mental toughness to deal with a loss. They will feel ashamed and think of themselves as failures.

And without the guidance and support of their coach and parent, they may feel so distressed that they may want to give up the game entirely. And if the parent or coach has a “win-at-all” costs attitude, they may worsen the situation and lead the child to pull away from the sport further.

“The primary goal… should be to develop desirable psychological and social characteristics as well as physical skills and fitness… Winning, should be viewed as a consequence of the athlete’s physical and psychological development and not the primary focus of athletic involvement.” – (Cumming, 323)

It is natural to associate winning with success and to lose as failing. However, if young athletes are taught that there can be value in losing and that winning isn’t everything, their time spent playing sports will have a far better outcome and give them the skills and attitude to do better in life.

Young athletes who are only just discovering the harsh reality of loss may be surprised to learn that there is a “right” way to lose. The final score may say that your team has lost but what if the individual met all their personal goals during that game? Yes, there is naturally disappointment in a team loss, but there can still be an inner celebration for a personal triumph.

At the higher level of sports, losing can be especially impactful as it has an effect on the professional athlete’s livelihood and reputation. But at the youth sports level, there is no money involved except for the registration fee required for them to participate. Because there are no big contracts on the line, there should be no pressure on the part of the young athletes or the coaches, and their main focus should be on the enjoyment of the experience.

When a young athlete is taught not to direct all their emotions on winning, they appreciate the lessons learned from defeat. Their focus becomes less about winning and more on improvement, teamwork, and humility.

Teaching kids the “winning is everything” leads them to completely ignore the positive reasons why they joined sports in the first place. There is no denying that there can be great misery and heartbreak at suffering a loss, especially when the athlete feels they gave it their all. However, the best competitors learn from the loss and use the lessons they learn to strategically apply it in future games and build character.

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