5 Life Lessons You Learn From Football


5 Life Lessons You Learn From Football
Taken from About.com Football

Someday, your son will move out of the house (we hope) and pursue a career.   The statistics show that his career most likely won’t be in football.  But are there some life lessons that the game of football can help you transfer to your son?  Are there any lasting benefits to this 100-year-old game?  Definitely.  Here are a few to ponder.

Football requires a pretty unique brand of teamwork.  When you’re a part of a football team (sometimes with up to 90 other players), understanding your role and that of your teammates is critical.  Trusting them to do their job is also of utmost importance.  Even guys on the 2nd and 3rd string play a  definitive role that helps the overall group.  The emotional ups and downs that a team will experience help to build trust over time. 

Football requires the player to discipline himself and to work hard.   There is also a beautiful life lesson in the scrutiny and evaluation process.  From high school on up, every move in practice and games is evaluated by coaches and fellow players through film.  This is a wonderful thing, because it allows for growth and accountability.  As his parent, you’ve been evaluating him since birth.  It helps him to have other mentors and friends evaluating his performance.  This is like life, where if we hope to improve and grow, we have to take responsibility for that growth, and surround ourselves with people who can help.

Football provides a variety of challenges that will test (and help to build) your son’s perseverance. He loses a big game. He doesn’t make 1st team. He misses a play that results in a touchdown for the other team.  He struggles as other players develop strength and quickness before he does. These are all things that will challenge your son emotionally, and might tempt him to quit. But if he sticks with it, there will be a payoff in the end.  You’re the parent.  You see what he doesn’t, so help him through those things.

Goal Setting
There are a lot of things that a football player does that can be measured.  Where there’s measurement, there’s a chance to set goals for improvement.  He might set a goal to get his 40 yard dash down to a certain time.  Maybe he could try to increase his weight training maximums, or catch a certain number of passes in a season.  He will also be exposed to lots of team oriented goals, which will help him be accountable for his part to the overall team.  We all should grow and improve ourselves, and football can help him get started on the right foot with good goal setting habits.  This is great stuff! 

A High You Can’t Buy
My head coach in high school always said, “It’s a high you can’t buy,” when talking to us about our success in football.  This game can create a huge adrenaline rush.  Fighting and scrapping with all you have alongside your teammates, and being successful, even in one play, is a moving experience.  It can teach your son that there are healthy, productive ways to pursue adventure and “highs” in this life.  How many stories have we heard about boys being kept grounded and out of trouble by the camaraderie and mentorship they’ve received in football? This list is not all inclusive, but the bottom line comes back to you, the parent.  It’s important that you take the initiative to help him process what’s going on. If you do, it will be far more than just a game; it will be a vehicle to help your son achieve greater things later in life.

5 Tips For Youth Football Coaches


 5 Life Lessons You Learn From Football
Taken from About.com Football
Whether you're a veteran in the coa
ching world, or just starting to coach your son's city league football team, here are some tips to help make the experience enjoyable for you and your future stars.
1. Keep it Fun
Football is a game, it's not life.  While there are wonderful life lessons to be learned from the game, we as coaches cannot be so caught up in pummeling our opponent that we forget this important principle.  In youth football, you've been successful as a coach if you've made the game so fun that kids want to play it again next year. This may mean playing "Johnny Slow Shoes", while offering up a prayer that they don't run his way. Like you, I've always maintained that winning is more fun than losing, but winning is not the thing.  Fun is the thing. 
2. Teach the Fundamentals
The best football players of today learned the fundamentals of the game many years ago.  This is in our job description as a youth football coach.  We cannot give our kids a 100 page playbook and expect them to memorize it in a 6 week season.  Simplify.  Teach.  This game gets more complicated the older they get.  Take the time now to focus on fundamentals, and teach them how to make a good blockhow to catch the football, and how to make a solid tackle.  Set them up for success in their future football career by laying a solid foundation now. 
3. Teach Good Sportsmanship
We are privileged to have a role in the shaping of some young people, and we need to take that responsibility seriously.  Our kids should be the ones breaking up the fights in school, not starting them.  Our kids should be the ones leading by example with their grades, effort, and enthusiasm.  And if we expect them to lead by example, it starts with us.   This does not mean they have to gather up after every play and sing Kumbaya .  We can encourage good sportsmanship and physical intensity at the same. I love to see players going as hard as they can between whistles, and after the play, helping each other up and going back to do it again. 
4. Keep It Safe
Football has always been a physical game, with many injuries, and injuries are a normal part of most sports. However, the reputation for football has gotten worse recently with the research and media buzz about concussions in football. Can't we, as a general body of good coaches, do our part now before we have mandates on training and safety audits on our practices? Do we really need to do "bull in the ring" drills with our 10 year olds? Again, our goals are to make sure they come back to play the game, have fun, and grow into good people. Some injuries are avoidable.
5. Build Lasting Relationships
Many of us reference our youth or high school football coach when we talk about who has made a big impact on our life. See beyond the scoreboard. You've got parents, neighbors, aunts and uncles involved (for better or worse). You've got Johnny's little brother, who actually is fast and physical, and might play for your team someday, if Johnny has fun with it. To me, it's not just about the game of football, it's about relationships. The 6 team city league that you're a part of may not seem like much, but it's an opportunity. I ask my fellow coaches the same thing I've asked my players; What are you going to do with what you've been given?

