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Wednesday, 10 April 2013 08:46

Selecting An Organized Sports Program for Your Child

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Now that you have determined you and your child are indeed ready to jump into the world of organized youth sports the next step is find which program is best for your child.

Programs promoting sport and physical activity for children have proliferated in recent years. Philosophies, objectives, facilities and leadership of the various programs in Southern Nevada can be so diverse that it is imperative that you assess the program's quality, both initially and periodically, to determine whether the program will provide or continue to provide a positive experience (physically, socially and emotionally) for your children.

Developing important life values and skills should play a central role in a quality youth sports program.


The following area outlines the important key elements in helping to find a quality youth sports program. This is something that all parents/guardians should consider before enrolling a child in any sports program. Each question addresses an item that is integral to a quality sport experience for children and is based on recommendations outlined by the National Association of Sports & Physical Education.

Should you answer any of these questions with a “No,” consult the sport program and ask whether any consideration will be given to developing or implementing that item.

Consider your answers to each of these questions as you evaluate the various local community-based physical activity programs for your child. Keep in mind your child’s characteristics (age, skill level, maturity, interests and special needs) in relation to each area and its components and consider how the answers to those questions will affect your child’s participation.

Recognize what should be prioritized for you and your child and whether or not what the program offers will suit your needs. Remember that your child should have fun in a positive and safe, participatory environment!

Here are some question's that can help you in determining the right program:

Program & Administration

  • Does the program have a written philosophy or a mission statement?

      If yes, does it address:

         - Adequate participation in practices and contests with no discrimination based on ability, gender or race?

         - Development of fair play, teamwork and sportsmanship?

         - Having fun?

         - Emphasis on individual awards and winning are kept in proper perspective?

         - Communication with coaches, parents, officials and participants?

         - Evaluation of coaches, officials and the overall program?

  • Are the procedures for selecting coaches and officials outlined clearly?
  • Has the school or organization trained coaches and officials appropriately? 
  • Does it offer either a meeting or written material to educate parents?

       If yes, does the parental education address:

            - Program requirements that include, but are not limited to expected costs, insurance coverage, practice and contest schedules?

            - Expectations for parent involvement?

            - Rules and regulations for the program and sport?

            - Proper conduct, including showing respect for and support of the coaches, officials and spectators?

            - How to be a positive supporter?

  • Are the number and length of practices, contests and tournaments appropriate for the age group?
  • Do coaches select teams appropriately, based on age, size, skill and emotional development?


Safety Considerations

  • Are the facilities clean and hygienic?
  • Does the Organization have a policy on injuries related to head trauma?
  • Do coaches select and adjust equipment based on participants’ size and skill level?
  • Do coaches inspect, maintain and replace equipment on a regular schedule? 
  • Are the practice and competition areas safe, inspected regularly and maintained? 
  • Is the necessary safety equipment (e.g., mats, protectors, body gear, spotting rigs) present?
  • Does the coach regularly inspect and replace first aid supplies as used or needed? 
  • Are emergency medical forms, first-aid supplies and personnel available and easily accessible?
  • Is the ratio of coaches/staff to participants appropriate for providing adequate instruction, supervision and safety at all times for the participants’ age and skill level?
  • Are warm-up and conditioning activities part of the program to ensure safety and prevent injuries?
Read 3581 times Last modified on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 11:04