Competitive Sports For Kids – How To Do It Right

This week, we navigated one of the biggest debates in kids’ sports, today: is competition healthy?

This week, we write about one of the biggest debates in kids’ sports, today:  Are competitive sports healthy? Here is some insight and discussion from experts and sports figures, to try and understand both sides of the issue.

Many of us grew up with sports. Competitive sports for kids are so much a part of our environment, we can’t see how anyone could take issue with encouraging competition.

Unfortunately, many parents reinforce this negative stereotype of winning at all cost. Because they want their children to be winners, they often force their kids to take advanced classes or practice long hours to make it into elite sport teams or dance programs. They hire tutors and private coaches to ensure that their child is a winner, implying that just doing a good job isn’t good enough for their child.

The key problem? Focusing on victory rather than the game. If we tell children the only reward of competition is victory, what won’t they do to get it?

Encouraging healthy competition is important. Sports bring a number of proven benefits to kids who play, beyond physical and mental development. (There’s a strong social component, too, which is one place technology can really help.)  So, what can we do? Does the game need to change?

No!  We as parents, coaches, and adults need to step up. Bringing the right attitude to the table ourselves will encourage healthy competition in our children. Are coaches important in this debate? You bet. The 2009 President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports said it’s all down to your coach:

[…] It seems equally evident that sports are powerful social experiences that may, under the right circumstances, have positive benefits. If sports are to have a positive impact on the character development of participants, the leadership and behavior of the coach are key.

We’d go farther than that, even. All of us adults –  parents and coaches alike –  are responsible for fostering and encouraging values of sportsmanship in our children.

As the 2012 London Olympics debut and the world gets to watch the dreams of young athletes come true, the joys and triumphs of sports are obvious. Winning and medals aside, however, involvement in sports has real benefits for kids’ physical, social, and even moral development.

Getting this right is about more than sports. It’s about the health, happiness, and future success of our kids.

Our kids aren’t gladiators. They’re competing, but they’re playing a game. Let them play, as hard and as well as they can. Recognize personal development and good sportsmanship, not victory above all.

Healthy Competitive Sports

There’s a lot of controversy about the value of encouraging children to play competitive amateur sports.

There’s a lot of controversy about the value of encouraging children to play competitive amateur sports. For some of us, that this is even a subject for debate is counter-intuitive and not a little bizarre. Sports build character. It’s axiomatic. But there is healthy competition, which enriches the lives and development of children, and unhealthy, win-at-all-costs competition. How do we encourage and support the former, while avoiding the unfortunate consequences of the latter?

This week, we’ll take a look at what to avoid and what to encourage in kids’ healthy competitive sports. The answer to competition’s dark side- the win-at-all-costs, hate your enemy extremes- is not to abandon competition altogether, but to find and support what’s best in the game.

Then, we’ll identify the key element of keeping sports clean and look into ways to leverage modern technology to encourage, rather than discourage, athletics and competition.

Having a healthy, physical outlet for our kids has never been more important. Stick around for a week of discussion and advice around the theme of encouraging healthy competitive sports for kids.

Niches in Extreme Mountain Biking

So you’ve been wanting to learn more about extreme mountain biking. You’ve watched some videos and seen some of the bikes involved and you think you might want to try this sport out.

So you’ve been wanting to learn more about extreme mountain biking. You’ve watched some videos and seen some of the bikes involved and you think you might want to try this sport out. After all, it’s the perfect choice if you love to ride bikes at high rates of speed along treacherous landscapes. There is more to the sport than that, though.

According to the Extreme Mountain Biking website, there are a number of different niches you can choose to ride in. Of course, choosing one niche doesn’t make the other niches off limits to you. In fact, there is a great deal of crossover in the field of extreme mountain biking.

Downhill racing, for example, is noted for its start times that are staggered in order to reduce collisions among bicyclists. Many downhill races, though, take place on bike trails which offer all the obstacles and unstable surfaces that give the sport its extreme edge. The Extreme Mountain Biking website separates the two styles of extreme mountain biking into different types though there is plenty of overlap between the two.

