Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Youth Sport: How to Start A Youth Sports Blog (Part 4)

In Part 4, you will learn how to build traffic to your blog posts with Twitter.

Review -

In Part 1 of the series, I encouraged you to determined if you really had the motivation and passion to start a Youth Sports Blog.

In Part 2, you learned how to set up a blog and perhaps you started to write.

In Part 3, you learned how to build credibility and organic traffic (Traffic via search and referrals).

Follow the steps below and have patience it takes time and effort to build a following.

1. Join Twitter

In Part 3, we talked about joining the conversation on blogs to increase your authority and credibility about your chosen subject. Twitter is another great place to hold a conversation about your chosen topic and as a bonus Twitter can drive traffic to your blog.

I would recommend that you set up a Twitter account in association with your blog. My twitter account is I use twitter to curate, disseminate and converse about youth sports subjects. 

It's so easy to set up a Twitter account. Just go to and follow the very easy instructions. You can be conversing about your topic in a matter of minutes.

Of course, you need people to converse with and you need followers to see the influential thoughts you have about your topic. So, the first thing you need to do is find people to follow. A simple search on Twitter will uncover a long list of potential people to follow. First, I searched for coaches. After weeding out life coaches, I started following coaches of youth sports who had large followings (500+). I also started following moms and dads with kids, the target audience for my youth sports content. After I found people of interest though my search, I just started clicking the Follow button. You will immediately start to see a stream of tweets from the people you chose to follow.

The next thing that you need to do is join the conversation. When someone you follow says something interesting or provocative click on the rely link and voice your opinion. If you do not have anything to add to the conversation, but like the content, you can simply retweet (RT) the message by clicking on the Retweet link. This rebroadcasts the tweet to your followers. (Note: only followers see tweets) When you RT, the original writer of the post will be notified in his or her tweet stream and perhaps via email (You can set your preferences to notify you of any activity relating to you via email. I do not do this because it will take over your email. Simply look at the activity on Twitter).

Note: People love to be retweeted because it validates the sent message. RTs tell the twitter world that the writer contributed something worthwhile.

Note: In the beginning, I would recommend that you keep your replies positive and supportive.

Soon, you will start to notice that the people you are following and conversing with are following you. (It is somewhat common courtesy to follow those who follow you unless you are a celeb.) Your followers will likely start reading and replying to your Tweets. When they reply to your tweets they expose their followers to your conversation. So make your tweets worth reading and sharing and soon followers of the people you follow will start following you. It is a snowball effect.

If you want to start a new conversation with someone on Twitter simply post a message on your Twitter page with the twitter handle of the person you want to converse with - For example, if you wanted to send me a message that can be seen publicly then tweet @stats_dad I really liked your post on How to Start Youth Sports Blog. The @Stats_Dad is like my address on a letter you are sending. I will immediately see this in my activity column and most likely respond to you.

Note: You can also send me a private message or direct message (DM) via twitter. Click on my profile and if a little envelope icon is there send a message. I need to be following you for you to send me a DM.

Note, you can Tweet 135 character text messages. You can also include links to pictures, videos or websites as long as the text and the links combined are less than 136 characters. 

Advice: Tweet links to each one of your blog posts.

Before long you will have hundreds maybe thousands of people that you follow and who follow you. I have assembled 1000 followers in 10 months.

When you follow a lot of people you will notice that you cannot keep up. You will want to create lists of your favorites. I have a Dads list and a Youth Sports Coaches List. This is easy to do. Click on the person that you want to follow or are following - look for an icon of a head / bust. Click on that and then click on add to list.

Advice: It is a good idea to bond with a person who has a strong twitter following. Intrigue them and they will likely drive traffic to your Twitter page.

Note: You can and should customize your Twitter page to match your website. You can do this through settings and the design button. Use Trial and error to get the look you want - you can always reset it.