Celebrating the Good Things Sports Parents Do


Celebrating the Good Things Sports Parents Do
by Jodi Murphy

Like most of the news, stories about youth sports often focus on the dark-side of things—stories of parents getting into fight at games, coaches verbally, physically or sexually abusing their players, league administrators caught robbing their organizations, and more. While we realize we don’t live in a perfect world and we shouldn’t look the other way when we hear about these stories (especially when it comes to abuse), we at SportsSignup feel it’s even more important to celebrate all the good that comes out of youth sports programs! And that doesn’t just mean celebrating the achievement of the players as they grow as athletes, it also means celebrating the good things that sports parents do for their teams.

Here are three things that we feel most sports parents should get a pat on the back for:

1. Sports parents are the reasons we have youth athletes.
Let’s be honest, most 6-year-olds can’t sign themselves up for Little League; it’s often sports parents that get their kids interested and involved in youth sports in the first place. Most turf_closeup.jpgsports parents AREN’T in it for the future college scholarships, or the chance to relive their own glory days. They want their children to play because youth sports teaches dedication, teamwork, leadership skills, how to win/lose with dignity, and more. Don’t let “those” sports parents ruin the reputation of sports moms and dads as a whole!

2. Sports parents learn as they go.
Most coaches are actually sports moms and dads who volunteered, not professional coaches or athletic trainers looking for a side job. Some of them probably played sports in high school, and some maybe even in college. But most sports parent-coaches have little to no training when it comes to being a coach, so they are learning on the job! Not everyone can be a great sports coach right out of the gate, and while we’ve all had to deal with a terrible coach at some point, let’s not forget about those sports moms and dads who were willing to volunteer when no one else would to coach our kids! It takes a lot of courage to take responsibility for a dozen or so young athletes (and learn to cope with “those” sports parents along the way).

3. Sports parents juggle a lot. Multiple kids means multiple teams and multiple games and practice schedules. Plus there are after-school activities to coordinate, doctor’s appointments to get to, family vacations to plan, sleep-overs to schedule, and so much more! Most sports parents are easily trying to cram three or four people’s schedules into one calendar and for the most part they make it happen. No one is perfect and sometimes they run late to practice, but most sports parents understand the important of getting kids to the game on time and try their hardest to make it work.

What do the sports parents do on your team or for your youth sports league that deserves recognition?
There are plenty of stories of when sports parents screw up but we think it’s time to start celebrating all the good and positive things they do for our communities.

