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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Finding the Balance

We have all heard of the problems caused by sport specialization, many were discussed in our previous post The Hype Behind Sport Specialization  .   However there is a new trend occurring with youth sport, the do everything phenomenon.   This seems to be the counter balance to the specialization phenomenon.  What this is creating is a new problem that is erasing the benefits of being a multi-sport athlete.  Young athletes are participating in multiple sports in one season.  The point of children doing multi sport was to give them a wide variety of skills and mental experiences.  What is happening though is children are being shuttled from sport to sport in one day.  Indoor soccer practice to hockey game or tumbling practice to dance practice.  
Situations like increase the child's level of fatigue, increased chance of injury and burnout.  All typical outcomes for sport specialization as well.   We tend to forget about scheduling time for play, sleep and homework for our young athletes.  During a recent seminar a group of young athletes were shocked when told they should be getting between 8-10 hours of sleep a night.  They pointed out that after practice and homework, they are closer to 6-7 hours.  It is important to note that athletes who get less than 8 hours of sleep per night are 1.7 times more likely to suffer an injury.  
The goal of participating in multiple sports was to broaden the young athletes development and was geared towards year round sport.  Multiple sports should be played over multiple seasons.  This allows for our youth athletes to focus on one sport at a time, focus on school and as well as allowing them to have time to be KIDS.  
So if you are finding it exhausting from running from sport to sport, think about this is effecting the kids.  

Friday, 27 February 2015

What Makes a Great Coach?

Being  a coach in any sport is not an easy task, beyond being technically and tactically sound, what else can you do to become a better coach.  These are  few tips that came from instructing the Hockey Canada Safety Course. 
1) Be a Good Role Model - demonstrate to your athletes good life skills, teach them to win gracefully, learn from their mistakes and failures.  
2) Create a Safe & Respectful Environment - Not only will skills develop better when athletes feel safe, your athletes will achieve more success as those skills develop.  Respect plays a major role in safety be it respect for your competition, team-mates or training partners, the respect you give the athletes and show to other coaches and officials. 
3) Continue Education - Educate yourself. Take courses, be it to improve your technical or tactical repertoire as it is always important to fill your tool box.  It is also important to take courses or seminars that will improve player health, safety and well being.  First Aid, CPR, and injury courses, nutrition, goal setting, anything that can improve you or give you tools to improve your athletes is a benefit. 
4) Take in Account the Whole Athlete - We all at times forget that athletes are not just physical beings.  When we ask how they are doing we need to get beyond the skills, the techniques, the injuries or the performance.  The mental and emotional aspects of athletes can effect all of those.  Events that are occurring with family, friends or at school can weigh on how an athlete performs.  These distractions can also lead to being more injury prone as they aren't focusing on proper technique or tactics. 
While this list is definitely not inclusive these few tips can help you be just a coach who can teach skills and tactics into a coach who truly creates a great environment for their athletes to excel both in sport and life.