Monday, October 31, 2011

Youth Sports: So You Want to Start a Youth Sports Blog (Part 2)

So if you are serious about starting a youth sports blog here are the first steps.

1. Pick a topic that you are passionate about. 

I write about youth sports in general, but I focus on select baseball, soccer, golf and basketball. These are the sports my kids play and therefore the topics that I have the most passion and content for.

Here are some examples of other youth sports blogs with a specific focus: Coach Parker writes about youth football, Hockey Mom in Canada writes about youth hockey in Canada. Sports Girls Play focuses on girls in sports.

Before you start your blog, I recommend that you explore many youth sports sites to see what you like and what you don't. Start by exploring the blogs on the blog roll on the right column of this blog.

2. Pick a name for your site and see if it is available.

One of the most important things you need to do is to select a name for the site. You'll need a name that will set your site apart from the crowd. Find a name that reflects the subject and the personality of the site.

If you are serious about blogging, you'll want your own URL, like It is not very expensive to do (less than $10 / year). To get your own URL, you'll need to go to a URL Registry Service like, or and check to see what names are available and register for that URL. If the name you want is taken, these websites will suggest alternatives. I would recommend that you use a URL with a .com or .net ending. These are the most common and therefore make your site look more authentic and credible.

I choose because I keep the score books and team stats for the sports teams that my kids play on. Dad blogs are getting big so I wanted the word Dad in the title.

If you do not want to pay for a URL, you can simply use the URL associated with the blog platform that you decide to use (See next section). In that case your URL would look something like this; or You can start with one of the URLs that come with the blog platform and then change to your own URL later. I think that you'll agree that the owned URL looks more professional and credible.

3. Pick a blog platform and design

I recommend using Google Blogger (, Wordpress ( or Typepad ( All three are very easy to set up and use. Both provide intuitive step by step directions to guide you through the process. You can literally be up and running in less than 10 minutes, but you'll want to take some time designing the site.

The design of your site is one of the most important decisions you can make. A good design will make your site look credible and authoritative. A good design will make the site easy to read and navigate. Always think about the end user, your audience.

Each platform above provides many design templates from which to choose. Pick a template that fits your subject and your personality. Use the template features to make the site look new and different. Experiment with custom templates, colors and fonts. Avoid the cookie-cutter design templates. You can change the look of the site with a click of a button and then switch it right back. Use colors and fonts that are easy to read. Avoid dark backgrounds with light type.

Consider these three blogs which ones do you think look more credible and easy to read. (The first one was masked to protect the source, but this site is now defunct.)

Cookie Cutter Blogger Template
Custon Wordpress Template
Custom Blogger Template

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Youth Basketball: Bending the Rules

At the end of the last regular season game, I asked the ref and the other coach to bend the rules to give two of our girls a chance to score this season.

Last night, my daughter's CYO team played their last regular season game. The game was meaningless in the sense that the outcome would not change the team's seeding in the big end of season tournament for the Cincinnati City Championship.

It was a game that they should've won, but didn't. Winning was not the goal last night.
Goal One
Get the players, who played limited minutes in the finals of the last tournament (our last game), lots of playing time. These players will likely see limited action in the end of year city championship tournament that starts next week.
Goal Two
Get players some experience in positions they do not usually play. 
Goal Three
Get the two players who have not yet scored this season some points.

The game plan was to limit the team's three star players to 1 quarter of playing time each.

With the experienced players on the bench, the game turned into a blowout, but the less experienced girls were having fun and gaining valuable experience.

Midway through the last quarter, we realized that Goal Two was conflicting with Goal Three because the inexperienced point guards were not able to get the ball in the hands of the two girls who have not yet scored.

We decided to put my daughter, CC, in the game to penetrate into the lane and dish the ball to the two players who have not yet scored. CC was happy to do it. CC did a great job distributing the ball, but shot after shot missed the mark.

