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All-Star Sports

by Ronald A. Rowe | November 4th, 2009 | Elementary
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Grass PlayKids love to play. Organized sports leagues offer an opportunity to harness that love of play and the unbridled energy of youth in a positive manner. But not all sports leagues are created equally.

Turning your child over to a stranger’s care for a a few hours each week can be a frightening proposition. Sure, all leagues do background checks to screen out the serious risks, but what do you really know about the coaches and assistants on the team? A background check won’t help you rout out the screamers, the overly-competitive, or the just-plain-jerks.

So, what’s a parent to do? I tried joining the coaching staff on all my son’s teams when he first started out. The problem with that is that at some point he needs to be on his own. My personal experience was that my son was much whinier when I was helping coach than when I was watching from the stands with the other parents.

Many churches are now hosting All-Star sports leagues. They have football, basketball, and soccer in most locations. The All-Star program is based on a different set of priorities than most youth sports leagues. All-Stars stress good sportsmanship, personal character, and skills training, in that order. Everyone gets a chance to play, everyone gets equal playing time.

Fair almost to a fault, All-Stars sports are a great segue into the world of competitive sports. At some point, the competition really matters. I wouldn’t want my son playing in a completely non-competitive league at 16. If you shield your children too much and too long, they’ll never develop the skills that they need to survive in the adult world. But by the same token, 6 year olds don’t need to worry about winning and losing. They need to develop a love for the game and the skills necessary to play it properly.

So, if you’ve got young children and are considering their first introduction to team sports, I’d recommend checking out your local chapter of All-Star sports. They’ll start worrying about the score later, for now let them just enjoy the game.

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