Kids Need To Drink Fluids Before, During and After Sports


Here are the key points to keep in mind in making sure your child drinks enough fluids while playing sports to perform at her best and avoid dehydration: 
  • Kids should drink before, during and after sports. To prevent dehydration, or, worse yet, heat illness, you should encourage your child to drink cool fluids before, during, and after physical activity. Young athlete drinking from a water bottle
  • Kids should drink on a schedule, not when thirsty. Your child need to regulate his fluid intake by drinking according to a schedule, rather than in response to thirst, because thirst is not an accurate measure of a child's need for fluid. By the time your child says he is thirsty, he is already dehydrated. Consuming cool fluids at regular intervals during exercise protects your child's health and optimizes athletic performance.*
  • Kids should drink from their own water bottles. Children should have their own personalized water bottles and need to be reminded to drink 5 to 9 ounces (10 to 18 1/2 ounce "gulps") every 20 minutes during activity, depending on weight (Teenagers should drink more). Younger children should be given water bottles with marks on the sides showing how much they should drink each time or told how many "gulps" to drink.
  • Kids' fluid intake needs to be supervised. Children do not instinctively drink enough fluids to replace water losses, so it is essential that you watch to see how much water they actually drink. Parents should remind their kids to drink to stay hydrated, and make sure that their coaches see that they drink enough fluids during practices and games.
  • Kids need to be watched for signs of heat illness. During prolonged exercise, children and adolescents may not recognize the symptoms of heat stress and may push themselves to the point of heat-related illness. It's your job, and the coach's, to recognize the warning signs and act immediately.
Choosing the right fluids
  • Sports Drinks Are Best. The best source of fluid to hydrate the body - especially during intense exercise in the heat - is a sports drink. Your child will be more likely to drink the fluids she needs if you give her a flavored sports drink that tastes good and stimulates thirst. While sports drinks are absorbed just as quickly, and promote optimal cardiovascular function and temperature regulation as well as plain water, they offer the following advantages: 
    • Sports drinks contain glucose and sodium, which increase the rate of fluid absorption by the small intestine;
    • By providing carbohydrates for working muscles, sports drinks improve performance during both prolonged exercise (lasting an hour or more) and when exercising for an hour several times a day; and
    • They encourage drinking by "turning on" the thirst mechanism (research has shown that children stay better hydrated when drinking sports drinks compared to plain water). 
  • For optimal absorption and performance, look for sports drinks that contain: 
    • 4 to 8% carbohydrate (10 to 18 grams per 8 ounces)
    • About 36 to 77 calories per 8 ounces. 
  • Because most sports drinks contain 5 to 8% carbohydrates, it's a matter of personal preference: have your child try several sports drinks to find the one that works best for her. Note, however, that research has shown that children and those in early adolescence prefer grape-flavored sports drinks to apple or orange.
  • Avoid sugary or carbonated beverages.  Beverages that contain more than 10% carbohydrate (about 96 or more calories per 8 ounces), such as fruit juices, or energy drinks, or are high in fructose, like carbonated soft drinks, should be avoided. They are absorbed more slowly and can causes stomach cramps, nausea, bloating and diarrhea.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages. Children should avoid drinking ice tea or soft drinks containing caffeine because they are diuretics (promote urination), and because the potential side effects - agitation, nausea, muscle tremors, palpitations and headaches - work against peak athletic performance.  Energy drinks should NOT be used for hydration.
* Note to parents of water and winter sport athletes. Don't be lulled into thinking your child doesn't have as great a need to replace fluids as other athletes. A swimmer still loses body water through sweat in the pool, and can become dehydrated by sitting on the pool deck (a hot, humid environment) between exercise sessions or during a long meet (they always are!). Winter sports athletes (figure skaters, hockey players, skiers) also may not realize the importance of fluid replacementbecause they practice and play in a cool or cold environment, and because their clothing and equipment reduces the ability of the body to cool itself.

Sports Drinks Versus Water: Which Hydrates Kids Best?


Sports Drinks Versus Water: Which Hydrates Kids Best?
By Brooke de Lench Reviewed by Susan Yeargin, Ph.D, ATC

Sports drinks hydrate better than water
A number of studies in recent years have shown that sports drinks re-hydrate kids who are active in the heat better than water. Given a choice, kids will drink a lot more of a sports drink than of a glass of water.

An oft-cited 1999 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology reported that drinking a properly formulated sports drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes(sodium and potassium) increased fluid intake by nearly one-third (32%) compared to water. Because they taste better than water, sports drinks encouraged kids to keep drinking until their fluid needs were met. Another study, from 2003, reported that when drinking water, kids will drink only about 50 percent of what they need.  A Canadian study in the 1990's found that a flavored drink containing 6 percent carbohydrates and electrolytes (the amount found in most sports drinks) encouraged kids to drink 91 percent more than water alone.