On one drive in the paint, CC was fouled. It was the 7th foul of the half and she was awarded a 1 and 1. We asked the ref if we could have another player shoot the shots. The ref looked at us strangely and said, "no." I asked the ref if we could ask the other coach for permission. The ref gave us a minute to inquire. Our team was losing by 12 or more, so the opposing coach, who realized what we were doing, was happy to oblige. So one of the girls who had not yet scored this season approached the line and shot two soft shots. Unfortunately both bounced off the rim.

CC triple teamed delivers a perfect bounce pass.
My daughter kept working her magic and distributing the ball to no avail. Then with 5 second left on the clock, my daughter got a rebound, darted up the court and launched a half court shot. The shot did not reach its target because my daughter was fouled hard. CC was awarded foul shots. Again, I went to the ref and asked if another player could take the shots. He allowed it.

The floor was cleared of all players because time had expired while my daughter was getting knocked to the floor. The other player who had not scored all season approached the line and put up a shot. The ball hit the back of the rim, then the front of the rim and then went through the hoop. A smile emerged from her face and the knowing crowd erupted with a thunderous roar.

The Main Point

I hate losing. It was tough to sit there and watch us lose a game we should have won. At the end of the game, however, I realized we kind of won. We met our goals (well almost). And that felt better than winning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Youth Sports: So You Want to Start a Youth Sports Blog (Part 1)

I welcome you to start a youth sports blog. In fact, over the next couple of posts I will tell you how.

Believe it or not, in this world with 156 million blogs and a population that is crazy about youth sports, there are really very few enduring youth sports blogs. So if you love youth sports jump in, you'll soon realize that blogging is as competitive as sports.

Before we start, let me be frank with you, very few youth sports blogs endure. Heck, very few blogs endure past 30 days. Evidence, I just cleared out about 40% of my blog roll. 40% of the blogs that I listed 1 year ago were dead - no activity.

Here are my Top 5 Reasons why Youth Sport Blogs Fail.

1) You'll realize it's not easy

It's very easy to set up a blog on Google Blogspot or Wordpress, but it is very difficult to write original content that is engaging, entertaining and / or informative with consistency 2 to 3 times per week every week.

2) You'll realize that your talking to yourself in the beginning, stories you've already heard

Blogging usually starts with a desire to express oneself and a dream to make money. Here's how it'll play out for you. Your blog will start with a post that you pour your heart into. You'll agonize over every word. You will hesitate to hit the publish button for fear that it could be just a little bit better, so you'll re-read it. Then you'll hit the publish button. You'll feel complete satisfaction because you created something from scratch. You will click on it over and over again. Checking in on it like it was your first born. This will energize you to write more. But after a couple of weeks, you'll come to realize that very few people are reading your posts. You'll question your sanity, "Why am I spending so much time talking into the wind?" You'll be discouraged to say the least. All of your great early content will go unnoticed. If you are like many, you will lose your desire. Your three to four posts per week will go to 1 to 2. Then you will post sporadically until you abandon the site altogether.

It takes months and months of strong content and persistent networking to build an audience. You'll need to be very patient. In the first three months, I wrote 77 posts that generated a measly 1,500 page views and 750 visits. And I can tell you that the majority of those visits were from me. Two years later, is averaging 20,000 page views and 11,000 visits per month. Not a powerhouse, but respectable.

3) You'll realize your not going to make any money blogging (for a while at least)

Let me tell you straight, you're not going to make money at blogging at least for a while. Maybe never. So don't get into blogging because you want to make money. You'll only make money if you have an audience. And you'll only have an audience if you consistently create content that people want to read. (Read Point 2) Concentrate on creating compelling content that satisfies your passion to create and not on generating money. And before you know it, you will be making a few bucks from AdSense and other advertising networks. Enough to support the coffee drinking habit you will create staying up late writing..

Monday, October 24, 2011

Youth Sports: How to Take Action Photos without the Blur

The Camera and Lens are only as good as the Photographer

We recently took some action photos at an indoor basketball game. Many of the pictures had motion blur. 

In a previous post called Youth Sports: Frustrated with Blurry Action Photos? (Part 2),  I discussed how to avoid blurry action photos by buying the right lens for the job.

