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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.

 
September 01, 2019
Today’s Busy Families are Desperate for Convenient Youth Sports Schedule
Coordinating schedules for a busy family is one of the most widespread challenges faced by today’s parents. Juggling who needs to be where and when becomes a never-ending game of Tetris for even the most organized moms and dads. For the most time-stressed families, enrolling their children in extra-curricular or after school activities can seem impossible. We understand this dilemma and it’s one of the primary reasons we developed our one day a week format. Not only are we are committed to providing age-appropriate instruction that is fun for kids, but we are devoted to making the youth sports experience easy for today's busy families. 
 
“They are organized and convenient for my family,” said Casey, an i9 Sports parent from Jacksonville, Florida. “My daughter can participate in something she is interested in while my son pursues his own interests. Even though they are different ages, we can still attend the games as a family at the same location.”
 
Cathryn from Suwanee, Georgia believes i9 Sports offers families a convenient approach to the youth sports experience which can consume a family’s life as well as cause frustration due to changing schedules and lack of communication. She recommends i9 Sports to other parents because of “the convenience of once per week practice and game combined. Also, the ease of taking care of everything online: registration, gear ordering, schedules, snack sign-ups. 
 
“It’s very easy for busy working families,” said Cathryn.
 
What if your child wanted to try multiple sports? Would scheduling still be so “convenient”? Not only do we make it convenient for your child to try one sport, but we make it possible for them to sample multiple sports, which is critical to development. We make the process of allowing your child to figure out what sports they love easier and avoid burn-out by having practices and games on the same day and offering multiple sports year-round.
 
Aileen from Miami, FL enjoys, “that the kids get exposure to multiple sports at one time and can switch over into something else without any pressure from their coach to come back to the same sport.” 
 
In the club team culture, you’ll not only feel pressure, as a parent, to travel for games and attend multiple practices a week, but you will also find your child will typically be in a high-pressure atmosphere focused on winning. We know that winning and losing with dignity is an important part of growing up, but we don’t let the score become more important than kids having fun on the field. 
 
“I love that there is healthy competition that does not put too much pressure on the children. The convenience of one day a week sports is liberating for our family. I love i9 Sports,” said Adeola from Frisco, Texas. 
 
Chinyere an i9 Sports parent from San Antonio, TX, agrees. “i9 Sports is instructive without being overly competitive or grueling; appropriate for young kids who just need physical activity and (above all) FUN! Having both practice and the game on the same day is very convenient for parents who don’t want their kids to miss out on activities because of their parents’ busy schedule. KUDOS!”
 
It’s also important to us that parents enjoy making memories with their child while their young athlete has fun learning and making friends. For that reason, we do not hold fundraisers, nor do we require parents to sell concessions on game day. 
 
Parents should have the right to expect that their child will get quality instruction and be given an equal opportunity to develop their skills to the best of their ability, but in a format that doesn’t require the child and family to put everything else in their lives second. Today’s busy families are desperate for a convenient youth sports schedule and we provide that all year long! 
August 12, 2019
Trying Multiple Sports is Critical to Child Development
Sports sampling means trying and playing multiple sports, and it isn’t just something that we like to talk about. It’s an integral part of our programming for boys and girls of all ages. We believe that kids develop better when they’re able to try multiple sports and various positions to discover what they like.
 
Aiden, an i9 Sports parent from Sugar Land, Texas says, “This is a great way to try multiple sports to see what the kids might want to pursue further in the future.”
 
We believe sports sampling offers young athletes the best way to develop physically and mentally for a sport they may focus on later in life. However, we also know that only 2% of all kids who play sports in high school will get any form of an athletic scholarship to play in college, and only .1% will go on to play professionally.1 We want to help kids find a sport or multiple sports they love, but we also want it to remain a fun game with friends!
 
Michael from Rochester, Michigan believes i9 Sports offers kids the best opportunity to explore new sports without performance pressure as well all the opportunity to play a sport just for fun.
 
“i9 Sports gives children a place to try a sport or multiple sports before they narrow down to the sport or sports they really want to focus on,” he said.
 
A child may be hesitant to try a sport for the first time for fear of failure or embarrassment. Removing the win-at-all-costs mentality gives children the freedom to learn a new sport. Building confidence will help them grow mentally and physically.
 
“It’s hard to find a league that kids can try out a new sport or switch around,” said Renee Esses.
 
Our programs are designed to be convenient for parents and families which makes it easier for kids to sample multiple sports. Our leagues only require one day a week with practices held before each week’s game.
 
“I feel i9 Sports allows kids to try multiple sports at a less rigorous pace/commitment. This enables them to decide which sport(s) they like without taking up an entire weekend or multiple days,” said Michele from Thornton, Colorado. “Kids need time to be kids, so sports need to be eased into at the younger ages or many become burnt out and do not want to play as they reach high school, which is very unfortunate.”
 
Studies show that kids who specialize in a sport at a young age are more likely to suffer from decreased motivation and an increased risk of burnout. 70% of children quit organized sports by the age of 13. Our programs are designed to do the exact opposite and parents love that their children can try multiple sports without an overloaded schedule!
 
“I love that the seasons have 7 games, allowing my kids to try multiple sports back to back,” said a parent in the Dallas area. “We love that the kids can experience a sport in a supportive environment.”
 
Single sport specialization is one of the biggest challenges in youth sports right now and is driving a staggering increase in physical and emotional burnout among kids. i9 Sports delivers a youth sports experience designed to fix this problem and offers a recreational experience for kids and families that fits their lifestyle and is fun!   


 1. NCAA Fact Sheet, March 2018: http://ncaa.org/sites/default/files/Recruiting%20Fact%20Sheet%20WEB.pdf
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