2. Set up TweetDeck or HootSuite or similar

There are free Twitter platforms that can help you organize and send Tweets in one view. I use TweetDeck to organize my Twitter streams - The first column is my Youth Sports Coaches list. This column has the most relevant information that I might want to explore and respond to.  The second column consists of tweets from all of the 1,500 people I follow. It is quite cumbersome. The 3rd column showcases all the tweets that @Stats_Dad is mentioned in and the 4th column shows all direct private messages (DMs) to me. Again, this one view layout makes participating on twitter easier. These platforms also make it easy to add videos and pictures and shorten URL links so that you can maximize your 135 character limit. You can also schedule Tweets using these platforms. Sending out a tweet at 2AM will not have the same impact as one sent at 12N unless you have an international following.

Twitter can do all of the above. These platforms just make it easier to see because of the one view layout.

3. Set up Buffer

In the previous posts, I talked about how important good consistent

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Youth Sports: Study Because The Chances Of Going Pro Are Slim

A personal note to my kids. Please study in school because the chances of going pro in your chosen sport are slim. Go after it if that is your passion, but study, study, study so you have something else to fall back on.

Let's face it, there are lots of Crazy Youth Sports Parents who have their sights set on a pro contract for their kids. They spend lots of money, time and emotion to prepare their kids for stardom. They over-manage their kid's youth sports career to the point of insanity. They do this because there is an outside chance that their kid might be the next Ken Griffey Jr or Drew Brees or Dewayne Wade.

The players that make it to the pros are special, one in a million special and it is that slim chance that makes youth sports parents dumb.

A pro contract is a very remote possibility for all young athletes, even the ones who excel in youth sports and in high school. And I am going to prove it to you in this post.

Moeller High School is known for developing men of character, providing a highly regarded college prep education and dominating in sports. Consider the following regarding their sports program.

The Moeller Baseball program is also one of the best in the state every year. They have had 43 winning seasons, including 26 twenty-win seasons. They have won 5 Ohio State Championships ('72,'89, '93, '04, '09). They have also won the Cincinnati Greater Catholic League Championship 24 times making them the best baseball team in the city almost every couple of years. To achieve this type of success you need great baseball players. Making the varsity team is not easy and getting on the field to contribute is even harder. I hope that you would agree with me that Moeller baseball players are elite HS players.

The Moeller Basketball team is one of the best in the state every year too. They have won 3 Ohio State Championships ('99, '03 '07). They have also won the Cincinnati Greater Catholic League Championship 15 times making them the best basketball team in the city of Cincinnati every three of years or so. They have produced 4 Ohio Players of the Year or one every 10 years. To achieve this type of success you need great basketball players. One could argue based on the smaller size of the roster that it is even harder to make the varsity team basketball team compared to baseball. So I hope that you would agree that Moeller basketball players are elite HS players.

The Moeller Football team which was once coached by the legendary Jerry Faust is special too. The school has complied an overall record of 391-87-2 in its illustrious history. The program has garnered 5 National Championships and 7 Ohio State Championships while producing 87 All-Ohio players and 35 All-American players. According to the Moeller website, 389 players earned college scholarships. The Moeller football program does not cut players, so any Moeller student who wants to play football can participate. But the ones who start and have contributed to the amazing record of success are among the best. So again, I would hope you would agree that Moeller football players are elite HS players.

OK - I think that I have established that Moeller is a sports powerhouse so one would think that many professional athletes emerge from this program. Let's look at the numbers. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Youth Sports Costs: Investment or Gift?

Crazy Youth Sports Parents Series

Watch the video below about angry youth sports parents. The video suggests that many youth sports parents view time and resources spent on their kid's athletic endeavors as investments with a future payoff. Parents with this view will be a constant thorn in the side of their kid's coaches to make sure their kids get extra playing time, prime positions, better training, etc.  These parents will also ride refs and umpires who "unfairly" treat their kids. And they will even argue with other parents if their kids do not help the angry parent's prodigy succeed by passing them the ball, setting a pick, etc.

Do you view the time and money you spend on your kids as

1) An investment with a future payoff (College scholarship or pro contract)
2) An entertainment expense for you kid and your family.
3) A gift that a) builds confidence, b) teaches the value of teamwork and leadership, and c) keeps your kid physically and mentally fit.
4) A day care option which allows you to drop your kid off so you have time to do the things you deem more important (i.e. work, golf, shopping, socializing with friends, etc.)