I bought a Tamron SP AF70-200mm lens with an F/2.8 (aperture) for $800. The F/2.8 aperature is the key to getting enough light at faster shutter speeds.

We started using the lens and was capturing great photos using the advise below.

  1. Set your camera to the S setting using the dial indicated with the red arrow. The S mode is an auto-exposure method in which the lens aperture is automatically set by the camera and you manually select the shutter speed.
  2. Set the shutter speed. Use the dial indicated by the blue arrow. Look at the shutter speed which can be set between 30 seconds to 1/8000 of a second on my camera. The shutter speed is indicated by the yellow arrow. Rotate the dial until you get to 250. To the right of the number you may see a warning of Lo (low light) or Hi (too much light) for the corresponding shutter speed and the aperture of the lens.
  3. Set your ISO to the maximum (1600 on the D70). Two ways to do this. A.) When the monitor is off, press the button on the back of the camera that looks like a checkers board - ISO is printed above it. (Green arrow) While holding this button rotate the dial indicated with the blue arrow. or B.) Using the monitor, press menu, highlight the camera icon on the monitor, scroll down to the ISO and select 1600.

Avoid Photographer Error / Diagnose Problems

It's easy to get lazy and not set up the camera to get the images you want. If you have the right camera and the right lens but you are still getting some blurry pictures you can diagnose the problem by looking at the EXIF data of the photos using your photo editing software.

To Reveal the EXIF data, highlight the photo on your photo editing software. Then Look for the Photo Info link on the main navigation of your photo editing software. I use iPhoto and it can be found on the Photos pull down - Show Extended Photo Info. (Here is a link to a iphoto help site called How to reveal EXIF data in iPhoto).

Last week my wife captured this shot. My daughter looks clear, but the ball is blurry. I looked at the EXIF data and discovered that the Shutter was set to 1/125 - not fast enough and the ISO was 800 - too low for action photos in poor light situations.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Youth Sports: Share Your Thoughts on Playing Time

Playing Time Dilemma - What do you think?

Here's the situation:

I am the assistant coach for my daughter's 5th grade basketball parochial school team.

The head coach is out of town and we have a big tournament game tomorrow.

We have 10 players on the team.

During the regular season, the parish mandated that all players 5th grade and under must play 2 quarters. That certainly makes any playing time decisions easy.

In tournaments, however, each player must play 1 quarter.

The team is made up of a mix of experienced and inexperienced players. The 3 most experienced players working together can control and win most games. Due to the parish playing time mandate during the regular season, we rarely had all 3 experienced players on the court at the same time and we ended up a .500 team.


If we play all of our girls equal playing time we will likely not advance far in the tournaments (1 to 2 games max).

If we play our 3 most experienced players a disproportionate amount of time, we have a chance to advance far in the tournaments (3 to 5 games).

So equal time for 1 or 2 games or reduced playing time per game for 3 to 5 games.

What would you do?

The Main Point

Player / person development is our main goal. Winning is our second goal. (Positive Coaching Alliance - Double Goal Coaching)

I truly believe that the inexperienced girls will actually get more playing minutes in the tournament if we play the experienced girls more. More playing time is better for player development.

The inexperienced players will also get a better chance to touch the ball in meaningful situations if the experienced girls are on the court breaking presses, drawing defenders and making smart passes. Again, this leads to a better player development situation.

The head coach has played the experienced girls more so far in the tournament and the team has advanced to the semi-finals. If we win tomorrow, all of the girls will win trophies and feel like they were a part of something special.

So I think you know how I am going to coach this tomorrow.

Full discloser - my daughter is one of the 3 experienced players and probably the leading scorer on the team.

What would you do?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Youth Golf: Establish a Team for Your School

Member of the 2 time City Championship Team
Three years ago, my wife and another mom helped start the first ever golf team for my son's parochial middle school (6th - 8th grade). That other mom happened to be the mother of one of the top junior golfers in the city, actually the world (finished 7th in the Junior World Championships in 2011). As if that were not lucky enough, one of the parishioners of the church happens to be a PGA teaching pro. These two founding moms convinced this PGA pro to be the coach. Most of the teams have a dad coach, so this was key.

