Parents can play many roles in sport: current or former athlete, coach, fan, motivator, role model or critic. A few studies have shown that family members may influence an athlete’s involvement and achievement in sport more than coaches. Parents also are the first and most critical agents at socializing sports.
One of the essential functions of coaches and team managers is to manage team communications with players and their families. If you are a coach or team manager, SportsEngine has created a Team Management Guide for Coaches and Team Managers to help you use our website and mobile app to efficiently and effectively communicate and manage your teams.
The 5th thru 8th grade students of Kettle Moraine fill the KM High School Weight Room with energy every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. The weight room is open to all KM students in 5th thru 8th grade. The program is led by Varsity Head Coach and Strength and Conditioning Coach Justin Gumm. In addition, his Assistant Coaches, the Junior Laser Football Coaching staff and USAW Sport Performance Coach Cody Anderson all help supervise the group.
Though the program is led by the football staff, the room is open to all students, not just football players. The current group is comprised of kids taking part in basketball, lacrosse, track, and baseball. Others are wrestlers, dancers, skiers, and gymnasts. Also, it’s not just for the boys as a number of young ladies are in the room every day.
One of the many goals of the program is to improve the overall conditioning of the students. Emphasis is placed on quality of conditioning and not the quantity of weight lifted. The 5th and 6th graders perform body weight activities such as doing planks, push-ups, and other exercises that focus on developing their core. In addition, some light weight lifting with dumbbells, such as goblet squats and seated press are part of their weekly routine. The 7th and 8th graders also do an extensive amount of core activities along with band work, dumbbell and barbell lifts.
There are numerous benefits to resistance training in all ages to include increased neural drive, increased synchronization of motor units, muscular strength and hypertrophy, sport performance, overall fitness, and most importantly, injury prevention. By introducing a well-designed strength and conditioning program that incorporates progression to learning new skills to an athlete at a young age will see increased bone density, healthier body
composition, and improved health risk factors such as flexibility, improved oxygen consumption, and blood lipid profile.
The group comes together 3 days each week from 4:30 to 5:30. It is understood that kids today are very busy with other activities. Therefore, it is not expected that they attend each session. Rather, they attend as often as they are available.
Each day starts with group stretching. Afterwards, the group goes through 3 sets of activities, that vary each day. The last 10 minutes are spent in a group competition, additional core work or stretching. Group competition could be anything from relay races, to rope challenges, or 3 person push-ups. In all cases, the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders all work together as a team and cheer each other on to accomplish the team goal.
Beyond the physical conditioning of the student athletes, the greatest values are the life lessons learned by the kids.
Just to name a few, they:
The program has grown from an average daily attendance of 40, last year, to 55 this year. The goal is to continue to increase attendance. Regardless of grade or athletic ability, all 5th thru 8th graders are invited to take part. Parents are also invited to visit, observe, talk with the coaches, and see for yourself the effort of the group, as well as all the smiles on their faces as they work and compete together. The program is offered at no cost to the participants.
By Ed McLaughlin
Over my 20 years in college athletics and the last nine as a Div. I athletic director, I have enjoyed working directly with several high-level men’s and women’s programs. I have the fortune of learning the game from coaches with whom I worked and understanding the game from watching my children play it.
College coaches that I know across Division I talk about recruiting and developing talent as two most important aspects of the job.
In my time as a Division I athletic director, I have seen talented student-athletes come into college and excel way beyond their wildest dreams. Those student-athletes reach their dreams because of their mentality and willingness to grow. I have also seen talented young men and women who were elite players but could not excel as student-athletes at the Div. I level because of their mentality.
Youth parents that I have encountered in different places talk about being recruited to play in college as one of the most important reasons as to why their children play travel or elite level. Whether these parents tell me that reason because I work in college athletics or cite those reasons because they believe it, I have no idea.
As a parent now of elite-level youth players, I have learned a new perspective of why elite-level youth players succeed or fail. I can’t give them tactical advice – the kids have excellent coaches for that. I can’t give them the gift of athleticism – the kids get that from their mother. I have learned that the greatest gift that I can give my children in sports in the gift of mentality.
Coincidentally, those lessons translate to success in life as well.
If your elite player has a dream of playing in college, you can help the most by fostering these mental qualities in your children and reinforcing them every day. Morgan Wootten, the legendary high school basketball coach at DeMatha High School, is famous for saying “It’s not what you teach; it’s what you emphasize.”
First and foremost, teach your child to be coachable.
Being coachable means that your child has respect for his or her coach and listens to what is being taught. Being coachable means that your child trusts the process, listens to what he or she is told and executes it without complaint. Your child may not master the skill but he or she has mastered the work ethic necessary to master that skill.
As parents, we struggle to trust the process as much as our children struggle to trust it. But trust in the process is most important when your faith in the process is most difficult.
Second, teach your child to reach out of his or her comfort zone by having difficult conversations with the coach.
By the age of U11, my children had to be the ones to have conversations with their coaches about playing time or skill progression. I am happy to attend any meeting so I can reinforce the message to the kids, but my children need to learn how to talk with the adult in a respectful way yet advocate for themselves.
When your elite player children reach college, coaches will not (not should they) have a conversation with parents about playing time.
Your children need preparation and practice in how to talk to their college coaches. Elite provides you the opportunity as a parent to teach your child a life lesson on communicating with authority and advocacy.
Third, teach your child the characteristics of how to be an excellent teammate and leader. These go hand in hand.
What we find at the Div. I level is that the best leaders are the best teammates because they have learned the attributes of leadership from playing on teams.
Teach your child SELFLESSNESS by emphasizing good body language if a teammate makes a mistake. Teach your child ACCOUNTABILITY by not accepting blame toward others. Teach your child a STRONG WILL and stronger COMMUNICATION SKILLS by not avoiding difficult conversations.
