Equal playing time is a major topic for discussion when talking about youth sports. While some coaches and parents, view it as a way to win games and develop only the most promising players, others don’t agree. They argue that playing sports at the youth level should be focused on the love of the game, not on achievement.
However, even with that attitude, there are definite benefits of equal playing time that make it a positive model of coaching young athletes.
It Creates a Balanced Team
Equal playing time in youth sports, especially up to the age of 12, is an integral part of providing every player with match practice. What they learn during practice and drilling has to be tried out in a real game environment so that each player can successfully adopt it.
It’s also more important for a coach training a team at this level to have the same roster and work with players to develop skills individually. Kids grow at different rates. A star-player with great talent and potential in one season might decline as other players start catching up. But a balanced team can rely on teamwork to overcome specific skill deficits.
It Reduces Fatigue, Burnout, and Injuries
When coaches only use one starting lineup, they run the risk of increasing fatigue and burnout for those players. Potentially, this can lead to injuries for the players with the highest game time, while the benched players might start leaving the team.
With equal playing time in youth sports, kids equally participate in every game. Frequent substitution and rotation of the lineups increases game time, experience level and reduces the risk of injury. It also gives the coach far greater tactical maneuverability when preparing for different games. It is especially useful during the height of the season when kids play both tournaments and regular league matches.
It Develops Healthy Friendships
Friendship is another positive side of the fair play. With everyone contributing to the team, it raises spirits and work rate and lowers jealousy and competitiveness among players. It can also help to create in-game partnerships, which benefit the game of the team.
For example, a partnership between a quarterback and offensive tackle means higher passing or running and more yards gained. In baseball, an interchangeable pair of pitchers and catchers can help the team surprise opposing teams with unconventional plays. While in basketball and soccer, this translates into more assists and shots per game.
What’s more, friendships on the field are quality relationships off the field as well. It helps each child find group acceptance, and helps them develop healthier social behavior.
It Promotes Fun Over Winning
Finally, equal playing time means everyone on the team is playing for fun and not for winning. It is an essential aspect of sports, as it improves the physical, psychological, emotional and social well-being of each player.
The Final Answer
So, should there be equal playing time in youth sports? Absolutely. It means that players receive the same support from their teammates, as the team does from the whole community. This type of sportsmanship among players, parents, and coaches is one of the main reasons League Network will continue to do everything it can to promote and help small youth sports organizations.
A pro athlete isn’t born overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance to become successful. It also requires a considerable amount of support from their family, friends, coaches, and their entire community.
Athletes are aware of this. That’s why each year professionals give something back to the most vulnerable social groups to improve the global community. And when it comes to helping others, these five pro athletes are the most charitable in the world.
- Cristiano Ronaldo – CR7
At the age of 33, CR7 one again made headlines this summer by making the switch from Real Madrid to Juventus after nine years in Spain. But besides being one of the greatest players in soccer history, he is also an active philanthropist.
Over the course of his career, Ronaldo has donated tens of millions of dollars to various local, health, welfare and environmental charities across the world. Among the most significant contributions was the $5 million he donated to Nepal after the 2015 earthquake; over $1.7 million to fund schools in Gaza, and the $680,000 to various NGOs in one day.
- Serena Williams
Serena Williams is one of the best female tennis players of all time, and one of the most charitable athletes. Among her countless Grand Slam and WTA trophies and titles, she has also received many awards for her charity work. Her accolades include Celebrity Role Model Award by the Avon Foundation for work in fighting breast cancer.
Through the work of the Serena Williams Foundation, she has funded the construction of a Secondary School in Matooni, Kenya; raised funds for the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and has been a UN Goodwill Ambassador since 2011.
- LeBron James
The best basketball player in the world also has a global reputation for his charity work. After leaving Cleveland for Miami in 2010, James raised over $3 million to fund boys and girls basketball clubs across the US. However, one of his most significant achievements comes from the LeBron James Family Foundation which he established. The foundation improves the lives of children through education. In 2015, the charity spent $41 million funding students from Akron to attend college for free.