The summer before the first year, the coach established clinics for any interested players. About 30 kids, both boys and girls, participated in the clinics. In mid August, the new coach set up a two day tryout tournament to determine the top 9 kids that would represent the school team. The kids who did not make the cut competed against each other weekly.

My son and the other founding mom's son made that inaugural team as 6th graders. In fact, an incredible 6 of the 9 players that made the cut that first year were 6th graders. The young team did very well in the first year and gained valuable experience. They came in second in the City.

Following year in 2010, they won the Cincinnati City Championship by an amazing 33 strokes. In 2011, they won all 23 matches by at least 11 strokes and repeated as Cincinnati City Champions.

The Main Point

Does your school have a golf team? If not, be proactive and go to the administration of the school and start a team yourself. A local pro from a city course may be very happy to help you start a program. The PGA pro who helped established our program had 50 kids participate in the program this year - that is immediate revenue and lots of future golfers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Youth Soccer: Ready, Willing and Able

Wordless Wednesday

The Main Point

Do you underestimate what young athletes (10 and under) can do and thus limit them? Don't.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Youth Sports: Blogs That Make the Cut

It's cut time. Yep, time to cut the slow and unmotivated and add in some new energy. The cuts I made today were easy to make because those in question have just not performed well while others have stepped up to be noticed. Of course, I kept my go to solid performers.

I am talking about my blog roll. I had 45 blogs on my blog roll and cut the roster down to 32. If your site got cut, it's time to reevaluate your commitment and your contributions to the youth sports blogosphere. Perhaps this time next year you will be added back again.

Here some of my favorites (CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO GO TO THE SITES)

A blog that makes youth sports parents SMILE. There is so much ugliness in youth sports and no one site can erase that ugliness from our minds, but this site makes you believe in the human spirit and the overall goodness of sports. I have been a guest writer for this site several times. My recent story call, Ready to Play:  A True Story about God and Baseball is currently being featured.

A blog that makes youth sports parents LAUGH. - This site is about sports with a humorous twist. It made the list because it often highlights the ridiculousness of youth sports. I wish I could be a guest writer for this humorous site.

A blogs that makes youth sports parents THINK. - This blog is constantly refreshed with new content that makes you think about the good, the bad and the ugly of youth sports parenting. Janis Meredith consistently fills her blog with interesting insights regarding the world of youth sports. Her perspective as a mother of college and soon to be collage athletes and as a wife of a long time coach provide her unique POV.

A blog that MOTIVATES youth sports parents and athletes. is written by Alan Stein, an internationally renowned basketball specific strength & conditioning coach. The site is motivational.

A blog that INFORMES youth sports parents.

The LA84 Sportsletter is published by the LA84 Foundation, endowed with Southern California's share of the surplus from the 1984 Olympic Games. The Foundation awards grants to youth sports organizations, initiates its own youth sports programs and manages the world's premier sports library. It's a great site for short little news releases related to youth sports. This site inspires some of my topics.

The Main Point

If you are looking for great content regarding youth sports these sites will provide you with a great foundation. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Youth Sports: Pre-Game Speech

What does your coach do before a big game, a game your team is not suppose to win? Is he (or she) working himself up into a frenzy yelling at the kids because he's nervous or is he (or she) Zen-like calm a la famed NBA basketball coach Phil Jackson?

Yesterday, before the soccer game against the undefeated #1 team in the TPL (The Premiere League - a league made up of some of the very best teams from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky), the coach of our team strayed from the norm. Instead of bringing the warm-ups to a fever pitch fifteen minutes before the game, he chose to sit the girls on the field in front of the goal for a quiet chat.

When he called the team over, I had been warming up the goalie, my daughter CC. The warm-ups were not going particularly well because CC was having trouble getting a good grip on the cold slick ball.  Quite a few balls were slipping through her hands.

