Sports Love & family

Learning Life's Lessons through Sports


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Knowing Your Role

Introducing the first in this four-part series about ‘Knowing Your Role’. To us this means knowing what you bring to your team and realizing that each role on the team is important. Join us as we discuss what roles we have, and then as we dive into the various roles on a team (Coach, Player and Parent).

Part I: Knowing Your Role
As adults we have careers, and within that career we have specific assignments or expectations of us. One thing that prepared us for this was playing sports growing up. It’s important to know your role on a team. We know that not everyone can be the coach, or the captain or the number one pitcher. We each have a specific role and each role is important (please remember to tell this to your children constantly).

As parents, we need to educate our children on this. Our kids learn this lesson in school daily, some may realize it and others probably don’t. This is another reason why sports play such a pivotal role in the development of a child. This is how I think we can control the sense of “entitlement-age” we’re living in.

We explain to our children that your team is like working for a company. You have the boss, which is your coach. You have other supervisors, which are the assistant coaches. You have the worker-bees, which are the players. Within that set you all have specialties, or in a company they might be departments. Everyone has a job description, everyone has a position they play. We tell our kids they are only 1/9th (baseball/softball) or 1/5th (basketball) of their team; because you can only control YOUR ACTIONS. However, if someone needs help performing their duties, typically others pick up the slack, because we are ONE team.

The greater good of the company is defined by how well each person performs their role. The success of the team is defined the same way. But, success can only be achieved when the right people are put in the right roles to obtain the best outcome. You can’t put someone at first base whom can’t catch the ball, it’s setting them up to fail. If each of us understand our role and accept it and know that our role is important to the greater good, success should follow.

The difficult part is not knowing your role, it’s understanding it’s importance to the team. When kids are little they hate playing outfield because at a young age they don’t receive much action. It’s our job to make sure they realize that there’s more to that role than catching a fly ball. On every pitch, every player should be moving and they should know where they’ll ultimately end up should that pitch be hit. At the youth level outfielders backing up infielders is critical on each play. I’ve seen many bases and runs given up because there wasn’t someone backing up a throw.

Explaining early on to our children that not everyone can be a pitcher or a point guard, will help them understand the importance of each role on a TEAM. Not everyone is going to be able to, nor want to be the CEO of a company, or the Vice President of a department. As long as we’re teaching our kids to be team players and that their own success can contribute to the greater good of the team or organization.

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Uniform Organization

We get asked all the time how we keep all our children’s uniforms organized. We’ve tried a few methods, and so far this works the best! It’s not fool-proof but it has cut down on “mom where is my….” Hopefully this can help you and if you have a great organizational tip, we’d love to hear it!


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Keeping Score in Youth Sports

To answer the writer’s question, if there were no parents or coaches and kids were just playing a game by themselves, score would for sure still be an issue. Kids are competitive, they want to win. Taking the adults out doesn’t change that. But, what it does change is the dynamic of the expectations set on those children. I’ve witnessed so many kids that can’t perform to the expectation their parents have set for them. One day those parents can’t make the game, and guess what, that kid has his best game! The issue doesn’t lie with the children, it lies with the parents and their behavior at youth sporting events. And keeping score or not keeping score, many parents just can’t control themselves.
What are your thoughts? How do you feel about keeping score? Do you think there should be an age when it begins?

The JNYB Blog

When was the last time you and your friends grabbed a basketball and played “just for fun” on the neighborhood courts? Or going to the park to kick around the soccer ball with your family and friends? Nowadays, many people who play sports are not just doing so for the fun of the game, rather when we do play sports, we are always keeping score. The competitive nature of North American sports may be putting extra stress on these young athletes and taking away the fun associated with playing sports.  However, there are advantages to keeping score and embracing that competitive nature.

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I Can’t Stand Pouters…

I can’t stand pouters. There is nothing that eerks me more. And unfortunately, I am raising at least two pouters (jury is still out on number 3). Don’t get me wrong, I have three good kids. They are kind, they are good friends and they are most always polite. Those are qualities I am so proud they have.

First, let me say my kids are not mean-spirited and never do anything with ill will toward anyone. That’s not who they are. They are competitive little beings. Like, competitive to a fault. For instance, this basketball season our oldest was on a losing team (I wrote about it here). We saw the disappointment written all over his face when the team started getting down by 5, 10, or even more. His body language and attitude shifted…and not for the better. What we would’ve like to see and what we preached to him after the game was to take that frustration and play harder. The only game you can control is yours, and you are only 1/5 of the team on the floor. We always said these things in the end, but they fell on deaf ears.

