In the United States alone, there are over 35 million kids who participate in youth sports every year, and for each one of those athletes, there are dozens of options to choose from. As a parent, how do you chose which program is right for your child? It may be tempting to sign up with the first program you find or the cheapest one, but before you commit, research the programs in your area. Sports require a lot of time and will have a big impact on your child’s life.
Top Five Things to Consider:
- Is the Program Fun?
Sports are fundamentally supposed to be fun. It’s important to find out what kind of experience a youth sports program provides. Talk to other parents who have had children participate in the program. Ask them what they did and didn’t like about it. Ask your kid’s friends where they play. If a youth sports program isn’t fun, your child will not enjoy participating and may even grow to despise sports.
- Does the Program Provide Good Instruction through Quality Coaching?
Billy Graham said, “A coach will impact more young people in one year than the average person does in a lifetime.” Over the course of a season, a coach will spend many hours pouring into your child and setting an example whether positive or negative. A quality coach will not only be a positive role model but will also help your athlete learn the game and refine their athletic ability. You should ask the coach some of these questions: Why do you coach? What’s your coaching philosophy? What’s your experience? How do you prepare for the season?
- Is the Program Athlete Centered?
You want to make sure that the program you sign up your child for is athlete centered. A program that is athlete centered will focus on athletic development throughout the season, make sure each athlete plays in every game, and will focus on the long-term success of athletes and not just the short-term wins.
- Does the Program Teach Life Skills?
A well-rounded sports program will not only teach your athlete the rules and skills of the game but also life lessons. Through sports, your child can learn teamwork, following instructions, discipline, sportsmanship, and how to set and achieve goals. These lessons will far outlast their athletic career and will enable them to attain even greater success.
- What Are the Program's Demands?
After you have found a program that will give your young athlete a positive experience, you need to see what the program’s demands are. Ask these important questions to determine if the program is a right fit for you and your family: Are there any additional costs that you need to consider? How long is the season? How much time will it require every week (number of practices and games)? Where are the practices and games held? If the program requires more time and energy than you are able to give, the exhaustion will outweigh the benefits of playing on the team.
To experience the difference the 360 Progression makes in a youth sports program, find and sign up for an Upward Sports program near you. Let us know what your priorities are when choosing a sports program for your child by tweeting us with #youthsports.