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Sharing helpful information, special offers and fun ideas with the i9 Sports family
January 12, 2017
Learning through sports can come from beyond the field of play. A number of great sports books are out there that teach key values for your kids. For kids who don’t like reading, books by a famous athlete or about a sport they love can help inspire them to keep turning the pages. 
Below are a few sports-related books that cover all reading levels and offer positive stories for your child. 
The Contract by Derek Jeter
Written for a reading level of grades 3 to 7, The Contract by Derek Jeter talks about his love for the game of baseball and his realization of the importance of giving 100% on and off the field.  In order to let Derek continue playing baseball, his parents write a contract to make sure he puts in just as much hard work in the classroom as he does on the baseball field.
Throw Like a Girl by Jennie Finch
Jennie Finch, a professional softball player and two-time Olympian, writes her first book that reaches out to young girls.  Throw Like a Girl, targeted to ages 10 and older, teaches girls how to dream big and believe in themselves.  
It’s a great sports-related coming-of-age book that offers valuable advice for young girls.  Finch tells her story of growing up as a girl playing sports and how she built self-confidence that helped her throughout challenges she faced.
The Boy Who Never Gave Up by Anthony Curcio
Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry’s inspirational story is told in a 24-page picture book written for kids in grades K-5. Curry’s experience as a young boy who is constantly told he is too short and too small to play basketball who pushes to fulfill his dream to be a professional basketball player will inspire your child. The Boy Who Never Gave Up is a great human triumph story that teaches the valuable lessons of hard work and determination.  Children will also like the easy read and fun illustrations.
Winners Never Quit by Mia Hamm
Women’s soccer star Mia Hamm shares her life story of growing up and learning that winning and losing aren’t everything.  In the story Winners Never Quit, Hamm quits when things aren’t going her way, but quickly realizes that winning isn’t what matters most and that she just wants to play and be a part of a team with her friends. This 32-page picture book targeted to boys and girls in preschool to 2nd grade teaches important values of overcoming frustration and teamwork.
All four books offer a different perspective from some of the nation’s most famous athletes.  These inspiring stories will offer your kids relatable experiences to their own lives. Do your kids have any other favorite sports books? Share them with us on social media
December 29, 2016
The fast-paced environment of sports and the excitement that surrounds each game can make it challenging for parents to sit back and refrain from coaching their children from the sidelines.  We’ve all seen the parents who want to tell their child how to play the game, but this can be confusing for kids sometimes. A positive attitude from parents on the sideline creates a positive environment for children and gives them a fun experience. Here are three reasons to keep cheering separate from coaching when supporting your kids on the field.
#1 It Causes Confusion
When parents offer coaching advice from the sidelines, it may be the opposite of what the coach wants from the player. These mixed messages can confuse and frustrate kids. Who should they listen to and when should they listen to you or to their coach? This can be challenging for a young child playing their first sport.
#2 Instructions Can Be Wrong
Coaches in i9 Sports leagues are provided with coaching and practice plans to ensure proper instruction for each child in every sport. Our coaches volunteer their time to teach the skills of the game as well as good sportsmanship and teamwork. Parents attempting to coach from the sidelines may send incorrect instructions and hinder their child’s development.
#3 It’s Not Fun for the Kids
Sideline instruction from parents often comes with good intentions, but it can create an unpleasant environment for young athletes. Kids grow tired and frustrated trying to satisfy their coaches and their parents at the same time, especially if the messages from each person are different. Our goal in every sport we offer is to make sure the kids are having fun and learning so they continue to live healthy active lifestyles and use the skills they acquire to help them later in life.  
It can be difficult to find the perfect medium between being a cheerleader for your child and being a sideline coach, but it can make all the difference in their experience with a youth sports program.  By being more of a cheerleader, your child will won’t be confused on which instructions to follow, will learn the right way to play the sport and (most importantly) will have more fun.
To help promote a great i9 Sports atmosphere for everyone, we ask parents to take the i9 Sports Parental Pledge.  We ask adults to take this pledge before their child plays in an i9 Sports league to promote a positive atmosphere and make sure the children have the best experience possible. 
December 08, 2016
There are all sorts of activities offered for children today - art programs, music lessons, dance classes, science camps and more. With so many options to choose from, fitting youth sports into your kid’s schedule can be tough.