On the other hand, my daughter was on a winning team and she herself was having much success on the court. But, still, many games we had to talk to her about her body language and attitude. She was always disappointed in her play or she always picked one negative thing that happened to her and focused on that. No matter how much we told her she did great or that we were proud of her.

I tell you this, because we are not perfect parents, even though we try to preach about raising kids in this sports life we live. We are trying and doing the best we can. However, there are just somethings we can’t contend with, and one of them is DNA. You see, competitiveness runs strong in our family’s blood (Todd and I compete with each other constantly). And while it’s a great attribute, many of us have a hard time channeling it in a positive way.

We are constantly preaching to our children, if something’s not going your way on the field or court, use that energy in a positive way. Cheer on your teammates, pick each other up, play harder. Many kids, mine included have trouble breaking out of that mental slump. It’s hard when you’re a competitor and you’re losing or the game isn’t going the way you want it to, to use that negative and make it positive energy. I know a lot of adults who can’t do that let alone young athletes.

You can rest assured that Todd and I will continue to work on this with our children and if we come up with some great way that we somehow got through to our kids, we’ll share it here first. And, if someone out there has figured this out with their kids already, please share with us because inquiring minds want to know!


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Ask Yourself, Can You Commit?

So your kid wants to try out for the [insert sport here] travel team? Is your family ready for the commitment? Do you have what it takes? Does your kid have what it takes? This is something at Sports, Love & Family we feel very strongly about. It’s one of the strongest life lessons we’re teaching our kids.

Before you jump on the travel team band wagon there are some things you should ask yourself and your child. First, are you as a parent ready for this commitment? If you are not willing to drive your child all over the county for practices or games…you are not ready. If your social calendar is booked every weekend…you are not ready. If you don’t enjoy spending hours watching sporting events…you are not ready. If you purchased a vehicle based on seating availabilty and trunk capacity…you are ready. If you seek out sport events even if you don’t know any players…you are ready. If you are not ready for this type of commitment then there’s no point of asking your child if they’re ready. It begins with you. If you can’t give it your all, then don’t bother. The goal is to be an example to your child and if you can’t fully commit, then don’t do it.

Once you know you can commit, now you need to discuss what the commitment looks like with your child. Make sure you’re being honest with your child when you talk to them. Let them know how often practices are, how long and far away game days may be. Let them know how long the season is and if it interferes with other sports or activities they like to do. Because, parents, let’s face it, this is their first commitment they will make and how you handle this sets the stage for later in life.

At Sports, Love & Family we are fully committed.


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Life Lesson: Persevering through Adversity

What do you do when faced with adversity? Do you back down and give up or do you push yourself to the limit? Many of us learned this lesson on a ball field or court early on. The way we reacted to a challenging situation then, may not be the way we’d handle it now. However, being a parent allows us to use the insight we gained at those times with our children today.

Our daughter’s basketball team was playing another team they’ve played four times in the last two weekends. After that many games in a short time you learn a lot about the other team and each player. Our daughter ended up defending the same girl in each game. After the first game it became apparent she was an aggressive and “dirty” player. Last weekend she handled her very well. We were very proud of how she worked through that challenge and persevered.

However, after playing this team four times our girl was pushed to her limit. The fourth game was different. The other girl was more aggressive and dirty. She was actually being told to behave that way from her parents in the stands. Clearly, her mom and dad haven’t read our fan behavior post. At the beginning it looked like our child was getting the best of the other girl. I was proud in that moment, because I felt like she was pushing through everything this girl was trying to throw at her. But, as the game went on the physicality of it got worse. She hadn’t dealt with that before. I could see the frustration begin to build on her face.

After the game we walked over to tell her how proud we were of her. We let her know that she played the game the right way. It didn’t matter, the tears began to flow and she didn’t want to hear anything we said. She didn’t care that we were praising her, she felt like she didn’t handle it well. Her frustration was at an all time high. Her and I walked down the hall to the bathroom, all the while I was saying all the right things (in my mind).

After a few minutes in the bathroom of me trying to talk to her, I realized it was a lost cause in this moment. She was running on adrenaline and emotion. I tried to compete with that by using all the things I’ve learned from every sports article I’ve ever read.

We both learned something in that bathroom that night. I know that in those few minutes after the toughest game she’s played thus far she wasn’t hearing me talk about persevering through adversity and being pushed to your limit, but she did store it away in her mind. I also realized that I need to let her have space after a game. It’s ok for her to be emotional, all of the emotions, good and bad. I can talk to her about the life lesson she just learned first hand…but next time I’ll wait a bit.

This day was not about us helping our daughter in that moment, it was about giving her space so she could figure out how to work through the situation in her own time and way. On this day, WE learned a life lesson through sports.