Many things factor into how well a sport can be played. The
equipment, the weather conditions, the type of field, are all factors. That’s
why we wanted to discuss the difference between synthetic turf and natural
grass field in youth sports and how each affects the way the youth players play
The Benefits of Grass
Some would say that the main benefit of grass is that it’s
natural and looks far better than synthetic turf. However, that’s mostly a
matter of opinion. The more measurable benefits are certainly the facts that
grass does not overheat, and it helps in improving the quality of the air the
Unlike all synthetic grass, natural grass cannot overheat
during the summer when there are more games, and the temperatures are much higher.
When water runs through real grass, the moisture remains in it, which helps it
stay cooler, something that is not the case with synthetic turf.
As for better air quality, grass, just like all other
plants, breaks down pollutants from the air and produces oxygen. That’s useful
for all of us anywhere, but it’s especially helpful if the field in question is
in a larger city where pollution is on a much higher level than in other areas.
The Benefits of Turf
The main advantages of synthetic turfs or any type of
artificial fields are the fact that they are easy to maintain and that they
have a much longer life expectancy. It doesn’t matter how much playing happens
on that turf; it is evident that this type of field lasts much longer than
other types of fields, especially natural grass.
The synthetic grass used in turfs is not immune to problems
as it’s not resistant to tears and rips that soccer shoes and other athletic
equipment usually cause. However, these things still happen less often than
with other fields. That’s also one of the main reasons why there’s less
maintenance required in these fields. There is no mowing and watering to be
done, and there’s no care and fertilizing needed as is the case with natural
grass. There is only occasional rinsing and brushing.
Which is Better?
It’s not an easy question to answer all in all. It seems to
depend on what you and the players require from the field and which benefits
you feel are more desirable.
However, it’s also worth mentioning the injuries that can
occur depending on the type of field the youth players are using. We’ve already written about it before, and it
seems that all research points to the fact that artificial or synthetic turf
can cause more injuries to players than natural grass can.
Now, for some, this might be enough of
a reason not to use synthetic turf as the preferred type of fields on which the
youth athletes are playing. However, it’s still evident that if we are going to
care about the well-being of our children, we shouldn’t opt for turf instead of
grass, even though there’s more maintenance involved.
If your child is suffering from stress and anxiety due to
school or something else, you should consider getting them interested in
sports. Even though there are fewer children playing sports now than before,
you should work towards changing that but getting your children to participate
in a youth sport of their choosing, or even more than one.
We say this because sports has scientifically been proven to
help with anxiety and stress in both adults and children. Let’s take a look at
how that works in youth sports and how your child can benefit.
It’s More Than
Another Additional Activity
Physical activity should not be considered as a chore, even
though some children might feel like that. Physical activity and sports, in
general, are more beneficial than they are problematic. Even though your child
might already have a lot to do every day, and by adding another ‘chore’ you
both might feel like it would do harm, the reality is the exact opposite.
Playing sports will bring your child a lot. They will start
leading a healthier lifestyle and will improve their social skills and
cooperation. They will learn and gain a lot that will eventually benefit them
in later life – competitiveness, ambition, and they will build character.
All of this is why your child should play sports even if
that means that they will have a lot more to do every day. It will be stressful
at first as those problems don’t go away overnight, but once they get into it,
these practices and matches will ease their anxiety and stress.
What Do Sports Do for
They stimulate the
production of endorphins
Sports and other physical activities are essential when it
comes to our endorphin production as they stimulate its production. Endorphin
is, as you probably already know, responsible for our mood. Essentially, youth
sports can help your child feel better and thus ease stress and other problems.
It might seem like something that won’t work on stress and
anxiety, but in reality more socializing can help your child in many ways.
Children need socializing, the need to make bonds with other children, and they
need friendship. The best way to get all of that is by playing team sports.
That socialization will eventually relieve them of stress and anxiety with
which they’ve been struggling before.
They lower depression
levels and promote better sleep
Finally, it’s worth noting that there
are a lot of studies that show that sports can help ease the symptoms of
depression and can also promote improved sleep patterns. Sleep on its own is a
great way to alleviate anxiety and stress, and when sports induce it, it’s even
The Bottom Line Once you consider all of this, it becomes quite evident that youth sports can benefit your child in more ways than you previously thought. It’s thus imperative to get your child to play sports if they are having problems with stress and anxiety. However, make sure you are not pushing them too hard because over-training can bring these problems back.
