Imagine how it would feel to be missing your front teeth. You would hate to smile, conversations would feel uncomfortable, pronouncing words would be difficult and so would eating certain foods. People often don’t realize how much they would miss their teeth until they actually lose one.
Every week, thousands of young athletes experience injuries whether they are on the playing field, on the basketball court, while biking or skating or doing some other sort of activity. Injuries to the face in just about every sport can harm your teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue. A properly fitted mouthguard quickly becomes an important piece of athletic gear when dealing with injuries to the face. According to the American Dental Association, “An athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard and mouthguards can help buffer an impact or blow that otherwise could cause broken teeth, jaw injuries or cuts to the lip, tongue or face.” Mouthguards are extremely popular in contact sports such as football, ice hockey, lacrosse, boxing and field hockey, but their popularity is also trending upwards for other sports as well. Mouthguards help protect teeth even in noncontact sports and many experts now recommend that a mouthguard be worn for any recreational activity that poses a risk of injury to the mouth.
When choosing a mouthguard that is right for you, there are three types to choose from:
- The ready-made, or stock mouthguard
- The mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” mouthguard
- The custom-made mouthguard by a dentist
All properly fitted mouthguards provide varying degrees of protection. The most effective mouthguard should be resilient, tear-resistant and comfortable. It should also fit properly, be durable and not restrict your speech or breathing.
Here at MoGo Sport we pride ourselves in the protection, performance and fit that our mouthguards consist of. The added value that we provide mouthguard users is the fact that ours are flavored! Before MoGo Sport came along with our Flavored Mouthguards, the overall mouthguard wearing experience was not a pleasant one. Now athletes actually want to wear their mouthguard because of the great taste. We have revolutionized the mouthguard industry and provide athletes with something no other mouthguard company currently offers, FLAVOR! The best part about it is that the flavor is not coated or sprayed on; it is embedded into the plastic and will last game, after game, after game. Currently we have four flavors to choose from: Fruit Punch, Orange, Lemon & Mint.
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Parents often strive to promote a balance of sports and schooling in their child’s life. Finding the right balance can often prove to be a difficult one to attain. Today schools work hard to provide children with a well-rounded educational experience that also includes a solid athletic program full of extracurricular activities. Some parents can become too involved in the various aspects of their young athlete’s success and they can be overly concerned with outcomes and performance. The majority of children that participate in sports start doing so because it’s a fun way to “play” with friends and other kids their age. As children begin to mature and grow older, they enter athletic programs where parents have less and less control. There are three main themes that parents should consider in order to allow for their child to have a successful interscholastic sports experience:
- Make Sports Fun: Research shows that the biggest reason students participate in sports is to have fun. Schools provide well-designed programs for student-athletes that are meant to challenge the kids. Working hard and making commitments becomes rewarding when the children are out there having fun. When parents start screaming at their child, other players, the officials or the coaches a stressful environment is created for everyone. Parents need to relax and enjoy the game knowing that the coach and the school is doing everything in their power to provide and promote the best experience for their child. Parents will often focus on only their child, but they need to also realize that decisions and actions of the coach are made to best serve the entire team. Parents need to motivate their children and give them positive reinforcement. Constantly criticizing them will only result in having a negative impact.
- Support your Child, the Team, the Coach, and the entire Program in a Positive Way: It is not only the players and coaches that can contribute to the success of the team, but also the parents. Supporting everyone involved in a positive way, not just for your own child, will unify the team and build everyone’s confidence. There is nothing worse for a child than feeling that they have failed their parents. They need to know that their parents have pride in them and love them whether they win or lose. Parents need to support their children and always be there for them, regardless of their performance.
- Keep it in Perspective: Coaches and athletes spend a lot of time together each day practicing and working hard to prepare for the upcoming competition. Whether your child is one of the starters or is one of the players that work hard against the starters in practice, they are all contributing to the success of that team. Parents who become dissatisfied with the coach or the program are often expressing their own personal desires and not that of their child. Parents who have legitimate concerns should certainly feel free to communicate with their child’s coach, but should also consider some simple communication ground rules when they do so
Tips for Effective Communication with your Child and their Coach
- Always be positive and in control of your emotions.
