In recent years, research has shown that children are
leaving sports too early. According to a study done by the Aspen
Institute, children quit playing sports by age 11 (on average). The increased
number of children quitting sports at such an early age is contributing to the
epidemic of physical inactivity. The epidemic has been getting increasingly
worse over the past 30 years in the U.S. and is dubbed as a global public
health problem by the World Health Organization.
Physical inactivity can lead to a wide range of health
problems, such as:
- Obesity and overweight
problems during childhood and into adulthood
- Cardiovascular disease
For kids, playing sports is one of the best ways to have fun
and stay physically active. But what’s the problem? What are the reasons behind
our children’s decisions to quit sports altogether?
If a child is on a team but never gets a chance to play
meaningful minutes, then the child is going to quit. The same goes for kids who
get pulled out of the game after even the slightest mistake. Kids need and want
to play, and it means a lot to them, not how famous their coach is or how good
their team is. Parents and coaches who overemphasize winning at young ages are
creating a negative culture that doesn’t allow kids to develop at their own
natural pace. When coaches only let the best players play to catch a win, they
drive many children out of sports – many of whom may be late bloomers.
According to a 2014 study, youth athletes were asked why they
play sports, and the majority answered that they played sports because it was
fun. Youth athletes have fun when they are getting playing time, when being
treated respectfully by teammates, parents, and coaches, and when they are
trying their best. In the study, practicing with private trainers, playing
tournaments, and winning weren’t included as characteristics of having fun.
Encouragement and respect are the traits of a great coach.
Nobody likes to be disrespected by friends, family, colleagues, or even
strangers. However, kids often get disrespected when making a mistake, such as
missing a shot or making a bad pass. In that case, leaving sports is inevitable
because a disrespectful coach can damage young athletes’ confidence.
- Not Owning the Experience
Children don’t want their every move to be scrutinized or
criticized by adults. It leads to loss of ownership of their experience, so
they leave sports and pursue their other interests. If you were wondering why
many kids like playing video games for so long, it’s because there’s no one
standing there, criticizing their every move. Good coaching doesn’t take away children’s
autonomy – kids should be allowed to make their own decisions. Otherwise, the
enjoyment gets sucked out of sports.
- Being Afraid to Make Mistakes
One of the main reasons that kids quit sports is because
they get benched, yelled at, or criticized when they make mistakes. Players cannot develop in an
environment where they fear mistakes and where they aren’t encouraged to try
and fail. Failure is an important part of the entire development process.
Parents and coaches who second-guess every action or decision players take or
shout comments on the sideline create a culture that makes young players decide
to step out of the game.
To become skillful and proficient, it
takes years of practice. Coaches and parents shouldn’t expect young athletes to
make the perfect decision and action every time or not to make mistakes.
Otherwise, poor treatment and taking the fun out of it will make more and
more kids get out of sports, contributing to the epidemic of physical
inactivity in sports.
Every coach aiming to be a great coach needs to learn how to
run the tryouts properly. We know that this is essential knowledge, which is
why we wanted to help you with some advice and tips that will enable you to run
A Good Plan Is a Necessity
No tryouts can be accomplished successfully unless you’ve
prepared a plan for it. The method needs to include the athlete check-in but
also a detailed overview of everything that you want to achieve with your
players. These accomplishments should be comprehensive, meaning they need to
include specific skills, team situations, physical testing, drills, and more.
The plan shouldn’t omit the staff, and it should include
what everyone on the staff will be doing during the tryouts. No one should have
too much to do, and all work needs to be separated according to the abilities
of everyone on the staff.
When the plan is ready, you can conduct a session to see if
it will all work well in practice.
You Need to Have all
the Equipment Prepared
The equipment we are talking about is all the equipment used
by you, the staff, and the players. Make a checklist of everything needed and
go through it once all the things are collected, prepared, and ready.
Never forget to have a tryout evaluation form or at least a
printed list of players to take notes on. The Forms need a clipboard as a
basis, and you need pens and pencils to write on them.
Furthermore, all players should have name tags through which
you can identify them and stay organized.
You should also keep a fully charged phone or an extra
battery as you’ll have to use it for taking pictures and videos when you need
and to keep track of the time.