Her eyes told me the story, "how can this be happening before this game of all games?" She knew she was going to be tested by one of the best teams in the league. I also think that CC was a bit nervous too because one of her AAU basketball teammates was the star of the other team.

When the coach called us over, CC didn't want to go. She wanted desperately to work through her pre-game issues, but I signaled her over to the coach for the pre-game speech.

Max Effort - Amazing Save - tipped over goal
"Girls" he said, "we have nothing to lose today. We are playing the best team in the league. They are undefeated. They are suppose to beat us and they just might. We are going to play our game. We are going to play smart. We are going to play our possession game. We are not going to let them intimidate us or take us out of our game plan. We are going to make mistakes, mistakes that might lead to goals but we are not going to hang our heads down if we do. We are still in school. Still learning. If we make a mistake and they score, we are going to get back up and bring it at them again. We are going to keep working on what we have been working on for the last 5 weeks, possession, possession, possession.

That team just lost in the finals of the State Cup in a PK shoot out. A loss that is going to remind them of our win against them in the last State Cup when we won on PKs. They're going to be upset, so they're going to want to win this game badly. They might win, but if they win we are going to make them earn it. Let's limit the mistakes. Let's leave it all on the field by giving max effort. Give max effort and if you get tired, raise your hand and we will get you a quick rest. Let's make them earn it."

The speech reminded me of the Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Coach course I took this summer before the AAU Basketball National Championships. Specifically, the section of the course called ELM. The E stands for Effort. The L for Learning and the M for bouncing back from Mistakes.

The Main Point

Goal 1 off of a mistake
Just like win-at-all-cost coaches, Double-Goal coaches want to win on the field, but Double-Goal coaches strive for mastery (getting better) rather than focusing on winning. Winning is a result of mastery of the game.

Goal 2 own goal
CC's team didn't win, they lost 2-1. They got down 2-0 before the half. The first goal was the result of a mistake. A poor clearing pass hit the back of one of our midfielders and rebounded in front of an opportunistic striker from the other team who rocketed the ball into the upper righthand corner of the net before CC could even see it. The other goal was an "own goal" off a corner kick. CC was tracking the ball across the goal, but the ball hit one of our defenders in the shoulder and deflected in the opposite direction.

But CC and her team made the undefeated #1 team earn it. In fact, CC's team shut down the powerful first place team and scored once to win the second half 1-0.

The team gave max E (effort) and bounced back for a few Ms (mistakes). They gave the #1 undefeated team a scare because they concentrated on working on what the team has been L (learning), possession.

1 of 3 great second half saves

1 of 3 great second half saves 
1 of 3 great second half saves 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Youth Sports: Marriage Advice for Crazy Youth Sports Parents

Marriage advice for Crazy Youth Sports Parents

Today is the 285th day of the year and my two kids have played in 236 games and participated in 137 practices. That's 373 youth sports events in 285 days. My wife and I have logged 13,000 miles just going to and from sports games. I'm not sure how many water bottles we filled and washed or how many loads of uniforms and practice jerseys we have washed. Lots of time and effort goes into our youth sports obsession. Of course, our kids are not just athletes. Both are terrific students and are involved in non-sports extracurricular activities as well. It's pure insanity I know. 

To do this you need two very dedicated parents with a passion for their kids and sports. My wife and I wouldn't commit to this schedule if we weren't on the same page because a schedule like this could put a strain on a marriage. 

While we concentrate a lot of time and emotional energy on our kids, we don't forget about each other. We believe that one of the greatest things that we can give our kids is a happy and healthy marriage. My wife and I both came from broken families and know the toll that divorce can take on kids, so we constantly work at our 15 year marriage. Of course it helps that we are both compatible sports nuts.

Here's some marriage advice for Crazy Youth Sports Parents.