The Main Point

The chances of getting a college scholarship are extremely low, especially a full ride. The chances of playing professional sports are even more remote. So, I, for one, am not banking on it. I do not expect a future financial windfall from the athletic careers of my kids. I spend a considerable amount of time and money on youth sport for two reasons.

1) I am giving my kids a gift that will keep giving. Participation in sports teaches so many valuable life lessons. Lessons that will benefit them in academics and in their professional careers.
2) I also view youth sports as pure entertainment for my kids, for me, for my entire extended family. There is nothing that I would rather do for entertainment than watch my kids play sports.

If my kids get college scholarships and / or play professional sports, that would be a wonderful surprise and bonus.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Youth Soccer: What does it take to play D1 college soccer?

What does it take to play D1 college soccer?

  1. Skills - absolutely, D1 college players are among the best of the best.
  2. Speed - yes, soccer is a super fast game especially at the D1 level.
  3. Determination - yes, you've got to want it because there are plenty of players who will try to take it from you.
  4. Perseverance - yes, every career has ups and downs. Only the strong-minded survive.
  5. Toughness - yes you need both mental and physical toughness.
  6. Heart - yes, the desire to play has to run deep.
  7. Support - yes, you need people who believe in you
  8. A chance - yes, you need to get noticed.
  9. Size - no, not necessarily, but toughness is a must.
  10. Playing time in HS - no, apparently not. Some kids are late bloomers.
  11. Success at college showcase club tournaments - no, apparently not.

This story proves that all of the above is correct.
I was the head soccer coach for my older son's team when he was U10 to U13. The team I coached was the B team in a competitive select / travel soccer club. The A team was dominant. Every year, we would have a tryout and the A team coach would take the top 15 players. I took whoever was left.

The club was strong so, we had a few strong players on the B team. We also had kids with potential. Some of the kids had skills but no real burning desire. Some of the kids had loads of desire, but limited skills. Some kids were confident in their abilities and others lacked confidence. It was the job of the coaching staff to inspire and teach each kid and help them advance in the sport.

The coaching staff consisted of 1) a former Brazilian soccer pro who worked with the team on technical skills, 2) a former college coach who worked with the team on the tactical aspects of the game, 3) an affable, assistant coach with a passion for the sport and 4) me, a D licensed coach.

I think that we did a fairly good job. A few of our kids were promoted to the A team and eventually played significant roles on their HS teams. I always felt a sense of pride when the players from our team were highlighted in a HS soccer game recap in the local newspaper.

Brian U10
One of my favorite players from our team was a great kid named Brian, the assistant coach's son. Brian was a skilled player who could play defense or offense. He was small, but what he lacked in size he more than made up for in hustle, heart and determination. Brian's endurance and fearlessness were strengths of his game. He never seemed to tire and he never backed down from bigger players. Regardless, I never saw Brian's name in any HS sports newspaper stories. According to his dad, Brian made his high school team but did not play much.

Brian did not let that deter him.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Youth Sports: Grandfather Sets Example for Success

My dad - 1961
Strategies for success are passed on from generation to generation.

On Saturday, my father was inducted into the athletic hall of fame for his college. He was recognized for his achievements on the basketball court, where he averaged an amazing 19.8 rebounds per game. That is a school record that has lasted 50 years. The next player closest to this record averaged 13.1. On his birthday in 1961, my dad recorded 30 rebounds in a game which set a school record. About a month later he broke his own record when he amassed 31 rebounds in a game. That records still stands too. He averaged 12 points per game.

The ceremony was this past weekend in New Jersey. I had originally planned to fly out from Cincinnati alone because of the expense and because my two kids had games scheduled. My son and my daughter, however, insisted on going, so off we went. I am so glad that they talked me into it because I think that they learned something from the experience. Each of the inductees told stories about their success. And each story seemed to have a common theme, a parent and / or a coach who inspired to them to push beyond what they originally thought they could achieve.

My kids heard three lessons on success.

