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Misplaced Priorities: Parents Should Spend More Time Helping Kids Prepare For Life, Less Time Preparing For Next Game

 

American athletics has become so all consuming that many parents have lost sight of the reality of youth sports. What started a hundred years ago in the New York public school system has now morphed into big business, which is feeding unrealistic expectations for parents and kids alike.

Here are a couple of examples, just from today: 

American athletics has become so all consuming that many parents have lost sight of the reality of youth sports. What started a hundred years ago in the New York public school system has now morphed into big business and unrealistic expectations for parents and kids alike.

A Homecoming To Remember


The doorbell rings at precisely 6:00 p.m. The handsome football captain is here to pick up the beautiful drill team lieutenant for their Senior Homecoming Dance. The flowers are exchanged, and the conversation is easy.

By now, the date is an extended member of our family. Instead of grilling him about the plans and curfew, my husband is more interested in a play-by-play recap about last night's football game. We make this look sooooo easy. A "Seventeen" magazine dream scene taking place in our formal living room.

Don't kid yourself. Nothing is ever this easy. This flawless precision takes years to come together. Don't I know it well. We tell the incredibly gorgeous couple to have a great time and shut the door.

When the doorbell rang precisely at the appointed hour announcing the arrival of her daughter's date for her senior Homecoming Dance, a Texas football and drill team mom remembers back to her first Homecoming Dance three years earlier, when everything did not go according to plan.

"Thoughts From the Bench" and Defending The Blue Line: A New E-Book On Amateur Hockey And A Great Charity

I am thrilled to announce the publication of my new e-book, "Thoughts From the Bench."

The book is a collection of my columns for Minnesota Hockey and takes a refreshing and common sense look at amateur ice hockey from my perspective as USA Hockey Associate Coach in Chief/Minnesota and past Coach In Chief for Minnesota Hockey, and on my 40 years coaching hockey at all levels, including USA Hockey elite level programs.

"Thoughts From The Bench" is a new e-book by longtime hockey coach and MomsTEAM blogger Hal Tearse with advice for hockey coaches, parents and players with the proceeds donated to Defending the Blue Line.

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Terrance Washington (Louisville, Ky.)

For West End Yellow Jackets football coach Terrance Washington, practice at Russell Lee Park in Louisville, Kentucky on the night of September 12 seemed just like any other practice. Then, as he was putting the Mighty Mite Division team through its paces, he heard parents yelling that a two-year-old girl had just fallen 15 feet into a dark abandoned well 50 yards from the field.

"We were scared, we were screaming, we couldn't get it together," the little girl's cousin said later. "Fortunately . . . , Washington didn't hesitate."

It started out like any other practice for Lexington, KY youth football coach Terrance Washington. But then, as he was putting his team through its paces, he heard parents yelling that a two-year-old girl had just fallen about 15 feet into a dark abandoned well about 50 yards from the field, and he didn't hesitate.

"The Smartest Team": Staking Out The Sensible Middle In The Polarized Debate About Football

It has been an exciting week for those of us who worked so hard over the past two years to produce "The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer.

After kicking off with our premiere on Oklahoma Educational Television (OETA - PBS) in August, and with stations in North Carolina and Colorado having aired the documentary in September, the beginning of October marks the first full week of broadcasts on PBS stations in more than ten states. 

The buzz about the PBS documentary, "The Smartest Team," has been overwhelmingly positive, but some appear to be working overtime, on Twitter, through a whisper campaign, and via other back-channel means, to cripple MomsTEAM's ability to get its message out. Brooke de Lench explains.

Margaret Stafford Taught NFL QB Matthew To Feel Confident, Not Entitled


Role models are hidden in our everyday lives and neighborhoods. You just have to find them. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Margaret Stafford, mother of Detroit Lions quarterback, Matthew. As I journey further down the football mom tunnel, I thought it might be a good idea to pick up some tips from the best. Margaret did not disappoint. After all, she is a pro now, too!Matt Stafford

A Dallas football mom learns from her neighbor, Margaret Stafford, that the secret to the success of her son, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, both on and off the field is to be confident, but not feel entitled. 

The Truth About Sexual Abuse Of Athletes By Coaches: It's All About Power

Since the Sandusky case, many have jumped on the bandwagon to address child sexual abuse in sports. We show videos of adolescent aged girls and boys being targeted and abused. Without a doubt, we react emotionally and with revulsion to something so horrific as the taking the innocence of a young child.Girl swimming butterfly

Yet, that isn't the whole truth when discussing coach-athlete sexual abuse. If you look at the list of banned swim coaches on the USA Swimming website, there isn't one coached banned for sexual abuse who was accused of having a relationship with a swimmer under the age of 13.

Since the Jerry Sandusky case, many have jumped on the bandwagon to address child sexual abuse in sports. The problem is that we are still not seeing the issue as the abuse of power that it is, says the founder of Safe4Athletes, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting sexual abuse of athletes.

The Road to Varsity: Lessons from Little League

My relocation to North Carolina temporarily disrupted my officiating schedule. With membership into a new association pending,  I needed to find a way to work on my game during the summer and fall without the benefit of regularly scheduled summer basketball. Tennis provided an excellent venue for physical preparation.  Tennis, like basketball requires fitness, quickness, teamwork and stamina. But while tennis helped with the physical game, it was watching Little League baseball, more than anything else, that helped the most with the mental side of basketball officiating.

A high school basketball official prepares for the upcoming season by learning valuable lessons on the mental aspects of sports by watching the fun 10-year-olds have playing Little League baseball.

Making Youth Sports Safer: Moms Have The Power!

Another high school football player dies after a head on head collision. A young ilfe cut short way to soon. A tragedy for sure. Education, better coaching, and impact devices in helmets can only do so much. Officials can only do so much, but in many cases not enough.  Moms cheering at football game

One of our three high school hockey goalies has already gotten a concussion during "Captains Practice." The official season starts in November. Hope he recovers in time.

Unless those with all the power in youth sports intervene to demand changes, the status quo will continue, and more and more kids will be seriously injured, some lasting for a lifetime. Who has the power to make youth sports safer? Moms, says longtime hockey and lacrosse coach, Hal Tearse.

From Son Up to Son Down: A Middle School Football Game-Day Diary

 

The big day finally has arrived! Who is ready for some Tuesday night football? After a summer of workouts, drills, and tournaments, it is finally time for my son to use all the skills he has learned on the football field.

After 8 years of playing against the other neighborhood school teams, the 7th grade is finally together as one team. The first game is a big one. The schedule has 7th grade as the away team, so it comes with the added bonus of traveling on a bus with 100 + of your favorite 12- and 13-year-old boys. Just bless the coaches right now!

So here is the game-day journal of just another football mom, navigating her way through the waters of 7th grade football!

After 8 years of playing against the other neighborhood school teams, a Texas youth football player begins 7th grade football. Want to know what it's like for his mom? Well, here's her game-day journal.

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