Cross country biking is another arena of extreme mountain biking that often uses bikes trails of some sort to both guide bicyclists and do add additional obstacles. Use this article to give you a broad overview so you can narrow down your areas of interest.

Kev Hedges shares a video taken from the head cam fastened firmly to the helmet of a Peruvian bicyclist named Alejandro Paz. This video included by Kev shows just how close this extreme bicyclist is to the edge as he zooms along this narrow trail.  You can experience the thrills of this extreme sport from the safety of your couch and decide if you want to pursue the sport yourself.

Source: http://digitaljournal.com/article/321468

This article, from the Extreme Mountain Biking website, gives you an extensive breakdown of the various kinds of extreme mountain biking that are available. If you have found that your interest in this extreme sport has been pique, you should explore further and find which aspect you like the best. For all you know, you could find several that really capture your interests.

Bike to Win

Biking has gotten bigger in the past few years as more people are getting into the sport and becoming more aware about health and fitness.

Biking has gotten bigger in the past few years as more people are getting into the sport and becoming more aware about health and fitness. Many do it as a form of keeping their body fit, as a hobby by upgrading their exercise routines and professionally by getting into tournaments and other competitions. May is National Bike Month so thousands of bikers from all over the United States and the world flock to many famous biking spots to commemorate famous rides with family and friends. There are several activities and events planned which will surely deliver fun, prizes and excitement for everyone. But no matter your intent, you can bike to win.

About National Bike Month

Washington D.C. as well as nearby Alexandria and Arlington are full of bikers during National Bike Month. These places are known for their challenging and beautiful trails for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders. Regardless of your current level, you will find these areas very conducive to having fun and exercising. Even people who are learning how to ride a bike or do not own one can still enjoy National Bike Month through the Capital Bikeshare program. Two hundred stations are set up all over Washington D.C., Alexandria and Arlington where people can borrow and share bicycles. Through Capital Bikeshare, individuals can borrow from a list of almost 2,000 bicycles any time of the day.

After registering for the program, participants will get a Bikeshare key in their mail to activate. The closest bike station can be accessed through a smartphone application or online map. There are several membership types available depending on the kind of bike you want and the trail and location you prefer.

The Activities

National Bike Month introduces commuter convoys that will make your trips more interesting and fun. There are 20 convoys with expert bicycle commuters leading the team. Look for the schedules which meet your needs.  You can join the envoy teams from the starting point or en route.

1. Bike to School Day

The second annual National Bike to School Day commences on May 8th, with the support of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Every Wednesday up until May 8th, there will be a winner from registered schools who will receive a Saris Stadium Rack. The activity will be included in Global Youth Traffic Safety Month. The date also falls during National Bike Month. The people who came up with the concept shared that the program aims to empower and encourage young people from different parts of the world to create and improve youth peer to peer projects on education.  It also supports and promotes the creation and enforcement of traffic laws so that kids and young adults will stay safe on roads.

2. Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day is celebrated on May 17th. The activity is arranged by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association together with Commuter Connections. The event is free for those who wish to join and features 70 pit stops located in D.C., Virginia and Maryland. Winners will also enjoy raffles, prizes, food, refreshments and trophies.

3. Bike to Work Week

This event starts from May 27 and ends on June 2.  The date and location will vary depending on the country or city in which it is being held. The idea is to encourage people to take their bikes to work as a great form of exercise and an alternative to regular commuting. During this period, companies and bosses encourage their employees to bicycle to work. They may combine it with other related objectives or even side quests depending on the house rules. Winners can receive ribbons or  trophies. Employees who finish particularly strong can receive bigger prizes.

4. Tour de Madison

The 26th Tour de Madison will be held in Syria, Virginia on May 18, which boasts spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Participants can choose from three different routes, specifically chosen for their current skill and experience. Advanced bikers can go for the Metric Century which features a lot of hills. Intermediate riders can try the 41-mile distance while beginners can go for the Family Ride which includes a lot of flat trails. Meals and drinks will also be sold at various points.