Lesson One

Rebounding Record Holder
My dad talked about a conversation he had with an assistant basketball coach early in his collegiate basketball career. It went something like this.

Coach: How many rebounds did you have today?
My dad: Ten, I guess.
Coach: You did that pretty effortlessly, wouldn't you say?
My dad: Yeah I guess so.
Coach: How many rebounds do you think you could get if you really worked hard at it?
My dad: I don't know.
Coach: I think that you can average 20 per game.

My dad took that to heart. He went home and wrote 20 in lipstick on the bathroom mirror in the house he shared with his wife. He looked at that number every morning and every night. During his senior year he averaged about 20 rebounds per game.

Lesson Two

The second inductee was also a basketball player. He talked about a typical conversation he would have after with his dad every game day.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Youth Basketball: Out Cold

My son Nic is a pretty good basketball player and a great actor. 

Last night, he accumulated 7 points in the first quarter of play. Early in the second quarter, my son took on a defender and took a shot to the jaw. He played up the injury to try to get a flagrant foul called.

The ref was right there, saw the tough play and called a foul immediately. After he called the foul, the ref sent a player to the bench.

The Drive
The Foul
The Finish 
The Bench
Much to my son's surprise, the player the ref sent to the bench for the remainder of the game was him. The ref feared that my son suffered a concussion.

The Main Point

Players, if you do suffered a head injury and you feel disoriented get checked. Concussions are a serious matter.

Players, if you play up a head injury to draw a foul or impress the fans, the ref or your coach may pull you off the field or court until a doctor clears you. There's a no tolerance policy concerning concussions.  

My son did not have a concussion. I think my son learned a valuable lesson during this game. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Youth Baseball: Another Injury Scare

Last week, my son's baseball career flashed before his eyes after an awkward swing during an indoor winter practice had him clutching his elbow. The elbow swelled immediately and turned purple.

6 yrs old
7 yrs old
8 yrs old
9 yrs old
10 yrs old
11 yrs old
12 yrs old
13 yrs old

As we drove home from practice, my son iced his arm. I could see the worry in his eyes as he stared straight ahead without saying much. I felt so sorry for him. 

Baseball is his love. In fact, he recently started some grueling work outs with a personal trainer to increase arm strength. He also started working with a baseball trainer to improve his throwing mechanics. Ironically, he was doing all of this to avoid arm injuries. 

He has had arm injuries before. At age 10, he broke the growth plate in his elbow while he was pitching. That healed fairly quickly, but while the elbow was healing, his shoulder became weak. The shoulder weakness led to shoulder pain. He battled arm discomfort off and on. Last year, he was injury free and he was really looking forward to a breakout year in 2012.

We had to wait to call for an appointment with an orthopedic because his latest injury happened on a Sunday. The ice and Advil seemed to eliminate the swelling and discoloration. The pain was minimal. Still, we made an appointment to see the doctor.

The doctor suggested an MRI and it took a week to schedule the MRI. During that long week, my son wondered if he would be playing baseball in the spring or recovering from surgery. 

Fortunately, the MRI came back negative. There was no bone or ligament damage. The swelling and discoloration was the result of a minor bursae sac issue. I was thrilled for my son and, quite frankly and selfishly, for myself. I love to watch him play and get a sense of pride from his accomplishments. 

My son's baseball career was back on track and he was back in the gym the day after the results came back.

The Main Point

All dads know how unlikely it is that their son will make the pros or even play in college. To make it, a player needs to be a very special talent, be seen by the right people at the right time and stay healthy. 

Every time I think about how unlikely it is that my son will advance in baseball, I also consider that every college and pro ballplayer has a dad who wondered the same thing. So there is a chance. The results of the MRI kept those slim chances alive.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Youth Soccer: Is Heading A Soccer Ball Safe?

A new study suggests that heading a soccer ball might not be safe after all.

A friend of my was playing goalie in a friendly pick up game. The field was filled with both US and foreign born ex-college players ages 25 to 45. During a game one Sunday, a powerful midfielder ripped a shot. My friend went to save the ball and the bone in his arm snapped through his skin proving that a soccer ball can cause damage.

