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December 30, 2019
6 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Youth Sports Program for Your Kid

The number one reason kids play sports is to have fun and the program you choose is an important factor in their overall sports experience. When selecting a sports program for your child, avoid these common mistakes and make sure you know exactly what kind of program you are signing up for.

1. Picking the Sport
Parents often assume their child will want to play the same sport they enjoyed most growing up. Don’t assume. Ask your child what s/he is interested in playing and keep an open mind. Your child may not love the first sport s/he tries, so continue to try multiple sports. 

2. Choosing a program that DOESN’T provide age-appropriate instruction
Beware of two issues: 1) a program that expects kids to play like adults, or 2) a program that teaches all kids, regardless of age, the same. A 4-year-old, 8-year-old and 14-year-old all have dramatically different abilities, needs, and learning styles. Ask to see the league’s practice plans and instruction curriculum by age group to ensure your child will get the age-appropriate instruction s/he needs.
 
3. Joining a league that over-values the win/loss record
Everyone likes to win. But if a league places a higher value on competition and the final score than on how the game is played, will your child be given full opportunity to develop her skills…or will s/he spend the season on the sideline watching only the best players getting better? If you want your child to have fun and develop, find out what the league values most.

4. Pushing your child to specialize too soon
Research shows that specializing in a sport at a young age leads to higher risk of injury and emotional burnout. Just as you encourage your kids to eat a balanced diet, encourage your kids to play multiple sports throughout the year so they develop different muscle groups and new skills.


5. Assuming this is YOUR child’s golden ticket to a college scholarship and a lucrative pro career
NCAA statistics show only 2% of all kids who play sports in high school will get any college athletic scholarship, and only .1% will go on to play professionally. That means for 98% of kids, youth sports should simply be a way to develop a love of the game and have fun with friends. If you’re convinced your child falls in the 2%, make sure it’s your child’s dream to pursue, not yours.


6. Not understanding what you're signing up for
Youth leagues can differ dramatically in expense and time commitment. Make sure to find out what your total participation cost will be including; uniform and equipment fees, coaching fees, fundraising obligations, tournament fees, and travel fees. Ask how many practices are scheduled during the week and whether travel to other locations is required for gameplay and tournaments. Will you and your child have a life beyond the league?
 
At i9 Sports we provide a fun experience in which kids develop athletic skills, learn good sportsmanship, and increase their self-confidence. Find out about how we differ from other leagues here!

 

December 03, 2019
New Year's Eve Printable!
This holiday season we hope that you are able to slow down and focus on spending time with the ones who matter most! We've created this fun printout that can be done by the entire family. This printout is not only the perfect opportunity to reflect and learn what your child enjoyed throughout 2019, but to get excited for the year ahead!


Click here for to download!
December 01, 2019
The Benefits of Playing Volleyball
The i9 Sports volleyball program is played indoors or outdoors in a 4 v 4 or 6 v 6 format. Small team sizes allow your child to get maximum touches on the ball. The game is designed to keep kids moving, engaged and learning new skills. With modified court sizes and rules, the i9 Sports format is the perfect way to teach kids ages 7 - 14 the fundamentals of volleyball while developing their hand-eye coordination, agility, and overall athletic skills. And best of all, it comes with all the benefits you’ve come to expect from i9 Sports: fun, safety, and emphasis on good sportsmanship. Learn more about the benefits of playing volleyball in our infographic below!

November 04, 2019
Building Confidence on the Court
Trying a sport for the first time can be challenging for any kid. Feeling confident about where to stand, when to shoot and what to do can be tough, especially for a child with autism.
 
But with the help of an encouraging basketball coach and a positive atmosphere at i9 Sports, 11-year-old Zenaiya's confidence soared. Playing basketball hasn’t just made her a fan of the game, it’s made her feel like she can do anything.
 
“She refers to herself as a ‘baller’ and has more confidence than ever,” said Zenaiya’s mother, Iraida. “We’ve realized that it would be a disservice to her if we ever tried to set limits on what she can do!”
 
When Zenaiya first started playing basketball, she struggled to understand specific plays and the structure of the game. But after she met Coach TJ in an i9 Sports clinic, things changed for her.
 
“Her coach really broke down the game for her and explained things,” said Iraida. “She’s very literal and he took the time to figure out how she’s wired.”
 
One of the differences between i9 Sports and other youth sports programs is that we build in opportunities for teaching moments during game play.
 
“He would stop in the middle of a drill to work directly 1 on 1 with her and that made a world of difference,” Iraida said. “He was heaven-sent.”
 
It’s not hard to get Zenaiya motivated for game day now.
 
“On Saturdays, I never have to tell her to go get ready for the game. She’s always ready to go with her sneakers and jersey and can’t wait to go each week.”
 
Seeing Zenaiya’s success on the court and her growth in confidence helped Iraida feel great as a parent.
 
“I just felt really accomplished to see her so happy and so confident,” she said. “I felt like as a parent that I was doing something right.”
 
Iraida decided to try i9 Sports after finding that many other youth sports options in the area emphasized competition too much for her liking.
 
“When I was researching local programs, it seemed like everything was so focused on winning and losing or on some kind of championship and I didn’t think that would be a good fit. Zenaiya is all about positivity,” said Iraida. “i9 Sports’ focus on positive influence and sportsmanship is what gained my interest.”
 
For Iraida, it’s not just the emphasis on positivity that makes i9 Sports a good choice for her family, it’s also the commitment of one day a week.
 
“Other programs want you to do something three times a week but I’m a very busy mom, she said. “We home school Zenaiya and I like that this is just one day a week.”
 
“I would tell any parent considering i9 Sports that the experience is so positive that there’s really no way to go wrong.”
 
If you are interested in a program that focuses on Helping Kids Succeed in Life Through Sports®, you can find a program near you here!
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