  1. Have a date night every week without kids. (Fall Ball Baseball Saturday nights is killing this for us in Sept and Oct.)
  2. Get on the same page about the sports schedule - jointly decide what to do and not do. And when too much is too much.
  3. Go to every youth sports event together to share the memories. Of course, when you have multiple kids you need to divide and conquer. When you are apart, text sports updates or provide play-by-play over the phone.
  4. Finally, take a TIME OUT from youth sports and go away alone for uninterrupted time together. This past weekend we took a break from youth sports and drove to Nemacolin Woodland Resort in Western Pennsylvania for a 50 / 25 / 20 / 15 celebration. My two sisters and my two brother-in-laws met us there. My older sister turned 50 and was celebrating her 25th anniversary. My younger sister was celebrating her 20 anniversary and my wife and I celebrated our 15th.

The Nemacolin Woodland Resort is a great getaway for active youth sports parents. There is so much to do. (Actually it is a great place for young athletes too. We intend to take our kids there one day soon.)

Over two days one or more of us did the following
1) Zipline
2) High-wire Obstacle Course
3) Wall-Climbing
4) Miniature Golf
5) Bowling
6) Beer Tasting Festival
7) Dog Sledding
8) Billiards
9) Jeep obstacle course
10) Fine dining and lots of drinking

We did not do the following because we did not have the time or the activities were totally booked
1) Spa
2) Skeet shooting
3) Archery
4) Golf (Two spectacular courses)
5) Zoo
6) Antique Car Museum
7) Antique Plane Museum
8) Hiking
9) Learn to fly fish
10) Horseback riding
11) Tennis
12) Swimming
13) Croquet

We had a great time. We only missed 1 basketball game, 1 golf match and 1 basketball practice. It was actually the State Cup Soccer Semi and Finals weekend. My wife and I rolled the dice that scheduled the weekend thinking that the team was not quite good enough this year to make it to the final four weekend like we did last year. We were right so we did not miss any soccer.

The Main Point

The over-scheduled youth sports world we live in can make life stressful for kids and parents.

My advice go to as many youth sports games are you can and enjoy watching your kids play. It will all be over before you know it. And periodically take a TIME OUT away from your kids sports schedules and your kids for a couple of hours per week and a couple of days per year to connect with your spouse.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Youth Sports: Expensive Shoes Obsession

Is your young athlete obsessed with expensive athletic shoes? Do you let him or her buy expensive shoes? Do you pay for them? If you do why? If you don't why? 

Share your point of view with me and my readers.

My son is obsessed with basketball shoes, baseball cleats and golf spikes.

My 14 year old son, Nic, is only 5' 6" but he has size 11.5 feet. I always tell him that one day he is going to be a big strong athlete or a short clown. Those constantly growing feet have cost me a lot of money over the years because every sports season since he was 5 and I have had to purchase him new athletic shoes. That's what dads do. Another thing dads do is put a reasonable budget on each shoe purchase and I have always done that.

Apparently in this Facebook super transparent world, the shoes still make the man.

My son likes to stand out. That's a problem when you play a team sport with uniforms. However, the one element of a uniform that Nic can control in most cases is his shoes. He uses his choice of shoes to make himself standout. Shoes have become a part of his identity and a reflection of his "full of life" personality. As such, he is currently obsessed with basketball shoes, baseball cleats and golf shoes. 

Over the last 6 months, Nic has purchased five pairs of basketball shoes for a combined total of about $550. You'll notice from my Youth Sports Costs list that only one is listed. I agreed to pay a portion ($80) of the only pair of these shoes (the white retro Jordans) that qualified as school shoes under his school's strict uniform policy. 

You are probably wondering how he buys his shoes if I don't buy them for him. Well, Nic is a hard worker. He mows lawns and watches a neighbor boy periodically to earn money to support his obsession with shoes. I keep telling him to put the money in his car fund (which I match dollar for dollar), but I guess shoes today are more important than a car tomorrow. I constantly remind him that his shoes will get him from point A to point B just like a car, but it's really tough to take a girl to the movies when the only mode of transportation you have is a pair of Pink Nike HyperDunks. I guess saving for the future is a lesson that he needs to learn the hard way though experience.

Here is a list of shoes he has purchased most recently to stand out. He also has purchased a matching headband for each pair.

