g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Natural Living
Folklore and Mythology
Distance Learning

All times in EST

Clairvoyance: 08:00 PM

Full Schedule
g Pediatrics Site

BellaOnline's Pediatrics Editor


Why Coaching Keeps Our Young Athlete Healthy

Guest Author - Gwenn Schurgin O´Keeffe, M.D. , F.A.A.P.

In part I and part II of this youth sports series, I talked about the importance of an off season and puberty. In this final section, I discuss what youth sports should really be about and what our kids need from a coach to stay healthy.

While my cookie analogy for young athletes works well to explain the baking process it falls short in one important regard. You can bake an outstanding cooking by folloing the recipe but there is no recipe for “making” an athlete. That involves coaching and often it is what is not in the play book that our kids need.

Bob Bigelow, former NBA player and youth sports activist, compares coaching to teaching. “A parent coaching doesn’t make any more sense than one of us teaching English or math because we took it in school.” Just like we have trained and educated teachers, youth sports needs trained and educated coaches. As we all know, today’s community coaches are often well meaning parents whose only expertise is watching ESPN and having played sports as a child.

As important as having well trained coaches, the mechanics of the game have to make sense for the developmental stage of the kids participating. Many sports are starting to take a more developmental approach which is why soccer now has shortened fields, and t-balls are used for young baseball and softball. Bigelow would like to see modifications in other sports as well. For example, have a 3 on 3 for youth basketball instead of the 5 by 5 we may be more familiar with from TV. Bigelow is quick to remind parents that what we see on TV is the tip of the iceberg, the most elite. Kids are still developing so they need very different sports structures and experiences. As Bigelow notes, “adapt the game to the kids, not kids to the game”.

The idea is to encourage kids to “play against their last best effort”, as Bigelow puts it, and not focus on specialization until growth is complete, which may not be until the junior year in high school for most teens, or even college. This is no different than majoring in any subject in school. You’d never pick a major without first tasting a smorgasbord of courses. And, even then, you always have a minor or two to keep yourself balanced.

One way to create variety is to expose kids to individual sports that can be enjoyed into adult life without the burden of a team. Golf, tennis and swimming fall into that category and so do baseball and basketball where there are often adult leagues. However, Bigelow cautions, it has to be on the child’s terms. “Kids love wacking balls”, notes Bob. “Let them create their own rules. Give them balls and a racquet and let them decide how to wack them over the net”.

Sports are in good company in today’s childhood. The same overuse phenomenon is happening in music, dance, art, acting, horseback riding, and just about every activity our kids are interested in. Sports should be coupled with nonsports and everything coupled with downtime. Otherwise, today’s kids will end up incomplete – just like serving chocolate chip cookies sans the chips.

This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Why+Coaching+Keeps+Our+Young+Athlete+Healthy to Twitter Add Why+Coaching+Keeps+Our+Young+Athlete+Healthy to Facebook Add Why+Coaching+Keeps+Our+Young+Athlete+Healthy to MySpace Add Why+Coaching+Keeps+Our+Young+Athlete+Healthy to Digg Why+Coaching+Keeps+Our+Young+Athlete+Healthy Add Why+Coaching+Keeps+Our+Young+Athlete+Healthy to Yahoo My Web Add Why+Coaching+Keeps+Our+Young+Athlete+Healthy to Google Bookmarks Add Why+Coaching+Keeps+Our+Young+Athlete+Healthy to Stumbleupon Add Why+Coaching+Keeps+Our+Young+Athlete+Healthy to Reddit

Why Young Athletes Need An Offseason To Stay Healthy
Why Puberty Makes Kids Vulnerable to Sports Injury
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Pediatrics Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2018 by Gwenn Schurgin O´Keeffe, M.D. , F.A.A.P.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Gwenn Schurgin O´Keeffe, M.D. , F.A.A.P.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


g features
Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Note: BellaOnline uses cookies to help provide a consistent user experience. Our advertisers may use cookies to help customize ads. Please contact us with any question about our cookie use.

Summertime Foods
Corn on the Cob
Burgers on the Grill
Apple Pie


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2018 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor