It is important to keep a proper perspective on the idea of late blooming athletes and the benefits of recreational sports. John O' Sullivan founder of the Changing the Game Project lists five important tips for parents regarding patience and perspective. Enjoy!
What is a Parent to Do?
The good news is that many sporting organizations are trying to address relative age in athlete development (see this article about US Soccer’s new national camps for late bloomers). If you have late bloomers in your midst, here are five suggestions to give them the best chance of continuing in sport and reaching their potential.
1. Find the Right Youth Sports Organization
Organizations that are obsessed with All Star teams and segregating players into A and B teams at very young ages (sometimes as young as 7 or 8 years old) may not be the place for your child. Some of them do an excellent job of providing equivalent levels of coaching and player development across entire age groups for the critical developmental years through age 13, and these are great clubs to be in. Others are results driven, and give far more resources and provide top coaches to only the A team at these ages. This is not a good place to be. The longer an organization waits to place athletes on different developmental paths with varying levels of resources and coaching, the better the chance they will develop the late bloomers.
2. Be Patient
Recognize that early sport success is not a great predictor of later success. You should be far more concerned that your child is in an environment that is promoting a lifelong love of the game, and is surrounded by coaches that are positive mentors and role models. Physical differences usually even out by the later teen years, and then skill and the ability to think creatively become the predictors of success, so keep focused on those.
3. Educate your child
Help him understand that it is far more important to develop technique, and that in all likelihood the physical piece will even out eventually. Teach them to be gritty, to compete hard, and overcome challenges. Teach them that sport development is not a sprint but a marathon, and help them see areas that they can control to become better (skill development, attitude and effort) and not get too caught up in size and strength. Use being a late bloomer to their advantage!
4. Ensure they get Playing Time
Kids quit when they don’t get to play (insert link). Coaches and organizations that are overly results focused oftentimes do not allow kids to play. Young players must play significant minutes in games. Being selected to the “A” team and not getting to play is not helpful to a young child’s development, and this often happens with coaches who believe that your child “is not athletic enough to help us win.”
5. Love Watching them Play
While I recommend you tell all young athletes how proud you are and how much you love watching them play, it is perhaps most important to let the “relatively young” kid know this. They often will struggle physically, and psychologically, when competing against bigger, faster and stronger kids, and its up to you not to let them get discouraged. Be sure you separate your love of them from their sport performance, and focus on praising them for their ability and courage to be able to compete against these ”older” kids.
We live in a sport culture that selects and promotes the “best kids’ at far too young an age. In reality, we are very often not selecting the best kids, simply the oldest and most physically developed ones.
If your child is a late bloomer, by following the 5 steps listed above you will give him the best chance of developing at his own pace, and reaching his full potential. Take the time to find the right organization and right coach for your child early on, and don’t let her get discouraged.
MAY 2015 TIP
"When we teach our kids a team sport there are really TWO LESSONS happening. There is the sport and then there are the deeper, truer, lessons. Lessons like how to be part of a team, how to win with class and lose with grace , how to show up, take risks, fall down, get back up, and how to treat friends and adversaries." Glennon Doyle Melton
See the full article by clicking on the URL below. It is well worth the read and truly transcends time with its great advice. GO MRA!!!
Please read the article below regarding the importance of being cautious when a storm is approaching.
30/30 Lightning Rule For Postponing Activity And Returning To Activity
Most experts recommend that outdoor athletic events should be postponed when the thunderstorm approaches from a distance of six miles. The best way to gauge the distance of a thunderstorm is to measure the elapsed time from the flash to bang. Since a count of five seconds equals a distance of one mile, a count of thirty seconds equals a distance of six miles. In most cases, when you can hear thunder, you are no longer safe.
All individuals should have left the outdoor athletic site and reached a safe shelter or location by the time the elapsed flash to bang reaches a count of 30 seconds. If you can’t see lightning, just hearing the thunder is a good back-up rule.
Individuals can return to the outdoor athletic site once thirty minutes has elapsed since the last flash or thunder. One of the most dangerous forms of lightning is a “bolt from the blue” which typically originates out of the back side of a thunderstorm and has been known to strike as far as ten miles away.
All decisions about postponing an activity or returning to an activity should be made by the athletic director, athletics supervisor, trainer, coach, and/or game officials who are responsible for removing teams and individuals from an outdoor athletic site.
It is advisable that a public address announcement be read addressing the following topics:
Instruction for all spectators, players, employees, and volunteers to move immediately to the nearest sturdy building (make sure the access door is open).
Instruction that a vehicle is the next best alternative.
Warning not to take refuge under or near trees, tall objects, lone objects, bleachers, or fences.
Facility owners may also want to consider signage summarizing 30/30 Lightning Rule as well as instructions for taking shelter.
Best Places To Take Cover (In Order Of Most Safe To Least Safe)
1. Sturdy Building: A sturdy building is an enclosed building with metal plumbing or wiring to ground the structure. Buildings or sheds that are not enclosed (ex: baseball dugouts, tents, open sided rain shelters) should be avoided, as they don’t constitute a sturdy building. While inside a sturdy building, the following areas should be avoided: open doors and windows, close proximity to electrical appliances, contact with plumbing fixtures, and landline phones. It is safe to use a cordless or cell phone. Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.
2. Vehicle: An enclosed vehicle such as a car, truck, van, or bus with a metal roof (not a convertible) and windows completely shut. Avoid touching anything metal or any conducting path to the outside such as a steering wheel, ignition, radio, gear shifter, etc. while inside the car.
