Leagues Seek to Make Participation Less Stressful for Families

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Copyright 2013 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)
September 15, 2013 Sunday
LIVING; Pg. E1
311 words
Leagues make playing easier for the family

Sure you want your kid to play a sport, but getting stuck in traffic and eating dinner at bedtime isn't your idea of prime family time. So, you want another way.

Roger Linn of the local i9 Sports franchise, says parents are responding to i9 Sports teams that require fewer hours for practice and play.

i9 Sports commissioned a study that polled 400 mothers nationwide and found 68 percent were stressed over their children's participation in organized sports, reporting trouble at home and at work. Almost 80 percent of those moms wanted an alternative to the win-at-all-costs culture inherent in many youth sports leagues.

In less than two years since i9 Sports started in Albuquerque, parents have signed up almost 1,000 children, ages 3 to 14, to play soccer, flag football, T-ball, basketball and cheerleading, he says.

"i9 Sports is making things more convenient for the family," Linn says.

Games and practice are confined to the same day. i9 Sports, like several other area clubs, are committed to not pushing children to higher levels of play and stress too soon; instead, they focus more on recreation and fun.

La Cueva High School tennis coach Dick Johnson says successful athletes have many interests beyond their favorite sport.

"It's important to have a balance of other activities, whether it's another sport or a language or chess club."

Parental anxiety spreads to kids, he adds.

"It helps if they back off and let their kids have a little breathing room. Let the young person have some choice," Johnson says.

Jason Hix, a local certified public accountant, says he finds coaching youth sports to be an antidote for stress for him and his family, but he knows a disconnect occurs when a parent wants a child to play, whether the child has a talent and an interest in the sport or not.

"Sometimes parents push a kid to be competitive, who just isn't competitive."

September 16, 2013

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