Sharing helpful information, special offers and fun ideas with the i9 Sports family
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!
October 31, 2019
Printable Thanksgiving "What I am Thankful For" Cards
Some families have the tradition of going around the dinner table and sharing what they are grateful for on Thanksgiving, while some families may enjoy sharing their thanks in other ways. Whether you want to read them out loud, use them as a place setting, put them in a jar to reread until next year, or use them to simply start conversations with your family members, we've created the perfect printable for Thanksgiving!

Download these "I am thankful for" cards at the link below and share them with the entire family.

Click here for printable cards!
October 04, 2019
The USOC, Nike and i9 Sports are Changing Youth Sports Starting With Coaches

When you place your child in a youth sports program, you trust that they will receive appropriate instruction from a skilled coach. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, of the 6.5 million youth coaches, fewer than 1 in 5 are trained in effective motivational techniques and only 1 in 3 say they have been trained in sport skills or tactics. While each i9 Sports coach is certified, background checked and has assistance from our staff, we continually strive to be the leader in changing these statistics!

With 26% of athletes quitting sports under the age of 12 due to poor coaching, something must change. Aspen Institute’s Project Play is focused on reimagining youth sports in America. The initiative has identified eight promising strategies that can be used to help every child become physically active through sports with “training all coaches” on the list. This plays directly into our efforts at i9 Sports. As Project Play Champions, we are committed to doing all we can to keep kids playing and making sure coaches are equipped with everything they need to coach confidently and effectively! 

So, what does properly training coaches consist of? One of the many ways we continue to improve our coaching process is through our coach training as well as the launch of our new national Coaches Certification. This new robust training includes a 30-minute interactive online "How to Coach Kids" course co-created by Nike and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and inspired by the Aspen Institute Project Play initiative. By early 2020 all our coaches will be required to become recertified every two years.

While the national coach certification is a powerful training that provides robust information to get coaches prepared for the season ahead, it’s still highly encouraged to attend a local coaches meeting.  In fact, we’ve launched a new recommended format for these face-to-face meetings where it’s more clinic-based, and coaches experience a practice simulation, so they have first-hand experience going into the season.  This helps get all the first day jitters out and makes coaches confident for taking the field or court on opening day.

We don’t stop our support when training and certification is completed. On game day, our coaches are supported by staff that are trained to identify when a coach needs assistance and how to provide it.  Staff are always on hand to help coaches with practice execution and instruction, gather feedback and provide encouragement. In addition to staff, i9 Sports provides weekly practice plans and sportsmanship value talking points to all coaches, so no coach has to design a practice from scratch. These plans provide age-appropriate developmental drills and games to help players learn the game.

Not only do good coaches make learning a sport FUN, which we believe sports should always be, but good coaches also lower kids’ anxiety levels and lift their self-esteem. Part of training and certifying our coaches includes teaching them about the i9 Sports culture, the importance of good sportsmanship, having fun and making sure that a wonderful experience is provided all season long!

Find out more about becoming a coach here: https://www.i9sports.com/becomeacoach/

September 18, 2019
Sports Lessons Lead to Life Success
Only .1% of kids who play sports go on to play professionally, but that doesn’t mean playing youth sports doesn’t lead to success in life. In fact, many people who achieve success as adults in business, politics and more learned valuable lessons through playing youth sports that helped shape them into who they are today.
In a recent study by Core Research, 57 percent of business leaders attributed their youth sports experiences to their success. The top lessons they learned from playing included teamwork, motivation and ambition, appreciation of physical health and self-discipline.
Former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt believes that playing sports taught him lessons that he carried with him through his career. “It was great to be a part of a team that had wanted to do something very dramatic and wanted to win. Not every play works, not every situation works, but you've got to figure it out, and there's always a next play. And I think all of those things just happen to stick with you for a lot of your life, and in my case for my whole life,” he said.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan believes learning lessons in sports helped him to be successful in business. “Lessons of leadership transfer – how to motivate people, how to get people to do more than a team can do apart.”
Some of America’s most well-known political figures gained valuable personal skills from playing sports.

Teddy Roosevelt believed that participation in sports, even if you aren’t the best on the field, was of importance. “It is of far more importance that a man should play something himself, even if he plays it badly.”
Learning life lessons through sports is especially helpful for young girls. A recent study of 400 female C-suite executives conducted by espnW found an overwhelming correlation between athletic and business success. 94% of women in the c-suite grew up playing sports.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman played four sports as a youth and said, “I liked team sports the best. Even when I’m pulling a business team together now, I still use those basketball lessons I learned as a young person.”
American film producer Kathleen Kennedy (producer of E.T., Jurassic Park, Back to the Future and current president of Lucasfilm) said playing sports helped her understand the meaning of being part of a team. “You need to be able to work with everybody; you don't have to be their best friend. You can experience the fun of competition and driving toward a common goal.”
At i9 Sports, our focus on sportsmanship values that include teamwork, determination, integrity, courage and more will help your child develop character and lead to a life of success off the field. We believe the lessons your child will learn in our programs will make a difference in their lives long after the final whistle has blown.

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