The start of the spring youth sports season is still many weeks away. The fields remained closed. Most kids and parents haven't a clue where the uniform and equipment were stored at the end of last season. Doesn't matter.
Today, our kids' sports have been hijacked by adults who professionalize them and attempt to meet their own needs through youth sports. For the most part, these parents and coaches usually have good intentions but the damage to our young people is real nonetheless.
Simply put, when it comes to youth sports, as parents and coaches - as adults -- we need to chill out. Our sons and daughters almost assuredly aren't going to be pro athletes. Statisticians believe that you have a better chance of being murdered than becoming a professional athlete.
From now on, in addition to zipping my lip on the sidelines, I am going to seek out opportunities to encourage my two daughters to push more--legally, of course. Life, after all, can be a contact sport.
I get it. Some women are intimidated being out on the field. Our nonprofit organization was created for the very reason to help all adults understand the role of being a coach and to tell them that it's not all about winning games, it's about caring for kids.
Obviously, not all youth football coaches are frustrated, never-made-it-to-the-next-level guys. But a great number are, and they are out there on football fields across America preaching the need to win at all costs to kids as young as 5 years old.
If inaction or retaliation results, you -- and your athlete -- must be prepared to leave the team. It isn't fair, but the bottom line is that the current situation is destructive and intolerable -- and you need to protect your kid as well as your values.
When you're nine years old, it's probable that your best isn't going to be good enough. Maybe when you're that age the functions associated with being on a team, learning to accept that other people play before you and that you're not cut out to be an athlete may actually be your best.
Sports programs must be inclusive of all youth, and coaches must be trained to value and promote diversity and inclusion. We simply cannot afford to have any child drop out of sports based on prejudice.
Never has anything been so motivating (and inaccurate, I might add) as the title suggests. The bottom line is that as long as Billy Jones has a father or mother around, there will always be someone to coach kids in organized sports.
Baseball odds mirror life. It's expected for most players to strike out seven of ten times at bat or even more than that. I'm not sure what the odds are in life for reaching goals but certainly lots there will be many strike outs along the way to reaching any goal that's worth achieving.
To date, the National Alliance for Youth Sports has trained more than 3 million volunteer adults who act as coaches in youth sports programs across America through the National Youth Sports Coaches Association.
Over the lifespan of our non-profit organization, National Alliance for Youth Sports, I have been asked many times about what motivated me to create such an organization. After all, no one had ever done so before.
I often wonder if Robin Roberts ever knew that, at least for me, he was the impetus of helping change the attitudes of those parents who ruin, for so many kids, what would have been a great, fun experience in their lives.
The likelihood is that if you are a woman, waiting around for youth sports organizations to send you an engraved invitation to become a coach may be a bit like Waiting for Godot. The sports community needs to forge a welcoming culture so that women are empowered to succeed as coaches.
Whatever we can do to prevent child abusers from abusing children in organized sports, I'm all for. Throughout the last several years, the phrase "background checks" has been floating around as if it's a panacea for making sure youth sports leagues are doing the right thing.
Ever since Jerry Sandusky became a household name and rocked the national sports landscape, it also shined the spotlight on a chilling topic that all too often gets shoved to the side because it's too uncomfortable and unpleasant to talk about.