The i9 Sports® Approach to Safety in Youth Sports

At i9 Sports®, we set the standard for “the way youth sports should be®” by creating a fun experience where kids learn how to play sports the right way, the safe way. Through teaching skills that are age appropriate, ensuring healthy levels of competition, and managing culture on the field and sidelines, we have ignited passion for sports among youth since we started our first kids league in 2002.

As a parent, you want to be sure that any program you put your child in will prioritize their safety, especially in the midst of a pandemic. That’s why when COVID-19 hit the United States, i9 Sports® introduced our “We’re Playing It Safe Protocol”. This protocol ensures that when your child gets back into sports, the fun will not come at the expense of their safety. Therefore, if you are a returning family to i9 Sports® programs, you will notice a few new safety procedures taking place during practice and game days.

Some of these safety activities include disinfection of all equipment before, during, and after use. Limitation of spectators and social distancing on game day is advised. Celebrations are a bit different with the absence of high fives and parent tunnels, however, we still make things fun with a clapping line in temporary replacement of those traditions. Venues do not currently have concessions and teams are not sharing snacks or drinks, but of course, players and spectators can still consume what they bring individually.

We also realize that children have different attention spans based on their age, therefore our practice and play times vary between pee wee, junior, and senior groups. Kids in the pee wee age range have the shortest attention spans, so their practices are limited to 30 minutes. This allows our pee wee players optimal focus during a practice that will not exhaust them to the point that they can’t participate in their other daily activities. Whereas, with the increased attention span that the junior age group allows, practice times are increased to allow more in-depth instruction. 

The senior age group has the most advanced cognitive skills that enable them to further develop concentration and perseverance within their sports programs. At this level, there is full integration of more complex team play, but also a focus on mastering individual skills so that each player is able to make the most of their own abilities. At i9 Sports®, players can expect their coaches to teach them the correct way to make plays and perform in order to avoid getting hurt. 

A critical part of putting your child into an i9 Sports® program is the developmental benefits, therefore we do not require kids to do anything that might physically harm them or hold them back. We always encourage and uphold a “better safe than sorry” mentality through our Concussion Safety Policy. This is a standard protocol required for all i9 Sports® programs, which the kids know as, “When in doubt, sit out”. This means that we only offer flag football programs in which there is no tackling allowed. Similarly, for the same reasons, in our soccer programs there is no heading allowed. Each and every program teaches kids that in order to play, they must keep themselves safe with the proper equipment, as well as participate in stretching and warm ups.

We equip each and every coach with the tools they need to provide a fun and safe experience for kids so that they continue to play sports for years to come. The safety of the children always comes first, that’s why every coach is required to take an “i9 Sports® Coaches Pledge” which ensures that the fun, athletic development, and physical safety of the players is put ahead of the coach’s win/loss record. 

All in all, the i9 Sports® brand was built for the lifelong prosperity of your child, and that means abiding by our comprehensive safe practices. Only by ensuring our values are we able to create a safe space for your kids and succeed at our mission. Watching them grow into amazing athletes is just an added bonus.