In the end, never forget your whistle or water and snacks
for both the players and the staff. You don’t want anyone getting dehydrated or
spending energy on an empty stomach.
Don’t Forget Warm-Ups
and Cool Downs
For some reason, warm-ups are often overlooked in tryouts,
which is why you should make sure they are included. Every player needs to
properly warm up their muscles as that will reduce the chance of injury.
Warm-ups are also useful for keeping athletes focused and
for keeping them in the same area. They are also beneficial for you if you need
time to talk to the parents.
As much as stretching matters before
physical activities, they also matter immediately afterward. A cool down is a
bit different from the warm-up as it should be a period where players are doing
some more gentle stretches designed to get their heart rates back to normal.
The Bottom Line
If you can follow everything laid out here, you’ll have no
problems while running tryouts. However, remember that everything needs to be
done on time and according to schedule.
Now all that’s left for you is to contact
us if you happen to have some questions.
As an athlete, a lot of sweat goes into your practice, but a lot of it ends up in your equipment. After a while, a mystery odor starts to form. As the smell worsens, you realize it’s coming from your sports bag. And when washing the bag doesn’t work, and you want to rule out throwing it away, the only option left is to get creative. To help you remove the smell, here are a few creative ways to freshen up your sports bag before your next practice.
- Use Baking Soda with a Few Drops of Essential Oil
Take out a coffee filter and put in a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. Carefully pour a few drops of essential oils and stir it into the filter. Baking soda reacts with the liquid so make sure you take your time. Then use a rubber band to seal off the filter, and put the DIY odor remover into your sports bag. Leave it overnight so the baking soda sachet can absorb the moisture and gives it a pleasant scent of lavender or cedar pine.
- Place a Few Tea Bags Inside
Put three tea sachets into the bag and leave them inside until your next practice. In a couple of days, the herbs inside the filter bag will release their scent and replace the odor in your sports bag. And you can use the same hack for your sneakers, too.
- Wipe It Down with Vodka
Vodka is a clear, odorless beverage with a very high percentage of alcohol. It works because when alcohol is applied to another type of moisture their chemicals mix and blend. As the alcohol evaporates when exposed to air, over time the odor will disappear leaving your sports bag odorless.
- Fill It Up with Dry Sheets
Toss a couple of dry cotton sheets into the sports bag to fill it up, and leave them inside for a couple of days. Because the sheets are dry, they will absorb the moisture left over from your sweaty equipment. Keep in mind though, while your bag will be free from smell, you need to wash the sheets.
- Toss in Some Lemon and Orange Peels
To remove the “mystery” smell from your bag, peel two oranges and two lemons and toss the peels into the sports bag. Leave it for a couple of days, then dispose of the peels and check the smell. Now, the bag has a fragrant citrus scent that you will enjoy.
- Freeze the Bag
Remove everything from the bag, place it into a ziplock bag, seal it and put it on a clear shelf in your freezer. Let it remain in the freezer for overnight or a couple of days. The subzero temperature will kill off any odor-causing bacteria, and leave your sports bag smelling much fresher than before.
- Fill the Sports Bag with Coffee
Put a pound of coffee in your sports bag and shake it for a couple of minutes. Leave the bag overnight, and then shake it again. After a couple of days, the coffee should have absorbed all the moisture. All you have to do then is use a vacuum to suck the leftover coffee from your bag.
Losing is a hard pill to swallow in any sport. So it’s crucial to accept defeat, remain positive, and move on to the next challenge. But kids don’t have this ability. For most, losing a game can be very disheartening. Coaches and parents have to step into these situations to recover kids’ self-confidence, teach them how to overcome defeat, and motivate them for the next game.
Listen to Your Child
After the game, take a moment to listen to your child. Allow them to retell the game and get angry if they need to, but only to an extent. Let them tell their story and expose their feelings to you.
But be attentive to what they say and how they say it. If the child is disrespectful to the official, teammates, or the coach, interrupt them and don’t pass up the opportunity to correct their behavior. The same goes if they start to break or hit things in their fit of range.
