All youth sports organizations should be committed to providing their young athletes with the safest and healthiest environment.
The terrifying sex abuse statistics should not be ignored:
- 90% of abusers are people that children knew and trusted
- 1 in 10 children will be victims of sexual abuse by the time they are 18
- Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States; more than 20-percent of these reports involve sexual abuse
While the topic of sexual abuse is an uncomfortable conversation to have, ignoring its reality and existence can lead to horrible outcomes. This is why youth sports organizations prepare for the worst by implementing a screening process for all their volunteers and coaches.
Running background checks on volunteers is necessary to avoid the potential consequences. For many youth activities, those in charge are volunteers. And while the intentions of the majority of them are good, it’s also questionable to an extent why these adults would be willing to give up their time to spend with kids.
One of the best tools that youth sports leaders have to protect their young athletes is a background check that involves the adult’s criminal record, driving record, a record for substance abuse, and any cases against them. While these criminal background checks are not 100% guaranteed to weed out predators, they can dramatically reduce the risk of someone getting involved in your youth league that shouldn’t be.
By making background checks mandatory, you’re already scaring off any predators who have a prior record. And those who refuse to undergo a background check will raise red flags. Those who have nothing to hide should have no problems with their backgrounds being checked. These checks will reveal if they are on the “sex offenders” list and if they’ve ever had issues such as assault, theft, drug offenses, and other criminal offenses.
Background checks are not just performed on coaches and volunteers but on all people involved in the organization, including managers and other hired workers who will be working in proximity to the children.
Some youth sports organizations may argue that they have limited budgets to run full background checks. However, as proven, it’s better to invest in a background check than run the risk of inviting a predator into your environment. The children’s safety should always be the top priority.
If you are participating in or planning to watch a sporting event during the cold weather, you should come prepared to stay warm and safe. Being unprepared in extremely cold weather will expose you to the risk of frostbite, frost nip, or hypothermia.
Before the day of the game, you can already get an idea of just how cold it will be by watching the local weather forecast on TV or checking the weather online. To be prepared in advance, you can know what the weather will be like at least one week in advance.
The best way to stay warm in all types of cold weather is by layering your clothes. For athletes, this may vary depending on the sport as each has different uniform specifications. However, most apparel that you wear to protect you from the cold weather is meant to be worn under the uniform such as long sleeve undershirts, leggings, gloves, socks, and caps.
Long sleeved undershirts may have a fleece lining that is designed to insulate the warmth. It’s made of a material that is thicker than regular undershirts and can be worn under sports jerseys. Leggings will keep your muscles warm; they are fitted and provide compression so that they can be worn under the uniform as well.
It is highly advisable for baseball players to wear gloves that were specifically designed for batting. They’re very durable and utilize technology that keeps your hands warm in cool weather while still allowing breath-ability in the heat. They’re soft but still offer superior grip.
Some athletes choose to wear an extra pair of socks. Wool socks work best at insulating the heat. However, it’s ideal that you pack an extra pair in case you soak them wet with sweat. Remember that you may still sweat despite the cold weather.
Did you know that most of your body’s heat escapes through your head? For this reason, wearing a cap is advisable for cold weather games. Wear one that covers your ears as your ears are extremely sensitive to cold weather. Some people have even complained about earaches due to cold air or cold wind exposure.
Beyond what you wear, what you eat and drink also has an effect on helping your body retain heat. To avoid hypothermia, stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the game. Warm drinks are particularly good for keeping you warm in cold weather. And food with high energy content will provide your body with the fuel it needs. By consuming enough calories, your energy levels will be maintained.
These days, it’s unusual to find a youth league that doesn’t have a website. People expect to find what they’re looking for online. And when they don’t, they question the credibility of the organization.
Parents want the convenience of going online to register their child, check schedules, find information on rosters. The league website is also the place to visit to share and view photos and connect with the community of others involved in the league.
Unfortunately, building a website from scratch can be costly. However, there’s an alternative to building a website from the ground up. League management software offers a cloud-based league management solution for leagues, teams, and associations that help them create websites, enable online registration, and manage schedules.
Here are steps to running a website for your youth league using league management software:
Find the right software
Choose the software that fits your needs. Not all league management solutions will offer website capabilities. Consider your requirements and budget when picking the right software. Features will range from the most basic to advanced. The good news is that even the solutions that offer advanced features don’t require that you have programming skills and are fairly easy to run and maintain yourself.
Promote individual team pages
Teams no longer need to build their own website if their league already has one. Your sports league website can have individual team pages where each team will have their own community of players, coaches, and parents. Updates, videos, pictures, and schedules can be posted on the team pages.
It’s important that your organization encourage parents and coaches to keep their team pages up-to-date so keep everyone well-informed and involved.
Update schedules, stats, and results
Your youth league community of parents, coaches, and players will rely on your website to keep them updates on schedules, standings, statistics, and game results. It is ideal to have a dedicated member of your staff to manage the website so that it doesn’t go ignored and outdated.
Some league management platforms even offer a live update feature. It will give your website a big league site feel. It’s also quite the treat for fans such as relatives who live far away and can’t make it to the game to feel they haven’t completely missed it. They can follow the game play-by-play in real-time.
What features do you need for your youth league website?
For your child to build strong muscles and bones and maintain a basic level of health, they should be getting adequate exercise. According to the CDC guidelines and the Department of Health and Human Services, kids ages 6 and up should be getting at least an hour of physical activity each day.
At first, it may sound like a lot. But when you think about how much energy kids have and how much they move around, your kid may already be getting this amount of physical activity in a day. However, if you feel that your child is not getting enough exercise, encourage them to participate in activities that are age-appropriate and fun. Offer variety!
Think about what activities your child enjoys. If you live in an area close to nature, you can take them on hikes. As they explore their surroundings, collect leaves and rocks, they won’t even realize that they’re getting exercise.
Does your child love music? Turn some energetic and fun music for the both of you to dance to in the living room.
Do they love sports? By the age of 6, most kids already show if they are sports-ready. Organized sports such as soccer or baseball is a great way for them to stay fit. Introduce them to other activities such as swimming or ballet by letting them attend a few classes to see if they are naturally drawn to one.
Whether it’s sports or regular trips to the park, here is a guideline for the three types of physical activity your child should engage in:
Hiking, skateboarding, and even walking to school are all good forms of aerobic activity. Aerobic activity gets your kids hearts and lungs pumping, making them breathe heavier than normal. Light aerobic activity every day for at least 60 minutes is great, but they should also be including vigorous-intensity aerobic activity at least 3 days a week; this can include brisk walking and running.
Younger kids are already engaging in muscle strengthening activities more than you realize. They’re climbing trees and playing on bars. Other activities that use their body weight as resistance such as gymnastics or tug-of-war are excellent for the muscles.
To ensure that your child is building strong bones, encourage them to run, jump, and skip. Jumping rope and hopscotch are fun activities for kids. Sign your kid up for gymnastics, basketball, tennis, or volleyball if it interests them.
While an hour each day seems like a lot, it’s important that children get the right amount of physical activity every day. But remember, that for kids who are playing sports seriously, it’s also essential that they get at least one day of rest for the week. Start them young so that they develop the habit, leading them to a healthy lifestyle throughout their entire lives.