Sports Drinks Versus Water
Sports DrinksWater
Maintain thirst, so kids keep drinking until fully hydratedEliminates thirst, so kids stop drinking before they are fully re-hydrated
Contain carbohydrates which provide energy for peak sports performanceContains no carbohydrates, so it does not provide the energy a child needs for running and playing all day
Contain electrolytes (sodium and potassium) which speed rehydration, create thirst, makes them taste better, and prevent heat crampsContains no electrolytes and lack the taste appeal of a sports drink
 Sports drinks replace electrolytes
Electrolytesare chemicals in the body fluids that result from the breakdown of salts, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride, which the body needs to maintain proper amounts of water inside cells, nerve conductivity, and allow for proper response by the cells to outside stimuli.Electrolyte deficits, particularly sodium, can cause lethargy, muscle cramping, and mental confusion, and even seizures. A properly formulated sports drink containing salts, particularly sodium, replaces electrolytes that active children lose through sweat and, because of their taste, promote re-hydration by maintaining thirst and encourage fluid intake.

Read more: http://www.momsteam.com/nutrition/sports-hydration/fluid-guidelines/sports-drinks-best-at-keeping-sports-active-kids-hydrated#ixzz2ZJP4XnUX

Replace Electrolytes Lost During Sports


Replace Electrolytes Lost During Sports
Balanced Diet, Sports Drinks Help

Here's what you need to know about electrolytes:
Important for bodily functions

Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride are necessary for:
  • Maintaining fluid levels in the body
  • Muscle contractions;
  • Nerve impulse transmission; and
  • Conservation of fluids.
Lost during sports
  • Sweating results in the loss of both electrolytes (particularly sodium) and water
  • Water losses are proportionately greater than electrolyte losses, so the body's cells end up with a greater electrolyte concentration (this is the imbalance that is believed to lead to heat cramps)
  • As the body becomes acclimated to the heat, the sodium content of sweat decreases
  • As children matures they also conserve more salt but sweat more.
Replaced by foods in balanced diet
  • Salt: Your child's regular diet should provide an abundance of salt. For instance, a 2-pound loss of sweat results in a loss of only 1 gram of sodium -- an amount easily replaced by moderate salting of food (one half teaspoon of salt). Recommendation: Do not give your child salt tablets
  • Potassium: Replacing the small amount of potassium lost during exercise is easy. Orange juice, bananas and potatoes are all excellent sources of potassium. For instance, a large glass of orange juice will replace the potassium lost in about 4 pounds of sweat. Recommendation: Do not give your child potassium supplements: not only are they unnecessary, they can cause excessively high potassium levels in the blood, resulting in an abnormal heart rhythm.
When deficits occurElectrolyte deficits, particularly sodium, can occur under the following conditions:
  • In an individual who is a "salty sweater."
Young girl with sports drinks
Sports drinks containing sodium:
  • Reduce the risk of hyponatremia
  • Promote re-hydration following exercise by maintaining thirst (which keeps your child drinking) while delaying the production of urine. By contrast, drinking plain water eliminates thirst so your child stops drinking, and stimulates urine production.
  • Encourage fluid intake because the sodium makes them taste better.

Children’s summer sports activities


Children’s summer sports activities and keeping children hydrated during summer sports, liability

Christopher J Zachar

Much has been written about the dangers of dehydration for children who are ill,  however, another group at risk which can be easily overlooked is young athletes. This includes softball and baseball players, youth football players and even soccer players. According to Momsteam.com, an information source for parents whose children are involved in youth sports, "Dehydration can begin when an athlete loses as little as 1 percent (1%) of body weight.  In a 70-pound child, that is less than 1 pound of weight lost through sweat. As little as a 2% decrease in body weight from fluid loss (e.g. 1.2 lb for a 60-lb athlete) can lead to a significant decrease in muscular strength and stamina".