So why doesn't a headed soccer ball cause brain injuries?

I know that ball contracts on impact to mitigate the force, but still, a professional soccer player can kick a soccer ball up to 80 mph.

How can that not cause brian damage?

This is a question that I have thought about often, but not enough to look for an answer because I considered that soccer has been played for years and years all over the world and brain injuries from a headed ball have never been a major concern. I would consider the world-wide history of soccer a big long conclusive test. If there were a problem with heading, then FIFA, SAY and any other organizing soccer body would have outlawed heading. So I just blindly assumed that heading a soccer ball was safe even if it did not make intuitive sense. Of course, the game is not without head injures, but soccer head injuries seemed to be confined to heads hitting heads, heads hitting goal posts and heads hitting the grounds.

Well, a new study suggests that heading a soccer ball may cause brain function issues. The study was presented at the Radiological Society of North America today. The study suggests that repeated heading is the issue, not the force of a single impact. Again, it makes intuitive sense to me, but then again, I look back on the long history of soccer wonder why issues have not surfaced prior to this study. I guess a lot of research needs to be done before there will be conclusive report.

The Main Point

So I conclude that if you put modern medical equipment to the test you can detect changes in the brain from repeated heading. If you put history to the test you can conclude that the changes detected from the modern equipment must not be consequential.

Heading is a vitally important part of the game on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The best advice I can give a soccer mom or dad is to make sure that your kid's coach is teaching the proper technique at age 10 and up.

I do not think that players under 10 years old need to be heading a soccer ball. I say this not because it is conclusively proven to be dangerous to developing brains, but because players of this age do not know the proper technique. This can cause injuries. Kids this age often close their eyes and let the ball hit them on the top of the head (not the forehead where the most protective bones are). This does not feel very good and fear develops. This fear from poor initial technique will undermine the confidence needed to properly execute a header when they get older. Besides, young players 10 and under have so many things to master first.

Click here for the proper technique for heading a soccer ball

My son was a terrific player in the air. In soccer terms that means he was a very good at heading a ball. He attacked the ball.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Youth Baseball: Planning for Cooperstown Dreams Park

The Cooperstown Dreams Park baseball week is a very special event for 12 year old baseball players and their families. It's well worth the time, effort and money. The tournaments happen in the summer but the planning happens in the winter. 

Here are some of the things you should be doing in the winter to prepare for an awesome baseball experience for your team and your kid in the summer.

Stage 1 (Complete in November or December. January at the latest.)

1.       Parents - Get lodging booked for all parties who are not staying in the barracks. This includes parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. Players are not technically required to stay in the barracks. If your kid is considering not staying in the barrack for what is essentially a 5 day sleepover with friends, I would definitely re-think that because it is a memorable team building experience.

Here is link to housing options.  and Many families double or triple up in one house to save on costs. That is what I did. Some families they prefer to be by themselves.  Some families chose to stay in the hotels listed as well, but they are much more expensive on a nightly basis. I recently heard that a house called the Federal House right across the street from the park is nice and sleeps 14 people. Here is a list of Cooperstown house options that my team used. 

You want to look for housing now because they options are fairly limited. Start early and get the house that best fits your needs.

2.       Coaches / Parents - Make sure each player has an original birth certificate.

Players will not be eligible to play if they do not have an original birth certificate. So, it is a good idea to look for the original birth certificate in the Stage 1 period just in case you can’t find it. If you cannot find it, here is a website called VitalChek where they can order an authorized birth certificate that Cooperstown Dreams Park will accept.

3. Coaches - You need to start looking for an umpire.

Each team must supply a umpire for the week. From what I understand it is an honor to be selected and they make a few bucks. Normal pay for the ump is anywhere from $500-$800.00. Umpires stay in the barrack for free.

The Main Point

Wintertime is the time to start planning for Cooperstown. Stage 2 post, Things to do in Feb / March to follow shortly. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Youth Sports: Coaching Lessons Taught By Toddlers?