Help Them Understand Their Feelings
Getting angry, sad, disappointed, or frustrated is normal after a loss. It’s as much part of sports as it is life, and your child needs to understand this. After they finish speaking, let them identify their emotions. Ask them:
- How do you feel at the moment?
- Why are you angry/sad/disappointed?
- What would change those feeling?
- How can you reach that sort of outcome?
Remaining calm and leading the conversation in this direction will help your child reasonably cope with their emotions. As they age, their coping mechanism will form. It will let them rationalize the problem to find a solution.
Praise Their Efforts
Praise your child no matter the outcome. If they are accustomed to hearing words of approval from you when they do well at practice, commend their effort even when the results aren’t favorable. Praise their hard work and level of commitment, and get them used to the fact.
Instead of saying, “Congratulations, you were the best player on the pitch,” say “I like the amount of effort you put to help your teammates today. Great job!” It signals the importance of teamwork over winning, and that you will always recognize and acknowledge hard work in spite of the result.
Don’t Criticize Their Efforts
Despite the loss, you have to remain supportive. Never criticize your child. If you reprimand their effort or performance, it can put them off of sport altogether. So, instead of using negative language like “You should have done better,” use assertive statements like “I think you have the ability to do better next time.”
Additionally, you should offer to help them practice their game as a sign of support. Showing a genuine interest to work with your child as a way of overcoming loss, directs their efforts towards a more constructive resolution.
Don’t Let Them Be a Sore Loser
Teach your child to be humble in defeat, and graceful in victory. Win or lose; your child has to know how to accept the result and remain kind in spite of it. Teach them to demonstrate compassion by shaking hands and saying “Good game, and thank you for playing” to each opponent after the game. Learning how to use fair play to show sportsmanship will help your child focus on playing the game for fun, and not for the result.
Coaches are valuable members of any sports organization. How well they prepare the team tactically, physically and mentally determines the success of the entire team. But good youth coaches also are excellent teachers, educating kids about the importance of having fun over winning, teamwork and fair play.
However, in most cases, youth coaches are volunteers with primary experience in sports who only want to do right by their community and their kids. And after their child stops playing, it’s likely they leave the team to focus on other aspects of their life.
Because a good youth coach is hard to find, it is vital for both the parents and the youth sports organization to pull together and do as much as possible to persuade the coach to stay on the team. So, it’s vital to know how to retain youth coaches after their child stops playing to continue nurturing a fun and enjoyable experience for all the kids on the team.
Use the Two Main Motives for All Youth Coaches
Youth coaches are formal volunteers. They have a personal commitment to the sports organization (their child and their word) and gain a sense of accomplishment and gratification from doing the work (teaching kids and winning games.)
These two motives are the main driving force of your coach. It’s why they chose to lead the team in the first place. After their child outgrows the team, it’s important to highlight their connection with other kids.
Make sure not to guilt the coach into staying, but instead suggest he takes on the team until the next generation of players signs up for the team. It’s far more likely the coach will stay if he feels a sense of obligation to see the whole project through.
Listen to the Coach
Listening to the coach allows you to hear him out and discover his pain points. Sure his child has left the team, but that’s not the only reason why he stayed on as coach. There must be something he wants to achieve or a personal ambition he can realize through the team. Your job is to find out what it is.
Ask questions related to his ambitions and what the team needs. When you do find out what that might be, it will be easier to make constructive suggestions both to the coach and the organization.
Offer to Do Something for the Coach
As mentioned, a sense of gratification is one of the motives that drive youth coaches. Reward the coach’s efforts by offering to support his professional development. Financing a coaching course or getting them to take a first aid certification might seem insignificant, but it demonstrates how much you care.
A coach might also feel empowered by the offer, and share the passion you have for your children. And if he accepts, he’s here to stay.
Offer to Do Something for the Team
Finally, offer to improve and reward the team. Gather the community around a major project, like the sports facility renovation or raising money to take part in a stronger league or tournament. If your offer boosts expectations, it can motivate the coach to stay on and see the new project through.
It also shows the coach that you share his ambitions, while the competitiveness of your offer might be tempting, seeing how he’s a former athlete. The kids will also appreciate the gesture and work harder to make you and the coach proud.