Archive for January 2012

Should some young athletes play up an age or two?

January 30, 2012

Many parents have been asking me when/ should a young athlete play up an age or two if they are good enough. My answer:

It all depends on the young athlete. Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers had to play up because he was going to hurt somebody with the baseball at his age. Some play up but are not strong enough, or weigh enough, and end up getting seriously… hurt. And some play up and physically benefit from the increased competition, but when they get into high school, they under achieve due to the pressure from the expectations.

My general philosophy on playing up is based on a 3:1 ratio. If you think your young athlete needs better competition, then have him/her play with older kids once after three times playing at their age. The idea is to give them a taste of what’s needed at the next level and then 3 straight sessions at their age developing what they learned that’s needed for the next level. As athletes pass through puberty, the ratio can be decreased if they begin to pick up the advanced skills quickly.

Helping kids grow into their feet

January 26, 2012

Here’s a major but simple tip for parents of young athletes — buy your kids a 5 dollar jump rope. What it can do for their coordination, agility and quickness is priceless. Boxers have known the secret for years. All it takes is 5 minutes a session, 5 times a week. As their jumping roping skills improve, you’ll notice them becoming swifter on their feet playing sports.

Kids feet grow first. As they pass through puberty their bodies grow into their feet. The More agility activities kids do during this athletic development stage, the better athletes they become. Not all are born to be the next superstar, but all are born with the ability to achieve their athletic potential.

Vitamin supplements for athletes?

January 21, 2012

Do young athletes need to take vitamins? Like anyone else, only if they’re not eating healthy everyday. Athletes who work out hard, however, need more calories than the average person. If the extra food they consume is nutritious, they’ll get all the vitamins they need. Any extra goes down the toilet. I call it the “water bucket theory.” You can pour only so much water in a bucket before it overflows. Be careful that your young athlete doesn’t fall into the trap of taking vitamins to make up for a poor diet, or as a last ditch effort to improve his/her stamina.

Tough competition sharpens your skills

January 18, 2012

To get better at your sport you need a challenge. Tough competition is what sharpens your skills, not the easy wins. Don’t duck a better opponent because you might lose. Get up for the challenge. Look at tough competition as an invitation to get better. To sharpen your skills, you need something that can match your strength. It takes steel to sharpen steel.

The Reset Generation

January 11, 2012

Today’s youths don’t face any problems that are different from the problems faced by youth’s of the past. The difference is the environment they are brought up in today. Trophies for winning nothing, everybody is a winner, the reset button, no cuts, not allowed to deal with bullying themselves, no child left behind, etc. Parents and school systems make it easy for kids not to work hard, think smart, or face the consequences of their actions. It’s hard for kids to develop the life skills to cope and over come all the issues teens have today. The result…The Reset Generation. When things get tough for our youth we help them to just…reset it.

Reducing the learning curve for kids in sports

January 10, 2012

To help kids reduce the learning curve in sports, they need to master one step at a time, one progression at a time. Today’s parents and youth coaches like to cram in so much instruction in one session, they actually hamper kids learning. Kids develop paralysis thru analysis after just a couple of instructions, they shut down and actually regress than progress. Paid coaches at clinics and ongoing coaching centers fall into this trap as much as the parents. They want to justify to you the amount of money you’re paying them, and they want to show you how much they know about the sport to impress you, that they try and teach kids everything at once, leaving the kids dazed and confused. There’s a reason teachers teach the abc’s before reading and simple addition before calculus. Sports are no different, kids learn faster mastering one step at a time.

Enter the zone

January 5, 2012

Reaching the “zone” is the pinnacle of sports. Once experience, it’s what every athlete strives for the rest of his playing days. Playing “in the zone” is the ultimate lure of sports. It is a special time when your mind quiets and your senses take over. It’s when everything you can do in practice flows out in a game like it was second nature. Stay focused on the “now” long enough and everything will become easy and effortless — everything will begin to click. Suddenly, it will feel as if you were switched to automatic pilot — you’ll have entered the “zone.”


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