Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Juggling Youth Sports

Here's a link to a Wall Street Journal article from a while back about juggling kids activities, particularly their sports teams, with family time. Sue Shellenbarger examines the choices families make and where some draw the line and say enough is enough.

One group in Minnesota, Balance4Success, draws the line on Sunday activities, and has started its own movement called Taking Back Sundays. They ask participants to pledge to boycott Sunday sports in the interest of not allowing their kids to be over scheduled. They stress the importance of obtaining the proper balance in kids' lives among sports, school, family time and unorganized free time.

Shellenbarger also ponders the motivation behind parents that push their kids to pursue athletics seriously at a young age.  Having grown kids of her own that were athletes, she speaks from experience about putting youth sports in the proper perspective. While agreeing that participation in youth sports has significant benefits, she points out that only 2% of high school athletes get college scholarships (and many of those include only a small percentage of tuition and expenses - less than academic scholarships). Looking back, she says it's the interaction with teammates and families that are most remembered by her family - not the on-field accomplishments.

This is a good look into the growing backlash against the "more is better" trend in youth sports these days. Whether we are tempted to have our kids specialize in one sport, or we are considering allowing them to participate in multiple activities at once, we all have choices to make and there are risks to consider - burnout, overuse injuries, over-scheduling, etc. - real issues that threaten to take the fun out of kids' games.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Article on Overuse Injuries

Tommy John, then of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was the first to undergo ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) replacement surgery. Since that initial procedure performed by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974, Tommy John Surgery has become a common fix for serious elbow injuries. And as previously mentioned in this blog, it has become far too common in young pitchers.

Here is a link to another article about overuse, or "repetitive stress" injuries in young athletes. Amanda Schoenberg writes in the Albuquerque Journal about author Mark Hyman's experience with his own son's injury, and his book on the subject, "Until It Hurts."

I am currently reading the book and will comment on it later. But for now, there is some useful information on overuse injuries in this article. The more informed we are, the better.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Josiah's Time

If you missed the ESPN E:60 story, "Josiah's Time" by Tom Rinaldi, check it out below. It is the story of 6-year-old Josiah Viera of Hegins, PA. Josiah has an extremely rare disease called Progeria, which, although he is only 27 inches tall and weighs 15 pounds, causes his body to age ten times the normal human rate.

Josiah's dream is to play baseball. Watch as his dream comes true, and visit the E:60 page for an article by Ben Houser. This is a story about a courageous little boy, his love of baseball and much more.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Titanium Necklaces: Do They Work?

If you've watched a baseball game on TV lately, you've no doubt seen titanium necklaces draped around the necks of many professional players. If you watched the World Series, you may have noticed the new braided Phiten Tornado being worn by several. Anyone can buy one in his favorite team's colors, and sales have skyrocketed. 

Since Phiten is an official MLB partner, they are very common in the game.  Some like them big and flashy.  Some not only wear them around their necks, but also on their body as discs.

Many players swear by them, but few know what they actually do. Some say they increase energy or balance. Some say they are a muscle relaxer (if that's the case, I need to wrap them around my bad back). The company claims they "regulate and balance the flow of energy throughout your body."  In turn, this "helps to alleviate discomfort, speed recovery, and counteract fatigue by restoring the body’s natural healing powers."

But doctors point out that no scientific evidence has shown that the liquid titanium, or "aqua-titanium," that the necklaces are infused with actually has any healing powers. They have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, so that basically classifies them as a fashion accessory.

Fox Charlotte recently produced the story below on titanium and magnetic necklaces, and interviewed some area players, including one of my own former players, Colin Walls, about whether they actually "work," or if there is merely a placebo effect at hand. I think many young players might agree that they look cool, but I'm not sure they are worth the $25-$50 price tag unless one can actually fix my back.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why We Coach

This article by Adam Parkhouse of the News Dispatch in Michigan City, Indiana is a few months old, but it's pretty relevant to Myers Park Trinity. Adam is a non-parent youth baseball coach explaining why he loves what he does each spring.

MPTLL is unique in that our Major League and Minor League divisions have so many coaches that continue to come back year after year, some for several decades, despite not having children children of their own on their teams. This aspect of our league truly sets us apart from most others.

Here is a link to the article.  I think there are many of us that can identify with what he has to say.