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Improve Your Child's Sport Experience: Five Ways to Play

04/05/2019, 7:00pm CDT
By USA Fencing

USA Fencing has partnered with top sport experts to build free resources for sports clubs, coaches and parents to help foster a positive and healthy sport experience for kids in America. 

On the 5th of each month, new resource articles and tips will be posted with a total of 32 resources to for parents of youth athletes. The program is a collaborative effort between USA Fencing, the U.S. Olympic Committee and 12 National Governing Bodies, including USA Hockey, the U.S. Tennis Association, USA Swimming and more. 

The following is an excerpt from an article written by teamusa.org freelance contributor Paul D. Bowker on behalf of Redline Editorial, Inc.

Parents do not receive a playbook when their child signs up to play a sport.

There is no manual.

There is no tip sheet.

That is all about to change in a big way. An initiative by the United States Olympic Committee has pulled together expert advice and input from its many national governing bodies (NGBs) to produce the Team USA Parent Youth Sports Resources.

Beginning April 5 and continuing each month through the end of 2019, the program will roll out a total of 32 resources to help parents negotiate their way through the youth sports machine. It is an ambitious program that involves input from 12 NGBs, including USA Swimming, USA Hockey, USA Volleyball and others.

“A lot of these things revolve around how to keep your kid active for life,” said Chris Snyder, the USOC’s director of coaching education. “How do you know if they have a trained coach? How to build character through sport, avoiding burnout, all the way down to how kids keep having fun or how do you make the gameday experience awesome if you’re a rock star parent.”

In fact, that is one of the topics. Being a rock star parent.

The “5 Ways that you can be a Rock Star Parent” resource includes offering to help your child’s team or program, getting to know the other players and families on the team, allowing your child to take ownership, treating the coach as an ally and being there to cheer on the team.

Other topics, each of them using the “5 ways” presentation, include keeping your child active for life, how to help your child develop character through sport, five ways to speak up when you are a concerned parent, five ways to sample a variety of sports and being kind to officials.

All of the 32 resources will be available at TeamUSA.org/ADM, and also available through NGBs. The guidance falls under the umbrella of the American Development Model, which began in 2009 as a USA Hockey initiative to provide age-appropriate guidelines for youth development. The USOC and other NGBs subsequently adopted the model.

The beginning process of the Team USA Parent Youth Sports Resources began a year ago when officials from 30 NGBs met in Baltimore to talk about parent engagement at the youth sports level.

Snyder said the benefit to parents and their children, as well as the NGBs, is important.

“In order to build great athletes down the road, you’ve got to start at the bottom and provide every kid an opportunity to have a great experience, love sport and stay in it,” Snyder said. “It’s important to get the parents to be an advocate. ... All these things are a good benefit, it’s about getting America to be strong through sport.”

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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