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Remembering Why We Play Sports

08/27/2014, 12:15pm MDT
By USAHockey.com

Reminiscing about the days when you played on your first sports team probably puts a big smile on your face. The friends you made, the coaches who helped train you, and all the fun you had taught you that there's more to the game than just winning or losing.

Unfortunately, many children today are not learning some of those same lessons because of a win-at-all-cost mentality growing throughout youth sports. For them, winning a game has become more important than the valuable lessons behind the game — the benefits of sportsmanship.

The good news is that many parents have noticed this change in attitude, and are working together to reinforce good sportsmanship in youth sports.

The 2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive Sportsmanship survey of 2,000 parents and coaches from across the country shows that half of the respondents believe sportsmanship has worsened since they were growing up. While winning is exciting and a great benefit to playing sports, winning ranks last in the lessons parents and coaches want youth athletes to learn.

Parents and coaches realize that they have a unique opportunity to teach their children valuable sports lessons, including:

  • Teamwork — Working together with fellow athletes to achieve a goal.
  • Sportsmanship — Teammates, opponents, parents, coaches and officials treating one another with respect.
  • Skills of Sport — Practicing to improve technique and skills.
  • Playing Hard — Giving 100% during practices and on game day.
  • Sacrifices — Committing to responsibilities and putting the team before the individual, even when tired or not in the mood.
  • Winning - Being a good winner and behaving appropriately when all the hard work and practice pays off with a victory.

When parents and coaches keep what’s really important in mind during the game, they help shift the spotlight onto the impact of good teamwork, hard work, sacrifices, friendships and specific athletic skills that are all more important than winning.

Download this helpful tool from Play Positive to remember why we play sports.

Post it on your fridge and share it with your friends!

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of sportsmanship and integrity shown by people every day. We created Play Positive™, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display good sportsmanship. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the ice.

In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series created exclusively for partners in the Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive™ program powered by Positive Coaching Alliance.

©2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance and Positive Coaching Alliance. All rights reserved. This material may not be distributed without express written permission. Any reproduction in whole or part by and individuals or organizations will be held liable for copyright infringement to the full extent of the law.

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Reminiscing about the days when you played on your first sports team probably puts a big smile on your face. The friends you made, the coaches who helped train you, and all the fun you had taught you that there's more to the game than just winning or losing.

Unfortunately, many children today are not learning some of those same lessons because of a win-at-all-cost mentality growing throughout youth sports. For them, winning a game has become more important than the valuable lessons behind the game — the benefits of sportsmanship.

The good news is that many parents have noticed this change in attitude, and are working together to reinforce good sportsmanship in youth sports.

The 2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive Sportsmanship survey of 2,000 parents and coaches from across the country shows that half of the respondents believe sportsmanship has worsened since they were growing up. While winning is exciting and a great benefit to playing sports, winning ranks last in the lessons parents and coaches want youth athletes to learn.

Parents and coaches realize that they have a unique opportunity to teach their children valuable sports lessons, including:

  • Teamwork — Working together with fellow athletes to achieve a goal.
  • Sportsmanship — Teammates, opponents, parents, coaches and officials treating one another with respect.
  • Skills of Sport — Practicing to improve technique and skills.
  • Playing Hard — Giving 100% during practices and on game day.
  • Sacrifices — Committing to responsibilities and putting the team before the individual, even when tired or not in the mood.
  • Winning - Being a good winner and behaving appropriately when all the hard work and practice pays off with a victory.

When parents and coaches keep what’s really important in mind during the game, they help shift the spotlight onto the impact of good teamwork, hard work, sacrifices, friendships and specific athletic skills that are all more important than winning.

Download this helpful tool from Play Positive to remember why we play sports.

Post it on your fridge and share it with your friends!

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of sportsmanship and integrity shown by people every day. We created Play Positive™, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display good sportsmanship. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the ice.

In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series created exclusively for partners in the Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive™ program powered by Positive Coaching Alliance.

©2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance and Positive Coaching Alliance. All rights reserved. This material may not be distributed without express written permission. Any reproduction in whole or part by and individuals or organizations will be held liable for copyright infringement to the full extent of the law.

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TRENDING: Right-Sized Youth Sports

09/01/2015, 9:15am MDT
By USA Hockey

Sept. 1, 2015 | More than 40,000 spectators, plus a national television audience, watched the Little League World Series this past Sunday on a glorious afternoon in Pennsylvania. There were smiles, cheers, entertainment and the noticeable absence of demand for those 12- and 13-year-olds to pitch from 60 feet, six inches or run 90 feet between the bases like their professional baseball heroes.

Right-sized baseball and softball fields, along with age-appropriate rule modifications, have been accepted wisdom in youth baseball for more than 50 years.

Coincidentally, while Little League was paring to its finalists, U.S. Soccer announced a nationwide initiative to improve youth skill development. The centerpiece was a shift to small-sided game formats and field sizes to be phased in across the country by August 2017. As part of the new plan, American soccer at U6, U7 and U8 will be played 4v4 on a pitch approximately one-eighth the size of an adult soccer field. Nine- and 10-year-olds will play 7v7 on a one-quarter-scale pitch. Not until age 13 will players begin competing 11v11 on a regulation adult-sized pitch.

“Our number one goal is to improve our players down the road, and these initiatives will help us do that,” said Tab Ramos, U.S. Soccer’s youth technical director. “In general, we would like for players to be able to process information faster, and when they are in this (new) environment, they are going to learn to do that. Fast forward 10 years, and there are thousands of game situations added to a player’s development.”

With this change, American soccer will join sports like baseball, basketball, hockey and tennis, all of which have embraced the skill-development benefits of age-appropriate playing dimensions and competition formats (see chart below).

Those benefits are at the core of USA Hockey’s American Development Model, which was recently praised by the Sports Business Journal as a “trailblazing program.”

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