Challenging Family and Friends

In addition to the activities during National Bike Month, you can challenge family, friends and colleagues to a fun and challenging bike ride anytime. Think of a great activity that involves getting them to ride their bikes to school, the office or other special locations. Come up with specific objectives and challenges. Provide rewards, tokens or ribbons for minor accomplishments then prepare a special trophy for the first place finisher or those who finish with the best time.

1. Biking to school or around the neighborhood.

Children and teenagers should be accompanied by adults when biking to school. Create a pack with the leaders at the front and back to keep them safe. Begin by stating the rules and how to observe traffic laws to avoid accidents. Include fun challenges such as asking them to wear costumes while riding their bikes, putting decorations and other attractive items on their bikes or going for a night ride around the neighborhood. Give ribbons to the rider with the best costume. Award the first place finisher with a huge trophy. Make sure that there are pit stops at different points on the route, where riders can get snacks and drinks.

2. Biking to work.

Bosses and supervisors can go for a challenging bike ride with their employees. They can give ribbons and other small gifts to any individuals who finish faster than them. Another great idea would be to ask them to wear shirts of the same color or get neon or glow-in-the-dark face paint and clothes that will immediately grab attention during night rides. Provide special challenges with corresponding rewards such as asking them to find a unique flower in the park, giving a free cup of coffee to the first person who reaches a café pit stop or asking them to perform specific tasks upon reaching certain points. Give a trophy to the first place finisher.

The Advantages of Biking

Many people are getting hooked on biking because of the many benefits that it provides. Some people start with a borrowed or cheap bike then upgrade over time as they get fitter.

1. Biking is good for the muscles.

Many sports and exercises do involve the lower body to the extent that biking does. Riding for 30 to 60 minutes each day will work out the biggest muscles in your body – your legs. The cycling motion will train your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, abs and hips. People can have a very balanced and symmetrical appearance by biking regularly. Building and toning your muscles will further aid in burning fat effectively even when you’re at rest.

2. Biking is good for the heart.

As a cardiovascular exercise, biking will circulate blood effectively throughout the body. All vital organs and extremities will receive blood and get oxygenated, thereby improving function and getting rid of harmful toxins and cholesterol. The heart pumps blood as you bicycle, which will also benefit the liver, lungs, kidneys and brain. You will find that biking improves brain function and concentration and prevents cardiovascular problems, lung and respiratory problems, liver toxicity and stroke.

3. Biking is good for the mind.

Exercising is an excellent way to relieve stress. When you ride a bicycle for several minutes a few times each week, you will find time to think, reflect and recover from daily stresses and challenges. People who ride their bikes regularly find themselves more mentally active, have better memory function and focus on tasks more easily. Riding to work actually improves performance by as much as 100% according to many studies.

4. Biking is good for the environment.

National Biking Month is a great opportunity for cities and countries to have lower emissions coming from motorized vehicles. A bicycle is environmentally friendly because it does not use gasoline or fuel and does not emit harmful gases or smoke. Taking your bike to work or school is a good alternative to driving. The air is fresher and heat is significantly reduced. There is also less traffic congestion when people ride their bikes.

5. Biking for more friends.

There are so many clubs, associations and groups revolved around biking. You can opt for groups that prefer mountain and off-road trails, teams that also try other sports like swimming and running or groups that like to ride in packs on concrete highways. There are organizations that support different types of bikers. These are also organizations to approach if you wish to gain new friends who share the same passion. Start looking for nearby clubs online.

Biking for Life

Biking is an activity that you can enjoy for the long term. You will find bikers of different ages. There are even those who join tours and competitions at the age of 75 years old and above. Bicycling regularly will keep you fit and healthy, adding more years to your life and keeping you free from disease.

