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Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Annie Donnell and Allison Moehrle (Ladue, Mo.); Rob McQuay (Hanover, Md.)


In suburban St. Louis, Ladue Horton Watkins High School sprinter Annie Donnell ran the 400-meter dash for the first time this spring, after having run the 100-meters in her first three years on the track team. "I wasn't really sure what to expect," the junior told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the longer race. "It's always different when you run in a meet than when you practice on your track."

Nothing unusual here, except that Annie has been blind since birth.

This month's heroes not only deserve respect for pursuing their passions in sports, despite their disabilities, but also set an example for students with disabilities who might have second thoughts about confronting barriers of their own, on and off the field.

The Plank And The World Cup: Recovering from A Sports-Related Back Injury (Part III)


The end of June and first part of July became an exceptionally busy time at our house, juggling the final stretch of Physical Therapy for our son while trying to watch every second of the soccer World Cup coverage! Lucky for us, the Physical Therapy gym is well equipped with TV monitors, all tuned in to sports! Physical therapy

A Texas football mom and her son juggle his final stretch of physical therapy after a stress fracture of his back with watching the Team USA in the FIFA World Cup.

ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex At Disney World: The Happiest Place On Earth?


After my recent trip to Orlando, I now have the answer to the question that millions of parents and children ask on a daily basis.

If the Happiest Place on Earth is defined by the Magic Kingdom at Disney World with the Iconic Castle and Princesses galore, then the answer for this MomsTEAM blogger is No.  For her, and thousands of youth athletes, the Happiest Place on Earth resides in another Magical Realm within the World of Mickey Mouse: the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World!

The Road to Varsity: Learning About 'Dead Ball' Officiating A Sign That Goal Is In Sight

I have just completed my annual summer mini-thon of two consecutive weekends of basketball officiating camp, one at UNC Charlotte, the other at Liberty University. 

A 10-year veteran of high school basketball officiating talks about focusing at summer officiating camp about the subtle "dead ball" aspects of her game, a sign that she is very close to reaching her goal of varsity status.

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Derek Herber (N. Attleboro, Mass.)


It was the ideal ending to a 17-year coaching career, the sort of final curtain call that coaches imagine as their tenure winds down. In the Massachusetts Division 2 boys track and field championships in New Bedford on June 1, North Attleboro High School earned one point in the 4 x 400 relay, the day's final event. Derek Herber had already announced that this would be his last season as coach, and now his team had won its second consecutive state championship, edging runner-up Central Catholic High School, 69-68. Track athlete in starting blocks of relay race

This month's Heroes blog highlights a track and field coach who, instead of capping off a 17-year career with a state championship, ended up retiring with a gesture of true sportsmanship worth its weight in gold.

Teaching Individual Game Skills

Individual skills are the foundation for the next level of coaching, which are Game Skills. Many players are utilizing skills coaches to help them throughout the year. Goalies are often working with a goalie coach, and there are many programs devoted to off-ice training and strength training and conditioning. In order to take advantage of higher skilled players, youth and high school coaches are faced with a challenging proposition about how to best teach their players how to use these individual skills to play the game effectively as a team.

Just as head coaches rely on assistant coaches and private skills trainers they should also reach out to professionals and experts to help them with the professional mental training and on ice effectiveness training systems.

NOCSAE Meeting: Lots Of Questions, But No Answers

Last Friday, I attended the summer meeting of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) at the Boston Harbor Hotel. It was hard to be inside on such a spectacular summer day, but made easier by the location of the meeting: in the Atlantic Room, directly above Rowe's Wharf, with a view of a sparkling Boston harbor filled with sailboats and power boats. Boston harbor skyline with Rowes Warf

The summer meeting of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) was held in a room overlooking Boston harbor, but the view was about the only thing that made it worth attending, says Brooke de Lench.

Back in Action, If Not In The Game: A Halftime Report On A Teenager's Recovery From A Stress Fracture Of His Spine

First, a thank you

In my last blog I wrote about my son's back injury and the start of physical therapy, but before I report on his progress, I want to extend a special thank you to everyone who contacted me after reading my blog post. My intuition told me that the fractured spine he suffered is an injury that has affected many other youth athletes and families. I was completely overwhelmed by the number of people who called, emailed, IM'd, commented on the blog site, or ran me down (figuratively, at least) in the grocery store to ask about my son. Thank you all so much.

After suffering a stress fracture of his lumbar spine, a 13-year-old Texas football player begins rehabbing his injury with rigorous physical therapy. His mom provides a halftime report from the sideline.

Should Kids Play Multiple Sports or Focus On One Year-Round?

Parents often have a hard time understanding the extent and breadth of youth sports that their kids are involved with. As the child progresses the parents get advice from other parents, coaches and sport organizations. At some point most parents’ start questioning the information and seek answers elsewhere.

One of the most common questions is: Should my child play one sport year-round?

This seems like a simple question but the answers are often times conflicting so it depends on who is asked. Sometimes it is hard to get an informed answer from someone who makes a living on training and coaching kids in sports.

The question of whether multiple sports or a single sport is the right path for a youth athlete is a tough one to answer, but parents shouldn't expect an honest answer from someone who makes a living on training and coaching kids in sports.
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