Football is still America’s game in U.S. high schools, drawing more
than a million athletes each year. But concerns over the lasting effects
of concussions have caused youth participation in the sport to dip in
But many youth programs are finding it difficult to pay the $495
price tag, sparking questions of fairness: should the safest helmet only
be available to those who can afford it?
Five Seattle-area football programs announced
that they would be using the Vicis helmet earlier this month, but
several are from the region’s wealthiest areas, such as Bellevue and
Mercer Island, Wash.
“We’re definitely not in the best position to pay for [the helmets]
or fundraise for them in our community,” said Andrew Muller, the Ballard
program’s league president.
Inequality in youth sports has been documented over the past several years, with some pointing
to the high cost of youth sports as a reason for declining athletic
participation. In Washington State, the governing athletics association
recently approved an amendment intended to help low-income schools be more competitive in sports.
But protecting a teenager’s brain adds another layer to the debate.
Justin Pressley, head football coach at Volunteer High School in
Church Hill, Tennessee, told GeekWire that the high price point is
prohibitive for most teams.
“I actually really love the Vicis helmets. I would love for our kids
to get a chance to wear them,” he said in an email. “If it’s truly the
safest, it has to be affordable for everyone if they care about the
sport of football.”
Pressley estimated that it would cost $30,000 to equip his youth team
with Vicis helmets. For high school teams, the cost would be even
higher, since older students need to buy the $950 Vicis ZERO1 helmet.
Nearly half of parents say they would sway their kids away from playing football due to concerns over concussions, according to a poll last year from NBC and The Wall Street Journal. Participation in high school football has declined 6.5 percent in the past decade as increasing research links the sport to brain disease.
Another crowdfunding effort
in Boca Raton, Fla. aims to purchase Vicis helmets for schools in the
area. The effort was spearheaded by Adam Levine, whose son Miles
suffered a serious concussion last year during a football game. Several
other individual players and teams have turned to websites like GoFundMe
to raise money for the helmets.
Levine said that the players at his local school, who live in a
wealthy area, are still “wearing the helmets that I wore when I was
there.” Levine received more than $50,000 in support to help pay his
son’s medical bills, but has only been able to raise $500 toward the new
“[The Vicis helmets are] really expensive,” he said. “No public school is spending that kind of money on helmets.”
The ZERO1 Youth helmet is more than double the price of the
second-rated helmet in the Virginia Tech safety rankings, the Xenith
Youth X2E+. But it’s also less expensive than the third-rated helmet,
the Schutt Youth F7, which sells for $570.
The difference in performance between the top two helmets was stark:
Xenith’s helmet came in 1.4 points behind Vicis’ on a 5-point scale,
which measured the ability to reduce acceleration due to impact.
Vicis has raised $84 million since spinning out of the University of
Washington in 2014. After only two years on the market, 28 NFL teams and
120 NCAA programs now use the company’s helmets.
But the startup’s long-term goal is to offer its products to younger
athletes. Vicis first introduced the youth version of its ZERO1 last
fall and will begin deliveries of the helmet in June. Vicis’ youth
version is nearly half the cost of its ZERO1 adult helmet, which retails
Tony Titus, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Vicis,
said the company has invested $20 million into research and development
to create its helmets for youth and adult players.
“The thing we won’t ever sacrifice — and haven’t — is to put the
money and the time in up front to design a really good product,” he
said. “We want to make our product as accessible as possible, but not at
the cost of performance. There’s always a challenge when you innovate
that you don’t want to leave anybody behind.”
Vicis has group discounts for youth football programs that can reduce
the cost of helmets by as much as 20 percent. It also offers financing
programs and has partnered with FundMyTeam, a crowdfunding website for
youth sports teams, to offer fundraising services at a reduced rate.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers participated in a $28.5 million funding round
last year that coincided with the launch of the youth helmet. “We
invested in VICIS because its commitment to player safety — specifically
at the youth level — is one we wanted to support,” Rodgers said in a
statement at the time.
For Muller, the Ballard football coach who is fundraising to purchase
the Vicis helmets, the decision to go with Vicis was “a no-brainer.”
Muller’s players have tested helmets for Vicis in the past and have even
appeared as models in the company’s marketing.
“I love the game of football. I don’t want to see it go away,” he
said. “But I also want to make sure that we’re doing everything possible
to make sure our kids are playing the game as safely as possible.”
Vicis said it has sold thousands of the new youth helmets, but most programs won’t place helmet orders until June or July.