I have a confession. I was a terrible coach for my first son. I was too competitive and uptight. Over time, I learned from my mistakes. I learned how to coach in a much more positive way. I learned from trainers. I learned from reading books and websites. But most importantly, I learned from the verbal and non verbal feedback I was getting from the kids. So when, Alan Stein approached me with an idea for a post "Coaching Lessons Taught By Toddlers", I was thrilled to include it on StatsDad.

Alan Stein is a social media influencer and the owner of Stronger Team. He is the Strength & Conditioning Coach for the DeMatha Catholic High School basketball program, and a performance consultant for Nike Basketball. Alan brings a wealth of valuable experience to his training arsenal after years of extensive work with elite high school, college, and NBA players. 

More importantly, Alan Stein is a father of twin boys. And those two boys have made Alan a better coach. 

Alan Stein - Strength & Conditioning Coach
I am the proud father of 20 month old twin boys, Luke & Jack (aka The Born Backcourt).  Being a father has brought more joy than I could have ever imagined.  It has also made me a better coach.

How has being the father of toddlers made me a better coach?  Simple – my sons, as young as they are, embody several qualities necessary to being a successful coach – and they remind me of these things every day:

1.   Toddlers are Persistent: they never quit. Ever. When they want something… to be fed, to be changed, or to have a new toy… they do not stop until they get what they want.   And they are relentless when learning a new skill (like walking, holding utensils, etc.).  They spend hours and hours practicing until they master it.

      How persistent are you as a coach? How relentless are you in your own development?

2.   Toddlers are Communicators: they speak their minds freely. Granted, it’s in the form of crying, grunting, laughing, and Gibberish... but they do communicate. And they are attentive listeners.  When Mickey Mouse or the Wiggles are talking, trust me, they are listening!

How effective is your communication with your players? How about with your assistants?

3.   Toddlers are Enthusiastic: they have a passion for everything they do! When they are happy, they bounce around and their faces light up the room. When they aren’t, they flail their limbs and scream like wild hyenas. But they put their heart and soul into every aspect of their lives.

How much enthusiasm do you have for coaching? Do you raise the level of those around you?

4.   Toddlers crave Structure: they are on a schedule.  They go to sleep at the same time every night, get up at the same time every day, and eat (and nap) at routine times.  They are very consistent.

      Do you have a daily routine? Do your practices have structure or are they haphazard?

5.   Toddlers are Uninhibited: they don’t care about looking cool. In fact, they don’t even know what cool is. They will (literally) crap their pants and just keep on

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Youth Sports: A Plane Crash is a Good Excuse to Miss a Game

Do you go to all of your kids youth sports games? (Please let me know in the comments)

I faithfully and happily go to about 95% of all of my kids games. I do have to miss a few games on occasion. Sometimes I will miss my daughter play a game because my son is playing a game at the same time (or vice versa). Sometimes I miss a game because my wife and I are taking our annual trip together. We travel a week in February from Sunday to Friday to minimize the number of games missed. And sometimes my work interferes with a game. Luckily, I have pretty good control of my schedule so I can avoid conflicts most of the time.

There are some parents who missed most of their kids games. And there are situations where you only see the mom at games but never the dad. The reverse is true too. The reasons, good and bad, vary from work conflicts (including military deployments) to marital issues to lack of interest. And there are parents who go to most of the games but complain about what a waste of time it is the entire time.

For those of you who miss games you could actually make, this short video of a man who survived the plane crash of USAir 1549 better know as the Miracle on the Hudson may change your attitude about going to your kid's games.

The Main Point

This video should inspire everyone to cherish every at bat in little league baseball, every snap in pee-wee football, every tip off in AAU basketball and every minute of a 0-0 youth soccer game.

Time with our children goes by so quickly. Last night, my fifth grade daughter wanted to go to the regional finals of the Ohio State High School Football Championship because all of her friends (boys and girls) were going. Although we did not know any kids playing in the game, we decided to go to the campus of The University of Cincinnati to watch.

High school football is a big deal in Ohio. The stadium was crowded and electric. We had a good time, however sitting amid a sea of high school kids made me realize the my youngest will not be young very long. Soon she will be in high school and more interested in boys than her dad. Actually that's already happening. My son watched the game with his buddies far from my wife and me on the other side of the large stadium. We met up after the game and we walked side by side through campus to the parking garage. Every time I look at him lately he seems to have grown and matured more. At that moment, I realized I will dropping him off at college in 4 short years.