- John Cena
Although he might seem like a tough guy, the WWE wrestler is one of the most charitable athletes on the planet. Until now, John Cena has granted over 500 wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He has also been a significant voice when it comes to raising awareness for cancer and anti-bullying campaigns, most notably during his WrestleMania XXVIII when he wore “Rise Above Cancer” and “Rise Above Hate” T-shirts.
- J. J. Watt
One of the most charitable players in the NFL, J.J. Watt has raised millions in funds that have helped various individuals and organizations across America. His most significant contribution came in 2017 when he helped to raise $37 million to help Houston recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Additionally, he has helped raise funds for schools across the continental United States, and after the Santa Fe High School shooting, he even offered to pay for the funerals of the victims.
Support Youth Sports
League Network is an organization dedicated to improve leagues and encourage participation in youth sports across America. We make it simple to set up fundraising campaigns for sports organizations which have helped over 41,000 young athletes take part in their favorite game. If you want to join us, contact us and let’s make a difference in your community.
It’s hard to find someone who isn’t on social media these days. Everywhere you turn someone is chatting, posting, liking or sharing something on their phone.
While you may remember a time when such a thing didn’t exist; for millennial athletes, social media is a reality they grew up in. As with everything else in life, the influence it has on young athletes can be both good and bad.
If you don’t teach your young athlete to use it responsibly, it can hurt their sports career before it even begins. On the other hand, if they don’t use the advantages of social media, they might never create a job in sports. And with all of this to take into consideration, what is the impact of social media on young athletes?
Distraction from Sports
It is common that social media hurts a young athlete’s career. Coaches know this all too well, especially during practice when someone forgets to park their phone in the locker room and starts posting a live story on the field.
Young athletes need to understand that there are a time and a place for these kinds of things. But until they do, coaches and parents need to step in.
A coach can issue a “no phone” policy that applies to everyone, even himself. Once everyone suits up, it’s off the phones for the whole team. Since everyone is equally treated, it will be easier for athletes to accept the policy.
Young athletes who participate in team sports can miss out on an opportunity to socialize with their teammates by not disconnecting from their phones.
Real-life interaction with same age children is one of the ways we learn and develop different social and communication skills. A practice session is where this can easily happen since there are a lot of situations where you need to speak and read body language to receive information.
Lack of personal interactions can seriously harm group dynamics and prevent the establishment of teamwork, especially in new teams.
On the other hand, connecting with players online from the same team, even the coach can improve communication off the pitch. Staying in contact with another person is how people remain relevant to each other. If practice occurs only once or twice a week, it’s hard to consider your teammate a friend.
However, when athletes remain connected via social media, it allows them to communicate with one another, which can improve how they speak during games.
Connecting with Favorite Athletes
One of the ways professional players (active and retired) remain relevant is by interacting with fans through social media. It is a fantastic opportunity for young athletes to connect with their role model which can boost their motivation.
It doesn’t take much to come into contact with an athlete, all you have to do is send a request and initiate communication. And since many pro athletes post tutorials and tips, their younger followers can learn new things which can improve their game.
Despite the effects of social media, it’s here to stay. For young athletes, this means understanding the negative side and use the positive aspects to benefit their career. And being smart how they manage their time on social media, their athletic performance will improve when they come on the field.
When our children were younger, sports were more about having fun and making friends. But by the time they reach high school, sports become increasingly more competitive, and teen athletes start to think of their futures and how games play a role. Even their parents take their participation in sports seriously and may begin to view the athletics program as their child’s ticket to a college scholarship.
By the time their kid is a junior or senior in high school, parents start to think of ways to give their children a competitive edge. Some parents hire personal trainers, and others to monitor their diets. The more competitive athletic programs become, the more athletes need to think about their bodies and health. Teens will want to gain body weight and mass while reducing body fat. They will need more energy and strength to compete on a higher level. And for this reason, parents start to consider giving their kids supplements which are promoted to help athletic performance.
How Safe are Sports Supplements For My Child?