Children don't adapt as well as adults do to exercise in hot, humid weather. They produce more heat, sweat less and may be less likely to drink enough fluids during exercise — all of which increase the risk of dehydration. In turn, dehydration can lead to heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. But you don't need to worry from the sidelines. Understand how heat-related problems happen and know how to prevent them.

Who's at risk

Any child who exercises in the heat may be at risk of dehydration. The concern is often greatest for young athletes who participate in football, soccer, cross-country and other sports that start in late summer.Your child may be particularly vulnerable to dehydration and other heat-related illnesses during summer workouts if he or she:
  • Rarely exercises
  • Has had a recent illness that caused vomiting or diarrhea
  • Has had a previous heat-related illness
Football players face special risks in the heat when exercising hard while wearing full protective gear.

Know when to slow down — or call it quits
Sometimes it's simply too hot and muggy to go full throttle on the field. To determine when heat and humidity make strenuous exercise risky for young athletes, your child's coach may monitor the wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) — the standard index of temperature and humidity combined. If the WBGT is too high, outdoor athletic activities may need to be limited or canceled.

Spotting dehydration and other heat-related problems

Even mild dehydration can affect your child's athletic performance and make him or her lethargic and irritable. Left untreated, dehydration increases the risk of other heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.Encourage your child to pay attention to early signs and symptoms of dehydration, including:
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Thirst
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps
  • Excessive fatigue
Remind your child that he or she is responsible for reporting these signs and symptoms to the coach right away. Don't let embarrassment keep your child on the field. If dehydration is detected early, fluids and rest may be all that's needed.  Also, you are the parent.  Don’t hesitate to walk down during a break and give your child some fluids.  If your child seems confused or loses consciousness, seek emergency care immediately.

Prevention is key
If your child plays sports in hot weather, encourage him or her to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after practices and games. Teach your child the signs and symptoms of dehydration, as well as the importance of speaking up if they occur. Involve your child's coach, too. Talk to the coach about adjusting the intensity of practice depending on the temperature and humidity on the field — and support the coach's decision to cancel games and practices when it's dangerously hot outside.

What's better: sport drinks or water while playing a sport?

Water is the most recommended fluid to take to replace water lost from perspiration and to combat thirst.  In an hour of routine exercise, a minimum of 10-12 ounces of water is recommended. It is the ideal choice for rehydration because it moves faster from the stomach through the blood stream.  It is also a very good idea to hydrate BEFORE the activity to be engaged in.  A good rule of thumb:  1-2 hours before, 1 oz of water for every 4 lbs of body weight (i.e. 100 lbs = 25 oz)

Other essential benefits from drinking water are:
  • It facilitates healthy digestion.
  • It effectively transports the nutrients.
  • It regulates temperature through the form of perspiration.
  • It lubricates joints and muscle tissues.
Sports Drink
The blandness in taste of water makes some look for other alternatives. Sports drinks with its attractive colors and flavors are becoming a popular replacement for drinking water. It has more benefits like additional calories that enhance endurance and boost energy.  Energy drinks can also reduce muscle damage due to extreme physical activity by replacing lost electrolytes. This, and uncounted advertisements are the reasons why sports drinks are popular compared to tasteless and colorless water.

Sports Drink vs. Water
The debate on “What’s better sport drinks or water while playing a sport?” will depend on many factors such as the amount of water and ions lost in the body, the climate of the local environment, and the degree of activity done. One important method of fluid maintenance is to start drinking water or sports drink about two (2) hours before working out to top up the loss of fluid from perspiration during exercise and most importantly, after the work out. Weighing is also one way to know whether how much fluid has been lost and needs to be replaced.

What Coaches Should Know

When players are practicing or competing, coaches should follow the following steps to help prevent heat related

Allow 10-14 days of light activity in the heat for adjusting to warmer climate/temperatures, and schedule less intense practices using lighter equipment at the start of the practice season  Schedule practice during cooler times of day  Athletes should hydrate throughout the day. Coaches and parents should teach athletes how to monitor their hydration levels by checking the volume, frequency, and color of their urine. If they are hydrated, their urine should look like lemonade. If their urine looks dark, like apple juice, they may need to drink more fluids.  Coaches should encourage athletes to weigh in and out before and after practices to determine individual fluid losses.  