National Biking Month should encourage more people to take on a healthy lifestyle. Start with small challenges and fun biking activities for your family or people in your workplace, then increase your involvement and expand your group of bikers later. Joining competitions and tournaments can also result in beautiful trophies and medals that you can display proudly at home and in the office.

Should I Display Trophies and Medals

I remember clearly when I was growing up, all of the award medals and trophies that we won being clearly displayed where the whole world could see them in the family room. There were none that were shoved into a closet or into the attic and “forgotten.” After reading Veronica Romualdez’s article for eHow entitled “Ways to Display Sports Medals,” I started really wondering about trophies and medals.

soccer trophyI mean I don’t remember seeing all of those trophies at my friends houses, although we were on some of the same teams growing up. Does that mean that my family was the only one who showcased every single trophy and accomplishment? I hope not because I do the same with my kids sports trophies, and my own from my childhood as a matter of fact.

Should I display trophies and medals for my kids? Or should I leave that to them? I think many people do at least for a little while. I mean what do they win them for? Not to be thrown into a box and shoved into a closet. I am proud of my kids sports accomplishments and will buy hundreds of shadow boxes to put them in and display if it comes to that. How about you? Do you hide your kids trophies or proudly put them on display for the world to see?

More often than not award medals and trophies get thrown in a closet, where they sit and collect dust until someone remembers them. If you don’t want that to happen to your sports medals and trophies, Veronica Romualdez has compiled a list of ways that you can have your trophies showcased for all to see.

Team Trophy versus Individual Trophy

What is worth more – a team trophy or an individual trophy? After reading Goal.com’s article, “Trophies More Exciting than Individual Prizes,” I started thinking about just what soccer fantasy trophythose individual awards and medals mean to the people, and the families of the people, who receive them. Do you feel a greater sense of accomplishment from winning a trophy with your team or from a trophy presented to you as an individual? I’m not sure that I can agree with this article although I do understand that it was from a personal point of view.

Yes, it comes with a huge sense of accomplishment to win that big shiny trophy as a team, but shouldn’t there be an even bigger sense of accomplishment in knowing that you stand out from the crowd as an individual, and won these awards and medals on your own? Apparently it depends on the individual and whether or not you are truly a team player. For Argentine soccer star, Lionel Messi, winning individual awards simply doesn’t bring him the same kind of satisfaction as does winning team trophies alongside his peers.

Either trophy will look great in a trophy case or in a frame on your wall at home. But if you are totally honest with yourself, which ones do you find yourself looking at most often, the trophy you share with your teammates or the award you can say that you won all on your own for being the best that you could be?

The importance of working as a team can never be overemphasized in a bid to win achievement awards. To cite an example, recently, Maestro, a company that specializes in designing business technology tools such as mobile apps, desktop and online applications,won two silver awards. The awards were for the Best Advance in Unique Sales and Marketing Technology and the Best Advance in Performance Support Technology categories from the 2012 Brandon Hall Excellence in Technology Awards.

A deeper understanding of the culture at Maestro shows that they work together as a team. Jen Randall, the President and Cofounder of Maestro, attributes their success to teamwork and says this made each of their projects possible.

We can all learn something from the culture at Maestro as we strive to attain individual and collective excellence in our field of endeavor. It makes no difference that you want to win achievement awards and medals in a professional capacity, whether it is do with your career, sports, or car shows or animal shows, just to name a few.

The main lesson here is that we need the assistance of others in order to attain excellence in our pursuits. Hence, coach and players need to work as teams, parents and their kids need to work as teams, and spouses need to work as teams, and even communities must work as teams in order to ensure that they achieve the type of success that is only attainable through teamwork.

Award, medals, trophies and anything that gives you a fine sense of accomplishment should be celebrated equally. All three of these signify a job well done. How can anyone choose which one makes them happier?

Benefits and Risks of Youth Sports

Youth Baseball PlayersFootball can cause concussions and other injuries. However, it’s still a very popular sport for both kids and adults. But what do parents think of their kid’s sports? What are the benefits and risks of youth sports?