Nike KD III Christmas Edition  (Yellow) KD is for Kevin Durant
Nike AirMax Flight 11 Reke Havoc (Purple) Tyreke Evans
Nike Zoom Kobe IV (Camo in Blue and Black) Kobe Bryant
Nike Jordan 5 V Retro Independance Day (White) Michael Jordan
Nike Hyper Dunk 2011 (Pink)

He bought these shoes online or at his favorite store the House of Hoops. The House of Hoops is a store within a store at select Footlocker locations. The closest one to our house is 100 miles away in Columbus. Fortunately for my son, we are in Columbus for soccer, baseball and basketball tournaments every other month. 

Nic was inspired to purchase the pink pair by watching the NFL breast cancer awareness campaign. During the month of October, the NFL players and coaches are raising awareness for breast cancer by donning pink (gloves, hats, shoes, sweatbands, etc.) for the A Crucial Catch Pink Campaign

The Main Point

You'd have to be crazy to buy multiple pairs of basketball shoes totaling $550 for feet that may still be growing. I'm not crazy, but my son apparently is and so are some of his friends. 

I am not really happy about his choice to spend money in what I think is a frivolous manner, but I also think that a person who works hard and earns his or her own money should be free to buy whatever they want to buy (as long as it is legal). I believe in limited government and freedom, so it's against my principles to mandate how my son spends his hard earned money or what color shoes he can and cannot wear.  It would take away all of his motivation to work. 

My wife and I have taught our son that you need to work hard to get the things you want in life. He has learned this lesson loud and clear. I hope that our message regarding the importance of saving money for the future is being heard too and that one day he will put it into practice.

What is your stance on expensive sneakers?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Youth Sports: Playing with Braces

And One
My daughter, CC, got braces last Tuesday morning. Last Tuesday night she had a basketball game and about 30 minutes into the game she got her first bloody lip from the braces. 

During the ride home from the game, she asked me to take her to Dick's Sporting Goods to get her a mouth guard. 

This is not the first time we bought CC a mouth guard. If you recall from my March 15, 2011 post called Youth Sports: Mouth Guards Recommended, I bought my daughter a mouth guard during the AAU basketball season. It just was not comfortable and no one else on the team was wearing one, so she never got into the habit of wearing it. That $20 mouth guard is collecting dust somewhere.

While writing that post, I learned a lot about the benefits of mouth guards. Benefits that I did not know about. (Read the post, it has lots of good information and links). After that post, I have been alerted to many more sports tragedies regarding concussions. Tragedies that might have been prevented to reduced with the use of a properly fitted mouth guard.

One ESPN article about a scappy women's soccer player called Heading For Trouble, by Peter Keating caught my attention because my daughter is a small scrappy player like the women in the story. In this article I learned about the prevalence of concussions in women's sports especially basketball. 
In sports played by both women and men, women sustain more concussions. The girls' concussion rate in high school soccer is 68% higher than for boys. And it's nearly triple the boys' rate in high school basketball, according to research by scientists at Ohio State, Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and the NCAA. 
My daughter plays soccer and basketball so, I intend to help my daughter make wearing a mouth guard a habit.

We purchased a Shock Doctor Mouth Guard developed specifically for use with braces. My daughter wore it last night. She is still getting used to breathing and talking with it, but she kept it in the entire game last night. It didn't seem to impact her performance. She led all scorers with 8 points including a key 15 foot baseline jumper with less than a minute left to give our team a two possession lead in a game we won 25-20.

The Main Point

Mouth Guards are not that fashionable and are not that comfortable at first, but I urge all parents to get their kids who play soccer, basketball, lacrosse, ice hockey, field hockey and football to get into the habit of wearing a mouth guard. The guard can help prevent lacerations, fractures, dislocations, broken teeth and concussions*.

* According to Shock Doctor, when there is an impact to the jaw or mouth, the mouthguard absorbs and redistributes the force of the blow more evenly, which can help lessen the severity of an impact and even help keep the force of an impact from moving to the brain.



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