“Over time, as we achieve volume and cost savings, we are going to pass that along to make it more accessible,” said Titus.
It’s worth noting that the world’s best athletes have
pre-game routines, and it’s been like that for as long as we can remember. But
why is that the case? Do these routines play any significance in these
In this article, we will give you three compelling reasons
which adequately explain why pre-game routines are essential for every athlete
They Are the Best Preparation Method
First and foremost, pre-game routines are the best
preparation method an athlete can use. Why? Mostly because habits develop your
abilities and skills, they essentially get you ready for the match ahead. An excellent pre-game routine will enable you to
ascertain everything you know you can do essentially.
Routines do this by making sure that everything you have
learned in practice will now be effectively performed in the game. You can
develop these routines during practice and repeat them before a match, and that
should be enough to get you truly ready for the game.
They Build Confidence in Your Abilities
The only thing in a game that you can control is yourself.
You can do nothing about the weather conditions or the knowledge of your
opponents. You can barely even control how your team performs. The only thing
that you can control is your playing
and your ability.
Even when you’re a great player, you’ll still lose faith in
yourself from time to time, which is where routines will come in handy. They
enable a player to build their confidence and get them mentally ready for the
game at hand.
They Calm You Down
We all, as human beings, love routines. We like having some
consistency about a lot of things in our lives. It calms us down because it
reassures us that everything is alright. That all works on a deep psychological
level and in an effort not to get too technical – routines are familiar, we
know how they unfold and what will happen, and this certainty inherently breeds
The same can be said for sports and pre-game routines. By
repeating particular moves, we’ll naturally feel safer and thus more calm in
that period when most athletes are under stress. The game that’s about to start
won’t be a scary thing anymore once all the frequent moves, i.e., your routine,
have been performed.
Build Your Perfect Routine
There’s no routine out there that can help you achieve what
you want to achieve, but you can certainly build one for yourself.
Every player needs to take a look at what works best for
them and develop that into a sequence of moves that will work as a pre-game
If you are a coach, you should explain
this to your players and get them to start developing their routines if they
don’t have ones. Explain to them that the habit will end up being more than
merely helpful. They might even lead them to have the best game of their lives.
If you’re interested in more articles like this
one, feel free to take a look at our blog, or contact
us if you want to get more information.
It often happens in youth sports that the coach chooses to
use the same players many times over. It leaves the parents of the kids not
getting to play puzzled and sometimes angry.
Why is the coach not picking my child? Do they not like my
child? Is my child not good at this sport? There are a lot of questions that
naturally arise in such situations, and all of these are valid concerns. There
can be a lot of reasons why a coach is choosing certain players and not others.
However, the reality is usually straightforward. The coach
chooses specific players because they think those are the best players on the
team and the coach wants their team to win.
Having Favorites – Is It Good?
For many, this is the clear case of a coach having
favorites, and it can get very annoying for both the looked over players and
their parents. In the end, the most important thing for both players and their
parents is for the players to play the game. Winning matters, but playing is more important
to most of those involved.
We at League Network believe that youth sports need
to be more about playing and having fun and not about winning. Yes, winning
does matter, but it can’t always come at the cost of most players having the
chance to shine.
In youth sports, it’s essential for the children, especially
in their pre-teen days, to have enough chances to learn and train – and they
can’t do that unless they get the opportunity to play in matches.
So, mostly, having favorites cannot be a good thing,
especially as it leads to coaches rarely using other players, which leads to
resentment and a desire to stop playing the sport altogether.
What Can You Do?
If you’re a parent of a child not getting enough chances to
play, the first thing that you should do is discuss this with the coach. Most
coaches are reasonable, and they just got carried away with their desire to
win. They will give your child a chance if you explain to them what’s going on.
However, sometimes coaches will not listen to reason, and
they will remain firm in their stance to only choose their favorites as that’s
the best way for them to win the game.
In such cases, the only thing that you can do is to get your
child to practice more and try to become much better.
On the other hand, in some situations coaches have favorites
because of their relationship with the parents – for example, the parents are
their friends, or they are wealthy and support the school, and they demand
their child to play. In such cases, it can even happen that the child is a
terrible player, so such favoritism is bringing no one any good.
In these cases, the only thing that can be done is for a
larger group of parents to confront the coach and try and convince him or her
to turn over a different leaf and stop having favorites.
All in all, a conversation is always the best course of
action when coaches are playing favorites.