Early Sports Specialization: Safe, Sorry or Simply Unable to Say No?   Recently updated !

“At what age should they specialize?” Shelby asked me at the book signing. She had her two boys in tow. Her daughter was away on a weekend retreat, so she found herself with a freer schedule than usual. The son in question was a second grader who had been offered a spot on the travel soccer team, but they had turned it down. “Second grade is too early for a travel team, don’t you think?” That’s a question I get a lot, mostly from parents who have been raked over the coals for […]


Physical Literacy, the Long Term Investment We Make in Our Kids   Recently updated !

Kids are expensive these days, aren’t they? Toys, games, school supplies, activities, classes, technology and fashion. We want to give our children the best of things, but replacing the $100 graphing calculator three times because they can’t find the last one or buying them 3 pairs of Uggs so they’ll have colors for each outfit seems a bit extravagant. Still, if you can be generous, why not? I think, not. And not because it’s wrong to gift them, but because it’s blinding us to seeing where we really need to […]


Playing Up: Is it Safe? Is it Wise? Is it Best?

Cat was her name; she was the ringer on my daughter’s U9 travel team. It was the spring season and they had been a miserable failure (in soccer terms) in the fall. When Cat joined the team mid-year, things had started looking up. This girl was small but fast. And was she ever good. She ran circles around all those 9 years olds (except mine, of course) when it came to skill and quickness and finishing. All of a sudden, our team started winning. But when spring season came to […]


Survival Training for the Winter Ice Breaker Tournament

We’ve nearly survived the snow and ice, now how about the Icebreaker? The tournament, I mean. Can you believe spring soccer is just around the bend? This year the weather has prevented most teams from doing a lot of preseason preparation. What will this mean when the team takes the field in March? Is there anything we can do to help them be better prepared for the season-opening tourneys just around the corner? What should be in your Icebreaker tool box? Weather Alert This never used to be an issue, […]

How to Put the SHOW in Showcase

Showcase…just the word puts you on guard. You’re the center of things. On the big field, the feature field, the stadium field, the special turf. Coaches come from far and wide to watch you play. You know who they are, even behind their shades, because they are standing there with their clipboards and game sheets, pens poised or tucked behind an ear beneath the cap with the college insignia. This, of course, matches the shirt and the jacket that sport the college logo and shout the school colors. They want […]

Play, the Great Leveler

Remember the carefree days of unencumbered play? When we gathered a group of friends, boys and girls, older and younger, and set out for the open field, or the hillside, or the climbing tree? There was not one right way to run or jump or roll or climb. We each just did it in our own way, together. And I can still smell the mowed grass and black dirt and feel the happy spin of my head when I tried to stand up after rolling, rolling, rolling down the hill. […]

kids rolling down hill

Is Comparison Stealing the Potential from Our Kids?

There’s so much pressure to be the star player out there. The best, the most, the fastest, the biggest, the strongest. While encouraging kids to reach their potential is important – and what parents, coaches and teachers have done since the beginning of time – I think we may have lost our way a bit by focusing on the superlatives. Somehow, less-than-the-best has become bad. When we attach a value-judgment to a measuring stick, it defeats the purpose and may defeat us in the process. Can you imagine setting a […]


If Coach is in Charge of Player Development, Who is in Charge of Coach Development?

We pour, time, energy, heart and money into developing our kids, but what about their coach? In my last post I suggested beginning with the end in mind so you know the way to the finish line for your athlete. Expect a good coach to clearly define the steps to progress your child and what achievement looks like. Just promising to help your child achieve his ‘full potential’ leaves far too many unanswered questions. The coach may have a winning track record, but that does not mean that your child is assured […]


To Set a Successful Course, Flip Your Perspective

How can we train to finish well? To meet our goal, achieve success, and win the prize? Yes, strength, speed, fitness and avoiding injury are all important along the way. But how do I know the way? How do I get from here (where I am dissatisfied with how I look, feel, perform) to there (where I am satisfied with how I look, feel, perform)? Not knowing how to chart this course often leaves us well short of our goal and frustrated with our efforts. Part of our problem may be […]

photo 2 (2)

Play with a Purpose: The Simple Solution to the Stress Crisis in Our Kids

Kids are stressed these days. Anxiety, worry, clinical depression and suicide is on the rise in our teens. They are meeting the pressure-cookers of their lives without the resources to manage them. So, why try to squeeze in exercise? Because, done voluntarily and under no pressure to perform, it’s a stress-reducer. But wait, isn’t exercise a stress-or? How can it also be a stress reducer? Yes, exercise revs up the body. It activates the fight or flight response which is your body’s natural way of dealing with challenge. It’s a survival […]