3. In The Open: If a suitable sturdy building or vehicle is not available, you may have to stay in the open. Avoid all water, metal objects (such as electrical wires, machinery, motors, bleachers, and fences), small boats, high ground, isolated trees, and telephone poles. If lightning is striking nearby, avoid all direct contact with other people, remove all metal objects from your person, and crouch down with feet together and hands on knees making sure that only your feet are touching the ground.
MARCH 2015 TIP
Spring is close and we are getting ready for another wonderful year of MRA Sports. As we get ready for track, baseball, softball, spring soccer, and volleyball, here are a few helpful tips:
Bring a water bottle to practice and games. Encourage children to stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after play.
Stretching before practice and games can release muscle tension and help prevent sports-related injuries, such as muscle tears or sprains. Make sure there is time set aside before every practice and game for athletes to warm up properly.
Take time off from one sport to prevent overuse injuries. It is an opportunity to get stronger and develop skills learned in another sport.
- See more at: http://www.safekids.org
FEBRUARY 2015 TIP
The MRA is incredibly thankful for all the volunteers that help run the organization, all the adults who coach our kids, organize concession stands, bring snacks to games, among many other things. We encourage you to get involved in some aspect of your child's team this year. As you know, volunteering leads you to find the joy of serving others and helps to improve our great community of Mariemont. Make a difference, meet people, and experience the joy of being a part of the MRA!
JANUARY 2015 TIP
On Monday January 12th, Registration opens for all Spring Sports (baseball, soccer, volleyball, track, softball, and Friday Night Kids T-Ball). Please go to the individual sports tab on the top of the home page to access the registration page for each sport. All Coaches must register and can do so on Coaches Volunteer Form tab on the MRA homepage. Thanks to all the volunteers who make Spring Sports such a success!
DECEMBER 2014 TIP
When defined the right way, competition in youth sports is both good and healthy and teaches children a variety of important life skills. The word "compete" comes from the Latin words "com" and "petere" which mean together and seeking respectively. The true definition of competition is a seeking together where your opponent is your partner, not the enemy! The better he/she performs, the more chance you have of having a peak performance. Sports is about learning to deal with challenges and obstacles. Without a worthy opponent, without any challenges, sports is not so much fun. The more the challenge, the better the opportunity you have to go beyond your limits. World records are consistently broken and set at the Olympics because the best athletes in the world are "seeking together", challenging each other to enhanced performance. Your child should never be taught to view his/her opponent as the "bad guy", the enemy or someone to be hated and "destroyed". Do not model this attitude! Instead, talk to/make friends with parents of your child's opponent. Root for great performances, good plays, not just for the winner!
From: Competitive Edge website
NOVEMBER 2014 TIP
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the MRA wants to thank all the incredible volunteer coaches and all parents and families who support the MRA system. It truly takes a community. We are so thankful to be in such a great community. Go Mariemont!!!
MRA PARENTS ALERT
To: All Mariemont Recreation Association Parents (Past and Present),
From: John Getgey, MRA President
Re: Person soliciting Mariemont Residents to raise money for MRA
I have been informed that there is a person in our community who is soliciting Mariemont residents to raise money for Mariemont Recreation uniforms. By no means, should anyone give money to this fraudulent activity. Mariemont Recreation purchases all of our uniforms with funds provided by registration fees. We do not solicit funds from other sources for the purpose of funding any of our activities.
The Mariemont Police have been advised of this activity. If you are approached by anyone soliciting money for MRA, please report the activity to the Police immediately.
OCTOBER 2014 TIP
Everyone has something to offer. In team sports, it's rare that a star can perform every task well. For example, one child may bat well, another catch, another run the bases fast. Some kids may be more developed cognitively and understand the sport's strategy, while others may be more adept socially and instinctively know how to motivate other kids to play their best.Bringing it home: "The next time your child makes a remark about someone's differences or weaknesses, immediately point out that person's strengths," says Bergen. If your child feels frustrated by her own shortcomings, remind her of the skills that come more naturally to her.
SEPTEMBER 2014 TIP
Be on time to practices and games. Instill a higher level of responsibility within your child. Teach your child to be prepared for practices and games with all necessary equipment. This again helps prepare your child for other facets of life.
AUGUST 2014 TIP
While your child is on the field playing in a game, try to refrain from yelling instructions to your child from the cheering section. You effectively put your child in the position of switching back and forth between two different tasks. The first task involves the response to the cues in the game (e.g., catching a ball, kicking a ball) and the second task involves responding to your instruction. Such switching can cause a decline in performance. Let your child focus on the task at hand and leave the instruction to practice sessions or post-game discussions.
June 2014 Tip
Myth vs Fact:
Myth: Ability, or lack of ability, at a young age predicts ability later.
Fact:Children of the same chronological age vary in their physical and psychological growth. Physical ability and competence change as a child grows. Don't prematurely discourage a kid's interest and motivation. Because he or she is a slow runner or is not well coordinated at 10 doesn't necessarily mean that he or she will a be slow and uncoordinated at 15. The slow starter can be a late winner. Often spurts in growth bring enhancement in strength and coordination, so children should be encouraged to try different sports that utilize different parts of their bodies. A sport originally found difficult may prove to be pleasurable at a later time.
May 2014 Tip
Celebrate your child’s success no matter how large or small it may be. Many times it is the simple, day-to-day accomplishments and the encouragement that follows which helps reinforce a lifelong passion for sports.
April 2014 Tip
Attend your child's game as a fan and enjoy watching them compete with their teammates. Do not coach from the sidelines; do offer encouragement and praise.
March 2014 Tip
Fuel a passion to have fun and enjoy the beauty of sports. Sports are wonderful and can teach your child how to enjoy life, have discipline, experience competition, and work as part of a team. These are all great skills that will benefit your child in life. Remember the bigger picture at all times.