This Time, It’s Personal: Is Private Instruction a Good Choice for Your Sport Specialized Child?

Aug 29, 2019 7:11:33 PM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A. posted in Insider, coaches, athletic directors, athletes, parents, personal coach, personal trainer


Highlight reel:  Some personal coaches are exceptional in every sense of the word, but some are toxic and untrained. Keeping the right perspective and setting realistic expectations are critical when choosing the right instruction. Follow these tips to find the person or group who will enhance -- not destroy -- your child's love of a sport.

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How to Lead a Positive Coaching Culture in Youth Sports

Aug 15, 2019 7:49:16 AM / by Garland Allen posted in coaches, athletic directors, athletes, parents



Highlight reel:  Kids play sports to learn skills and have fun. It’s important for coaches and ADs to lead with a positive mindset because too many teams are permeated with negativity, driven by unhealthy attitudes toward competition and overrun with internal conflict.

The solution is in your hands

One of the biggest opportunities  to make a lasting change to our youth sports culture lies in the hands of the coaches and ADs. Your program’s and team’s culture is the expression of your shared values, attitudes, and goals. It determines whether your team members focus on:

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Coaches, Set Yourself Up For the Best Season Ever With a Winning, Pre-season Meeting Plan

Jul 29, 2019 1:51:13 PM / by Garland Allen posted in coaches, athletic directors, athletes, parents


Preparing for the start of the fall sports season is exciting, hectic and demanding. It seems that no matter how well you plan, loose ends seem to occur every year. In addition to your administrative duties, welcoming your coaching staff and introducing hundreds of student athletes and their parents to your program is a major undertaking.

Can we make this transition from summer break to the new school sports year, easier?

We think so.  Here's how.

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The Kids Are NOT Alright. When Sports Injuries In Youth Threaten Their Future, Sampling Can Help.

Jul 16, 2019 8:43:10 AM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A.


When I think back on my experience as a kid playing sports, there were pickup games, the start of lifelong friendships, and wins and losses (of course), but mainly I remember how much fun I had. Watching my kids now — and talking to my friends and the other team parents — I’m blown away by how different things are for our children; they are directed to hyper focus their skills on a single sport and are under a ton of pressure to succeed. And it seems like the pressure just keeps growing. But does focusing on one sport, to the exclusion of everything else (including fun), really make an impact? And is that impact positive enough to outweigh the negatives?

Highlight reel: Overuse injuries are a growing concern with the increase in sports specialization. By encouraging sports sampling and meaningful periods of rest, parents and coaches can help keep our kids happy, healthy and in the game.

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Coaches, Prepping For the New Season? Use These Tips to Prep For Problem Parents

Jun 30, 2019 12:41:25 PM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A. posted in coaches, athletic directors, parents



Fundamental to the AD’s role is supporting and empowering our coaches, and part of that is to help them build healthy, cooperative relationships with parents based on trust and mutual respect. But in an environment where little league fields have to post signs reminding the adults (not the kids) to keep their behavior in check, what does a healthy parent-coach relationship look like? And more urgently, how do AD's and coaches work best with parents to build them?

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Myths & Misconceptions of Youth Sports Specialization

Jun 24, 2019 10:46:20 AM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A. posted in coaches, athletic directors, athletes, parents

1 Comment

Participating in youth sports provides many benefits — developing a lifelong enjoyment of physical activity, socializing with peers, building teamwork and leadership skills, improving self-esteem, and, maybe most importantly, having fun. But youth sports have evolved significantly over the past couple of decades. The days of pickup games and free play are long gone, now replaced with year-round, sport-specific skill development, driven by the commercialization of youth sports.

But does this adult-driven, highly structured, deliberate practice actually help kids meet their goals? Or does trying a variety of different sports actually present a greater benefit?

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AD's, Coaches & Athletes: Kick Off Next Season with a New Way of Thinking

Jun 14, 2019 8:45:52 AM / by Marianne Engle, Ph.D. posted in coaches, athletic directors, athletes


One of the signs of a great athlete is consistency. Most athletes will have a great game every now and then, but truly great athletes are always performing to their potential. As an Athletic Director, you’re looking to build a stable, successful program in the long term, not just a successful team for the season. Which means you need a steady stream of athletes with perseverance and enthusiasm — but how do you ensure your teams are full of athletes with a great attitude and strong work ethic?

These players with perseverance have a specific mindset, which we call a success mindset, which empowers them and fuels their progress. By leading with that same success mindset, your coaches can develop more of these valuable players, better position their teams for a successful season and build a youth sports culture that is positive and focused throughout all seasons.

Coaching with a success mindset means you’ll create consistency from team to team, program to program, year to year. Position your coaches to have the best opportunity to build a successful team with these four techniques for building predictable players.

Highlight Reel: By leading with a success mindset, your coaches can develop players with great attitudes and strong work ethics, better position their teams for a successful season and build a youth sports culture that is positive and focused throughout all seasons. Build a team with consistency by being consistent yourself: use a consistent philosophy, enforce consistent expectations, deliver consistent communication and have a consistent temperament.

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ADs, Use the Quiet of Summer to Set Yourself Up For a Successful Fall Sports Season

Jun 6, 2019 9:07:59 AM / by Garland Allen & Dr. Marianne Engle posted in coaches, athletic directors


When the fall sports season starts, every coach and athletic director wants to hit the ground running. While there is never really an off-season for coaching, summer offers a great opportunity to refocus your efforts, define new ways to make improvements, and do your best to identify opportunities to take your teams and athletes to the next level.

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