When deciding if the young athlete should take supplements, parents should first understand that sports supplements are considered dietary supplements. And to make it to market, nutritional supplements are not required to undergo U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Therefore, they are not required by any laws to follow manufacturing practices that guarantee safety, effectiveness, and quality.
Therefore, any supplements you give your child are not regulated, and the only word you will rely on is what you will find on the manufacturer’s label. In the US, most supplements in the market are considered safe as any supplements that have adverse effects or reported to be dangerous are immediately taken off the shelves.
The Most Common Supplements for Teens
Sports supplements are also called ergogenic aids and may include vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids. Creatine is one of the most commonly used supplements for high school athletes because it claims to increase exertion and improves athlete’s response time.
Protein is another common supplement for teens who want to “bulk up.” Protein supplements promote increased muscle mass by providing the body with the foundation it needs to create amino acids to build muscle tissue faster.
HMB, whey, caffeine, beta-alanine, and fish oil are other supplements many high school athletes use to enhance performance. Each come with their specific recommended dosage and warnings. Caffeine, for example, when taken in excess can cause jitters, increased heartbeat, cardiac arrhythmia, and dizziness. Mostly, it would do the opposite of enhancing athletic performance.
Overall, dietary supplements are considered safe for teens as long as you buy them from a reliable source, and you don’t overdo it. In the right dosage, they can help your child gain mass and increase their energy. However, taking too many supplements can have adverse effects such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
You should also consult with your child’s doctor or dietician first. The reality is that there are many fake supplements out there which are typically sold online. Not only are they ineffective but they may be filled with chemicals that can cause harmful side effects.
Tryouts offer kids an excellent opportunity to show their skill and potential in a sport they love, and hopefully, be successful in making it on the team.
But as exciting as team tryouts can be, expect your child to be full of emotions. Even kids who have natural talent and seem like a shoo-in for the team will have some anxiety. They are eager to impress the coach and future teammates; they’re afraid to fail or embarrass themselves.
No matter how talented your child is, they need to get their head in the game because mental setbacks can affect their confidence and therefore, sabotage their performance. Here are seven tips to help your young athlete prepare for team tryouts both physically and mentally:
Work on Weak Points
Kids want to impress the coach with their skills. And while it’s great to show off talent, the coach also wants to see their potential. If they feel that their weakness is endurance, help them work on getting stronger. If they need work on their form, guide them and help them put in the time to refine it.
Get in Shape
While skill and technique are important, remember that their health is too. Coaches want to see a good foundation; as conditioning will become a big part of their practice time. At tryouts, some of the first kids who get weeded out are the ones who are out of shape.
Plan the Day
Your child should be prepared with a schedule on the day of tryouts. The night before, they should get enough sleep. Make sure they have all the stuff they need like shoes and other gear. Being prepared for the day allows them to schedule their meals and snacks so that they’re sufficiently energized and hydrated for the day.
Tryouts will consume a lot of physical and emotional energy; the last thing your child should do is arrive hungry and irritated. Make sure your kid starts the day with a healthy breakfast. And remind them to hydrate throughout the day and not to eat a heavy meal just before tryouts.
Arrive early if possible. The last thing your child should do is arrive late and make a wrong first impression on the coach. When your kid comes early or on time, it proves passion for the game and respect for the coach and fellow athletes. Being early also allows your kid to settle in and calm their nerves. It’s also a great time to get a quick warm-up in before the tryouts begin.
Don’t Be Overconfident
Confidence is essential during tryouts. However, you should remind your child not to overdo it. Overconfidence can kill performance, and it can lead them to attempt a skill they haven’t mastered yet.
Show Team Spirit
While many of the kids trying out will not make the cut and won’t make the team, it doesn’t mean that your child shouldn’t treat the others like teammates. The coach will look for kids who show sportsmanship and teamwork. Encourage your child to cheer for the other kids and show their support.
As a parent, one of the best things you can do to help your child prepare for tryouts is to encourage them to have fun. Preparation for tryouts should have ideally started weeks ago, and now is the time to relax, trust their training and love for the sport.