At the game last night, I peeked into the future and it made me bit sad. During the game, I remembered the video above that I just saw this week and it reminded me cherish every moment I have with my kids now. But I did not really need the reminder, I all ready do and I hope you do too.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Youth Baseball: Budget Planning for a Select Season

How much does it cost to run a select (travel) baseball team?

This is the time of year that an organzied select baseball coach will put together a budget for the spring season. If you are a coach, this post will help you think about your budget.

This budget is based on a 12 player team with a 65 game schedule.


Hats (2 colors)                                 24                        $15                   $ 360
Socks (2 pairs Home and Away)     48                        $  4                   $ 192
Jerseys (Home and Away)              24                        $40                   $ 960
Jerseys (Coaches)                           6                         $40                   $ 240
Pull Overs (Players & Coaches)     30                         $20                   $ 600
Pants (Home and Away)                24                         $30                   $ 720
Helmets (Batting)                           12                         $25                   $ 300
Helmets* (Pitching)                        12                        $25                    $ 300
Equip Bag (Reg)                            10                         $40                   $ 400
Equip Bag (Catchers)                      2                          $55                   $ 110
Equip Bag (Team)                           2                          $55                   $ 110
Shipping                                                                                               $ 225
Sub Total                                                                                           $ 4,517

* Highly Recommended


Game Balls (Dozen)                     6                             $40                   $ 240
Practice Balls (Bucket)                 1                            $100                   $ 100
Scorebooks                                   3                          $  10                   $   30
Medical Bag                                 1                           $ 200                  $ 200
Other Gear (L Screen, etc)           1                          $ 300                  $ 300
Sub Total                                                                                             $ 870

Field / Facility Rentals     

Winter Indoor                               1                          $1000                $1,000
Home Games                              15                         $    45                $  675
Practice Field                                1                         $  500                 $  500
Sub Total                                                                                           $1,175

Assumes 15 home games. Tournament game field fees are included in the tournament fees.

Umpire Fees

Assignment Fee                           1                          $   25                 $     25
Scheduling Fee                            1                          $ 100                 $   100
Game Fees*                                25                         $    55                $1,375
Sub Total                                                                                           $1,500

* Umpire Fees for regular season games only. Tournament game umpire fees are included in the tournament fees. 

Tournaments / League / Admin

Season Tournaments                     8                          $500                $4,000
League Tournament                      1                          $500                 $   500
State Tournament                          1                          $750                $   750
National Tournament                    1                          $750                 $   750
Team Sanction Fee                       1                          $  50                $     50
Insurance                                      1                          $ 100                $   100
League Fees                                 1                          $ 500               $   500
Misc (Admin, party, etc.)             1                          $ 500                 $   500
Sub Total                                                                                           $7,150

Grand Total                                                                                     $15,212

Cost Per Player                                                                                  $1,267

The Main Point

A well thought-out budget in the pre-season helps a coach avoid surprise charges during the season and allows the players' parents to budget their money for this somewhat expensive sport.

Note - this budget was built for 12 players - Communicate to the parents that if someone decides to quit and not pay - the other players will need to pick up the difference. As a coach you do not want to get caught making up for short falls in the budget. Believe me it happens all the time. It is better to ask for more money upfront from each player and then refund it, then it is to end up short. For the budget above, I would charge each player a flat $1,350.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Youth Sports: How to Start A Youth Sports Blog (Part 3)

In Part 1 of the series, I encouraged you to determined if you really had the motivation and passion to start a Youth Sports Blog.

In Part 2, you learned how to set up a blog and perhaps you started to write.

In Part 3, you will learn how to build credibility and organic traffic (Traffic via search and referrals).

1. Create blog roll on your site.

You'll want to join the conversation about youth sports to increase awareness of your site and build your authority. So you need to find conversations to join.