Schedule and enforce frequent drink breaks and rest periods during physical activity Remove pads and practice in T-shirts and shorts Reduce intensity and/or length of training with high temperatures and/or humidity When it comes to keeping athletes safe on the field, water may not be enough. While water is fundamental to the body, it does not hydrate as effectively as a properly formulated sports drink with sodium. Ask athletes to buddy up during practice with a teammate to monitor for warning signs of heat Illness Overexposure to high temperature and humidity can cause heat-related illnesses. The National Weather Service issues heat alerts when the daytime heat index (a combination of temperature and humidity) is 105° F or more, which can dramatically increase the risk of the most serious heatrelated illnesses. At 80-105° F, fatigue and heat stroke are also possible with prolonged exposure. Athletes playing in the heat for long periods of time wearing protective padding are especially at risk.  Be prepared by having an ice-filled tub ready for immersing a player in case of an emergency. Carry a cell phone on the field at all times. Know the precise address of the practice or game field and any specific directions required by EMS responders. Remember to cool first before trying to transport the athlete.  


Weigh athletes following practice and compare to their weight beforehand to determine fluid losses. Coaches should monitor athletes to ensure they replace every pound lost during practice with approximately 20 ounces of fluid.  

Not All Athletes are Alike
Certain types of athletes might be at a higher risk for heat-related illness and should be monitored closely. These types of players include: Those with a prior history of heat illness Players with a medical history of gastrointestinal, diabetic, kidney, or heart problems. Players who were recently (within 2 weeks) ill with upper respiratory illness or cold or flu virus. These athletes may require special attention by coaches and quick action if any symptom of heat illness is noticed.  

Age Matters

Coaches working with kids should know children may be less tolerant of heat stress than adults, and may be at greater risk for heat illness.  

Hot Weather Safety Tips

An important step in avoiding heat illness is adjusting practice or game length and intensity to the environmental conditions. Temperature and humidity combine to create conditions that can produce heat illness and dehydration.
An air temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit is high risk regardless of the humidity.
An air temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity of 60 percent or above.
An air temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity of 90 percent or above.

Positive Coaching Alliance


Our Mission Positive Coaching Alliance is a national non-profit developing “Better Athletes, Better People” by working to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience. Learn more in this short video.

One of the great life lessons in sports is that what gets rewarded gets done. That also applies in business, community building or any other team endeavor.

In this spirit, PCA annually honors outstanding coaches, high school athletes and others who bring about a positive, character-building youth sports environment. Because when others see a Double-Goal Coach® or Triple-Impact Competitor® rewarded, they more likely will emulate the honorees' examples.

And the more people pursue the ideals of the Double-Goal Coach or Triple-Impact Competitor, the more youth benefit.

In the process of identifying winners for our awards programs -- as well as the outstanding student-athletes who serve on our National Student Athlete Advisory Board -- we learn from some of the best hearts and minds around. These insights find their way into our workshops, online courses and other products and services.

Even as we honor great coaches and student-athletes, they honor the PCA Movement through their work and participation in our programs.


The Guardian Cap


“It is my belief that our ultimate job as educators is to protect our kids with every resource at our disposal and if the Guardian can help us do that while they are playing football for our youth leagues, our middle schools, and Sweeny High School, then we are going to utilize it.” – Brett Sawyer, athletic director and head football coach, Sweeny HS TX

The Guardian Cap is a product on the forefront of football safety. How often have you opened your paper and been faced with an article about football injuries, especially head injuries?The Guardian Cap is a product of a company that has long been aware of this problem and has been working to reduce the impact of hits.  The Guardian is a giant step forward in the effectiveness of sports equipment.  No helmet or practice apparatus can reduce or prevent head injuries.  The Guardian can reduce the impact the head takes in a hit up to 33%.Why should YOU be interested in the Guardian cap?  Consider this:

  • Scientifically designed to reduce impact.
  • Applies the principles of physics to design.
  • Scientific commentary supports use.
  • Statistics support effectiveness.
Learn about the product that was worn by over 8,000 players in 2012, has received incredible testimonials and is permitted for high school practice and game use by the NFHS.