Kids and Sport

        So last night was the closing ceremony of the CAISSA boys basketball and girls soccer championships hosted by Academia Cotopaxi. It was a wonderful event, and a true celebration of our student athletes from all across the region. The tournament began on Thursday morning, and I have to say that watching our students compete over the next 3 days was truly inspiring, and it got me thinking critically about the importance of kids and sport. I have long been an advocate of youth sports, and having been a coach for almost 30 years I have seen first hand the incredible benefits that sport can bring to a young person’s life both physically and psychologically. I decided to dig deep over the past two days into the extensive research around the many advantages that sport can bring to a young person’s life, and it was fantastic to see so much evidence that clearly supports my bias. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of benefits that sport can bring to a child’s life and development, all of which won’t come as a surprise to any of you I’m sure…
1. Increased self esteem and self confidence
2. Learning how to fail and how to deal with loss
3. Learning about fair play and teamwork
4. The obvious health benefits that comes along with regular exercise
5. Improved mood and memory
6. Development of trust and reliance on others
7. Decreased chances of youth depression
8. Learning how to give and receive help
9. Teamwork skills and increased sense of belonging and community
10. Decreased chances of alcohol and drug abuse
        With all that in mind, I have to say that one of the coolest things that I witnessed over weekend, that is not on that list, was the connections and friendships that kids made with the players from the other teams. We had two social events during the tournament, and watching our students laugh, share, and connect with the other players was a thing of beauty. To me, that’s the real power of tournaments like these…the camaraderie and relationships that are formed that in many cases will end up lasting a lifetime. I also want to share how impressed I was with the coaches, who have spent countless hours of their own time mentoring their players. Good coaching is just like good teaching in my opinion…it’s about developing relationships with your players/students, learning how each player/student responds to feedback, differentiating for the many unique personalities on your team or in your classroom, and building that level of trust so each young person feels supported, safe, respected, challenged and loved…Good coaches are good teachers, and in many ways become second mothers and fathers to their players…true role models and mentors who can shape a young person’s life in positive and profound ways! For all you coaches out there, I want to thank you for influencing your players’ lives for the better.
        Anyway, I went to sleep last night feeling very good about what I saw over the weekend, and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for putting on such a wonderful event for our community. It’s a lot of work to put one of these things together, and I’m proud of our school and our team…particularly our Athletic Director, Juan Jose Fuentes! Okay, I’m off for a long run on this sunny Sunday morning because as we all know, the benefits of sport and exercise aren’t just for young people…even middle-aged guys like me still love that runner’s high that comes with the release of endorphins…Have a fantastic week everyone and remember to be great for our kids and good to each other.
Quote of the Week…
Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn – O. Fred Donaldson
 
Inspiring Videos and Talks – 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmFQqjMF_f0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBSVZdTQmDs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orVIPr25ivo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeiXrvqeyFU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7akw_RyADzA
Interesting Articles/Websites – 
https://www.aspenprojectplay.org/the-facts
http://www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/top-10-health-benefits-youth-sports/
https://uqsport.com.au/article/10-psychological-and-social-benefits-of-sport-for-kids
http://www.athleticscholarships.net/benefits-risks-youth-sport.htm
http://www.letsplay.com/get-inspired/why-play-important/7-benefits-team-sports#.WI3q6rYrK1s

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