The first step is to find likeminded blogs. You can find blogs by 1) searching blog aggregator sites, like All Top or, 2) doing a Google Blog Search or 3) reviewing the blog rolls of sites you admire. A blog roll is a list of blog links on a blog. These are blogs the blogger likes to follow.

The second step is create your own blog roll.  It's easy to add a blog roll to your Blogger blog. Go to your layout options and select add a gadget. Then select Blog List. Follow the instructions to add the URLs of all of the blogs that you identified in step 1. For Wordpress blog roll instructions follow this link.

Every time you add a blog to your list, you are essentially giving a vote of respect to the blogger you admire with a link. Bloggers like links because each link to a site is tells search engines that this blog has interesting content that people like. The number of links to a site is an important ranking element for search algorithms. When you give a blogger a link, they will often show you some link love by adding you to their blog list.

2. Join the conversation

Go to the sites on your blog roll and comment on their posts. Let these bloggers know that you are a new voice. They will  notice your post and check out your link. If they like your content and see that you gave them some link love on your blog roll, they might add you to their blog roll. Again, you'll want the inbound links for SEO (Search) and exposure to the blogger's audience.

3. Keep the conversation going

Look at the comments on your site often. Acknowledge the comments and continue the conversation by adding a comment of your own in response. People love to be heard and acknowledged.  If the comment was not posted anonymously, check out the person who made the comment by following the link on the comment. Chances are that that person has a blog too. Go to their site, read it, comment on it and add it to your blog roll if you like it.

4. Use keywords

You will want to start showing up in SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) for your chosen topic. For example, if your topic is Youth Hockey - you will want to put those words in most of your posts.

Look at your analytics and check out which key words people are searching to find you. I once wrote a

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Youth Basketball: Learn From Jimmer Fredette

I watched my son's 8th grade team scrimmage last night. Everyone on his team was throwing up threes. Everyone, whether they were good at it or not. The other team worked the ball around, inside and out and beat them easily. The winning team opted for easy inside shots and only used open threes strategically to keep the defense honest.

The three point shot is a strategic shot. Jimmer Fredette is a three point sharpshooter, but there's so much more to his game.

Koran Godwin, author of Everyone Hates A Ball Hog But They All Love A Scorer and editor of Jumpstarthoops/Blog breaks down Jimmer Fredette's multi-faceted game. This is a must watch for any youth basketball player and coach.

As soon as I saw this video I sent the link to my son and daughter to study. My daughter, CC, especially loved it because she is known for her outside shooting.

CC shot a very respectable 7 for 19 (37%) from three point range during her 5th grade CYO season. What's remarkable about that is very few other players in the entire league even attempted a 3 pointer during the year. (Except for end of half or end of game desperation shots.) I saw at most 3 or 4 shots from other players the entire season. And what's even more remarkable is that my daughter is tiny. She weighs a mere 70 pounds. But when it comes to shooting, technique is more important than strength.

At the end of the season, CC was given the "Sharpshooter" award printed on a certificate. When she received the award, she smiled and commented, "Wow - that is the same award my AAU coach gave me after the 4th grade AAU season." She can shoot but there is much more to her game.

At what age should the three point shot come into play?

It all depends on the percentages. There's a reason 7 foot tall Shaq doesn't

Monday, November 7, 2011

Youth Sports: The Coach Gift

I received a special end of season gift for coaching. What coach gifts have you received or given?

I had the absolute honor of coaching my daughter's basketball team this fall. The experience to be with my daughter and her friends was gift enough for me, but the team gave me a post season gift anyway.

The team mom, who coordinated volunteers for games, communicated schedules and organized parties, coordinated the end of season coaches gifts. And she did a nice job all year and her choice of gift was great.

The team gave me and the head coach each a personalized, hand-painted tub filled with a mini-basketball hoop, popcorn, peanuts, a photo album and the kicker - 8 bottles of Yeungling Lager. The names of each player are painted on the tub. A lot of thought and effort and maybe cost went into this gift.

Coach's Gift
The Main Point

Gift cards to restaurants are nice, but this was a special gift.

What coach gifts have you received or given? Share the good, the bad and the ridiculous.



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