Every successful team captain in Div. I college I have known throughout my career have these qualities and many more.
Fourth, teach your child positivity.
This lesson seems easy, right? Positivity doesn’t equate to being laid back nor does it mean unrealistic. Positivity means having confidence enough to self evaluate and find a way to reach goals. If your kids believe they can reach a goal, they are correct.
Last – but most importantly – teach your children mental toughness and resilience.
College may be the first time in their lives that they don’t start, or that they don’t even play at all. College players survive the disappointments of freshman year because they are mentally prepared for whatever happens to them. They have dealt with adversity, disappointment and failure and learned how to grow from those experiences.
Teaching mental toughness starts now. Today.
When my daughter, a goalkeeper, was benched from a tournament last year in favor of a guest player, she attended the tournament, sat on the bench, cheered for her team, participated in warm-ups and did whatever she could to help the team.
She didn’t complain. She didn’t feel sorry for herself. She remained positive about her team. She showed her teammates that she was invested in her team. And, most importantly, it fueled her to work harder. She never blamed anyone nor did she allow it to destroy her confidence.
I could have kept her home from the tournament, saving her from some mythical embarrassment. What would staying home have taught her? Remember that lesson about trusting the process and let your child grow from adversity rather than fear it.
If you start to think that all five of these lessons depend upon each other, you are correct.
By Skye Eddy Bruce
I am thrilled to welcome Ed McLaughlin, Athletic Director at Virginia Commonwealth University and a parent of 3 elite youth soccer players. Ed’s first article, “Five Important Lessons to Prepare for College Soccer” touches on the foundations of the mentality we must be empowering our children to master if we want to help them realize their dream of playing in college.
Ed believes that his personal role with his children and their sports is to be sure that his kids develop a strong mentality so they are best prepared to play in college (and for life beyond).
As his daughter’s goalkeeper coach on an off for the past 3 years and with my own daughter playing on the same ECNL team as his, I have seen his lessons play out first hand.
I have learned from Ed’s parenting (and we shouldn’t forget his wife, Shelley, a Division I athlete herself) and his daughter’s performance some important lessons to pass along to my children.
My biggest lesson came the night before the Jefferson Cup tournament last March when Hannah called me asking for a ride to the fields for Saturday. Of course I agreed, but I was wondering why she was going to the fields if she was not playing with the team for the weekend. The team had invited a goalkeeper as a guest player to the tournament as a try-out for the next season. Hannah was therefore told she would not be playing in the Jefferson Cup with the team.
I had assumed, like the other coaches, that if she was told she would not be playing with the team, that she would not attend the tournament.
Why in the world, I thought to myself, would she put herself through the pain and even embarrassment of coming to the tournament and not playing?
I was thinking that if my daughter were in the same situation I would have let her stay home for the weekend. In fact, I would probably have gone out of my way to keep her occupied doing other things to try and take the sting out of the situation for her.
With no hesitation, when the news was given to Hannah about the guest player, Ed told Hannah that she needed to attend the tournament with her team. Hannah didn’t sit awkwardly on the end of the bench for the games like some less-mentally strong kids would have done in the same situation. She assisted the goalkeepers with their warm ups by shagging balls behind the net and setting up the cones, she supported her team by staying focused on the bench for every game, by getting people water when they needed it and by keeping the bench and all the bags in order. She was the first to stand up and cheer when a goal was scored or a great save was made.
On that weekend last March Hannah gave me, her other coaches and all of her teammates and their parents, a MASTER LESSON regarding what we certainly hope our children will walk away with after all of these years and experiences in youth sports.
I hope that the parents reading this will pause and think about how YOU would handle this situation with YOUR child.
I told this story to Christian Lavers, Executive VP of US Club Soccer and President of the ECNL, because it left such a strong impression on me. Christian’s response was “I am not surprised at all that her parents have strong ties to top level college sports. Clearly, they understand what it means to be a part of a team.”
I hope this story, and the personal reflection that ensues regarding how you would handle the same situation, will help many parents more deeply understand what it means to be a part of a team.
Parents and athletes need to manage their SportsEngine accounts to ensure they get the most out of their Kettle Moraine Girls Basketball Club experience during each sporting season. With their accounts properly configured, athletes and their families will receive communications according to their preferences and be able to complete registrations more efficiently. SportsEngine has created a Team Management Guide for Parents and Athletes that will help our members with frequently asked questions about our website and mobile app.
Keep connected to your team(s). Get schedules and team updates for every athlete in the house, plus a way to message other members on your team and a way to give coaches a heads up about practice. Enjoy unlimited access to scores & stats, photo/video sharing, and more.
In many instances, more than one parent or guardian needs to be in the loop with a child's sports life. Using the mobile app, you can add additional guardians to an account. Guardians can 1) View games and events 2) RSVP to games and events 3) Send and receive messages to coaches and team members 4) participate in team chat
Once you've created your account, add your mobile phone so you can receive text messages from your team manager or coach.
Now that you have your mobile phone on your account, make sure you enable text messaging and any other notifications.
Are you a family friend, grandparent or fan that wants to follow a specific team on the SportsEngine platform? Here is a quick guide to follow teams on the mobile app.
Do you need a second parent, other family member or nanny to get messages about schedule changes or game times? Add a second email address to forward all communications.
Do you need to send a question to your team manager or another parent about a ride? Follow these instructions on how to send messages using the mobile app.
Coaches and team managers need to know if you are going to able to attend a game or practice. You can easily RSVP using the mobile application.
Is your team using SportsEngine Team Management to manage RSVPs, schedules, and communication? This list of articles will provide you with everything you need to know for a successful season!
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