Many parents dislike the idea of tackle football and instead have their kids play flag football. This is a safer version of football where, instead of players tackling other players, the goal is to yank a ‘flag’ that’s attached to the clothing of other players. But when the child moves to tackle football, parents are reluctant to take them out. They don’t want to ‘hold their child back’, even if the game is painful.

A few experienced football players take almost the opposite stance. They love football, and as Dallas Clark explains, ‘he’d do it all over again.’ Even with all the injuries football players receive, they can’t get away from the game. However, according to a poll done by CBSSports.com, some football veterans are completely against having their own kids risk football. Dozens of football players were asked if they would allow their own kids to play the sport. Several said that they were too worried about the injuries that players receive to ever allow their children to participate in football. Will these polls and statistics affect how many people play the game?

Youth sports have many benefits, and there’s plenty of reasons to give thanks for them and the dedicated people who make youth sports possible. From the coaches who give their time to guide children, to the guy in the concession stand selling – or giving out – hot dogs and soft drinks, we appreciate all the hard work of these people. Read the many reasons to give thanks for youth sports in Jon Buzby’s article.

Parents: Spend Free Time on Sports

A recent survey revealed that forty six percent of parents think children should spend free time on sports. Less than twenty percent would rather their children spend their time on academic activities.

The survey garnered the responses of a thousand parents who have children aged 6 to 15. The scope of the survey was concentrating on mathematics and the impact it has on future success. About half of the parents believed that excelling in mathematics is important for doing well in later life, while a meager five percent opted for being good in sports.

The disparity goes to show that parents remain realistic that the odds of their child doing well in professional sports are rather slim, so doing well academically is still most important for succeeding in life.

However, the good news is that the survey goes to show that the United States stands a better chance of curbing the increasing rate of childhood obesity with many parents understanding the value of sports for their children. While schools have an influence on a child’s weight by instilling the importance of exercise and a healthy diet, parents need to play their part by encouraging  the same values too.

Nearly half of parents who took part in a survey think that it is best that their children spend their free time on sports. 18 percent prefer that their children engage in intellectual or educational activities. However, most parents realize that a professional sports career is only viable for a given few, and hence rank being good at mathematics and having an outgoing personality as important traits for success in life, as reported by Bryan Toporek.

In this article by Cathy O’Connor, alarming statistics were revealed regarding the physical activity level of Canadian kids. Only 7% of children and teenagers meet the guidelines of at least an hour of physical activity per day. Tips were also mentioned on how to raise active kids and integrating physical activity into their daily lives.

Coaches That Yell

No matter if you’re at a little league game or a college football game, there always seems to be one thing in common, there are always coaches that yell at the players! Most coaches seem to use yelling as a hope for the players to listen and do what they say, meaning that they would hopefully be playing better. However, does yelling really ever work?

Warren Grymes at jacksonville.com describes his experiences with being a player himself, turned coach. Growing up playing sports, he was used to coaches that yell at the athletes. At the time, he hadn’t really thought much about it. Years later after becoming a coach himself, he had adopted the same yelling strategy. Even as he coached his son’s team, the yelling stuck. Finally, while coaching his grandson’s team, he reflected back on what worked for him the best in any team he had been on back in the day, and quickly realized that it wasn’t having a coach screaming at him. The football coaches that he had in his freshman and sophomore years of high school had been motivational, supportive, and didn’t get mad or yell when something didn’t go the way they wanted. This resulted in a team that worked together well, trusted in their coaches, and earned a undefeated season. Once their junior year came, new coaches were introduced. They weren’t supportive, were not motivational, and liked to yell a lot. Needless to say, this resulted in a lot of losses and resentment toward the coaches.

Perhaps it’s time that we take a look at our coaching system and make a ruling. Why is it OK to have coaches that yell at their players when teachers are not allowed to scream at their students and  employers do not shout at their employees?