In my bid to become a published author, I spend a great deal of time surfing the internet. It is in doing so that I run across a plethora of sports and youth sports websites and blogs.
Many of these sites have similar missions to what I am attempting to accomplish through my book, above, blog The Athlete's Sports Experience here at ChicagoNow, my personal blog by the same title, and other sports blogs on which I post material. And part of my mission is to make a difference in what I see as a pervasive loss of perspective and winning at all costs attitudes so prevalent in today's sports and youth sports culture. There is just so much intrinsic value that can come out of a positive experience in sports, as long as the "right" lessons are taught and actions are taken, that I think it behooves us to work toward that end.
Now I am a firm believer that there is always more than one way to "skin a cat" so to speak (excuse the cliché), and that no one has a stranglehold on the one answer that is right for all. However, there are some important basic principles that should form the foundation of thought behind one's mission if positive change is to take place. From my vantage point, these basic principles include:
1. A focus on skill mastery over winning as the ultimate end.
2. A solid understanding that competing and winning are still an important piece of the puzzle.
3. The ability to prioritize, through teachings, both 1 & 2 above.
4. An emphasis on personal ownership over one's success.
5. The comprehension that different age brackets bring different priorities into the mix.
6. An increasing age-relevant concentration on the idea that one earns what they get by the efforts they put in.
It is these basic principles that I try to keep in mind (along with a few others central to my success as an athlete) as I peruse the variety of informational sports and youth sports websites currently available out on the web. Not all of these concepts are necessarily apparent on all of these sites, and some of them do come from opposing viewpoints; however, there is certainly a wealth of knowledge, experience, and programs for those seeking this information. You will have to pick and choose what might be best for you.
With that in mind, I would like to present several that I believe to have a more positive mission, sites that encourage and promote a healthy experience for young athletes. All, in one way or another, seem to be working toward improving and changing the current trends many see developing in sports today.
Hopefully, as time permits, I can add to this list as I find other individuals and groups that are working toward the betterment of our current and future sports culture. Feel free to do the same by suggesting sites you may have visited that do the same.
Positive Coaching Alliance: Teaching the Double Goal Coach principle, which has direct relationship to the six concepts listed above.
Weplay: A positive and proactive website for athletes, teams, coaches, parents, and sports fans.
The Educated Sports Parent: A good informational site for parents
Understand Your Athletes: For coaches interested in reaching a greater understanding of their athletes and coaching style
Play Sports Television: A proactive youth sports training site
Old School Sports Parenting: Blog that brings an old school flavor to mains stream youth sports.
Team Score: A real focus on sportsmanship in sports and youth sports
JellyBean Sports: Designed specifically for younger athletes with developmental programs for ages 2-8
National Alliance for Youth Sports: Educational website for coaches, officials, and parents, that also offers developmental programs for youth
Ask Coach Wolff: A sports blog addressing many current issues in sports and youth sports.