In addition, if you didn’t play sports yourself growing up (and maybe even if you did), it’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t about the world of youth sports. We’re here to help dispel some of the common myths we hear from parents about signing up their children for a youth sports league.

Children Should Specialize in One Sport
Forcing your child to choose one sport at an early age can result in physical and mental burn out. Kids need the break between seasons to pursue other sports or activities to find what is truly enjoyable for them. Early specialization can often lead to a greater chance of long-term injury later in life.
Many parents will put their children in one sport to focus in hopes that it can lead to other future opportunities like a college scholarship.  This can put a lot of pressure on kids and can lead them to view playing sports as a chore.
Our leagues offer your child the perfect opportunity to find the right sport for them. Many of our programs offer our core sports in every season. Kids with multi-sport backgrounds often have better overall athletic ability and decreased injury rates.
Sports are Too Dangerous for Kids
Can a child get hurt playing a youth sport? Of course it’s possible, but we take precautions at i9 Sports to focus on player safety. To participate in i9 Sports leagues, children are required to wear all proper equipment.  Items such as mouth guards in flag football, shin guards in soccer and helmets in baseball are always required. 
i9 Sports is a national leader in raising awareness about safety in youth sports, particularly concussion safety. Our coaches and referees are trained to teach players the proper and safe way to play each sport to reduce the risk of player injuries. Our flag football leagues offer kids an alternative to tackle football and we our soccer leagues do not allow heading to help reduce the risk of concussions among players. We also provide concussion safety information to parents as part of our registration process.
Winning is All That Matters
At i9 Sports, we focus on healthy competition instead of a win-at-all-costs mentality. Youth sports are meant to be fun, no matter the score at the end of the game. Each coach in our leagues is trained to help players develop athletic skills, learn the values of good sportsmanship and boost their self-esteem. 
We believe the primary reason kids play sports is to have fun. Each child in our leagues gets equal playing time regardless of talent level and there are never any tryouts or player drafts. Kids will value the benefits of mastering a new skill or developing new friendships more than their team’s place in the standings.
Youth Sports Consume Your Life
Some youth sports leagues ask a lot of players and parents, but we believe participation should be convenient for a family’s busy schedule. Registration for our leagues can be completed quickly and easily online. Practices are held once a week on game day at the same location as that day’s game. And unlike other leagues, you’ll never have to participate in a mandatory fundraiser or sign up for concession duties.
Get your child started in youth sports and find a program near you!

November 10, 2016
It’s natural as a parent to want your son or daughter to excel on the field or court. However, sometimes the urge to push your child in sports can go too far and create an unpleasant experience for everyone involved.
A survey of youth athletes found that 50% of children will quit organized sports by the age of 12 because of too much pressure and competition. Over 30% of the children surveyed wished parents weren’t watching their games because they yell too much and the kids feel pressured to play better. 
It’s important to remember that the boys and girls are out there to have fun and to learn. Parents should focus on helping them have the best experience possible. Here are a few tips on how you can be a supportive parent from the sidelines:
Give Encouragement
As one of the biggest influences on your child, maintaining a positive attitude and outlook from the sidelines is extremely important. Whether your child scores or makes a mistake, keep up the encouragement. In this developmental stage of your child’s athletic career, effort and good sportsmanship matter more than the outcome. Be a role model and give encouragement to your child’s teammates and show it’s important to cheer for everyone.
Build Self-Esteem
Participating in youth sports helps children build self-esteem, but it can be even more enhanced with your involvement. Take time between games to talk with your child and tell them what they are doing well and how they can improve. Help them set goals for the season and build up their confidence.
Reinforce Good Sportsmanship
i9 Sports coaches teach sportsmanship values to the athletes on a weekly basis. As a parent, you can reinforce those lessons and set a positive example for your child. Make an effort to be friendly to other parents, cheer on everyone’s kids and thank the referees. The more you demonstrate good sportsmanship, the more likely your child and others will pick up the same attitude.
Being a supportive parent on the sidelines creates a better experience for your child as well as referees, coaches and other parents and children. Good sportsmanship is  core value of i9 Sports, which is why we ask parents to take the Parental Pledge each season. This pledge encourages parents to refrain from negative language, encourage all the players and coaches and be a model of good sportsmanship. When parents take this pledge, it helps everyone have a better experience on the field.