- Before or after a game or during a practice or game is not a good time to approach a coach or an athlete.
- Focus on your child’s best interests and not your own.
When considering talking to your child’s coach, use the communication triangle pictured here first. Channel all questions or comments about the program such as playing time, formations, plays or strategies through your own child. A good coach who is communicating to their team will pass along information to their athletes that will often answer parental questions. It may not always be the answer a parent wants to hear but it will be a great way to help their child learn to communicate. If the athlete does not know the answer or says “I don’t know” then the parent should ask the athlete to obtain the answer from the coach. Speaking to the coach directly will complete the triangle between the parent and coach, but should only be done in matters of health and safety.
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Young kids tend to always get distracted when playing youth sports. It is important for them to establish and maintain a level of focus that will undoubtedly lead them to success. When young sports kids achieve a certain level of focus, they will find themselves concentrating on everything they need to focus on during gameplay. When youth athletes focus on what they are supposed to during the game, they will become a more efficient and effective athlete. When the focus is directed towards all the right things, they will maximize their confidence and play/perform at their absolute best.
Unfortunately for young athletes, maintaining a high level of focus in sports is not always easy to achieve. Many kids get distracted easily and others are not clear on exactly what they should be focusing on. There are a few common obstacles that youths must overcome when it comes to concentration and focus:
- Focusing too much on the score and/or statistics
- Thinking back to bad performances
- Centering on mistakes
- Becoming distracted by negative comments from teammates and/or parents yelling
- The fear of failure
- Losing focus at critical moments during the game; (feel pressured and become nervous or worried)
- Paying too much attention to the reactions of people watching the game (people, fans, friends, etc.)
- Allowing distractions to overtake mind and can’t back on track mentally
- Mind wanders to other subjects (school, friends, other hobbies, etc.)
Many kids fall into these traps, along with countless others. It is important for young athletes to be made aware of these “traps” and develop strategies to avoid them. It is inevitable that youths will become distracted at times. The difference-maker is how they react when their attention becomes diverted. Do they remain distracted or do they refocus their attention on the game? Clearly explain to your young athlete exactly what these distractions are and how they negatively affect performance. Motivate them to constantly focus on what they need to do each play, each pitch, each shift, etc. Before you know it your young athlete will improve on performance and significantly enhance their gaming experience.
Confidence is the key to success in just about anything a person can do, but this especially plays true in relation to sports. Being confident leaves a person with very little doubt that they won’t be successful. Doubt undermines an athlete’s optimism and takes away from their performance. Athletes need to focus on being confident and visualizing success. Too often athletes concern themselves with worrying about the potentially negative outcomes which are then reflected in their performance.
It is important for young athletes to continually think about all of the positives that come with playing a sport. You need to remind yourself about the good plays and the good performances, not the mistakes, errors and other shortcomings. Sometimes when a young athlete strikes out during their first at-bat of the game, they carry that same at-bat with them for the remainder of the game. This will then affect their play in the field and their other at-bats later on in the game. Athletes need to learn to become confident and look at the “brighter” side of things. Look at each situation with a positive mindset and take advantage of every opportunity. If you strike out your first at-bat, think about how lucky you are to have a couple additional at-bats to get a hit the next time. If you lose a game, move on to thinking about how you are going to win the next one. Don’t dwell on the past because it will only lead to more negative outcomes.
In order to eliminate doubt, athletes must become aware of the thoughts that take away from confidence. Doubters often visualize what the negative outcomes would be like as opposed to what the positive results could be. Don’t think about what it would be like to miss the game-winning shot, but imagine what it would be like to make the game-winner. As a parent or coach you must help the youth athlete define exactly what their doubts are and then replace those doubts with positive and encouraging thoughts that will help maintain their confidence. Confident youth athletes will become much more successful and enhance their overall experience as a result.
It is critical for parents and coaches to help motivate children who are playing youth sports to stay positive and have fun. Too often young athletes get frustrated after they don’t meet their high expectations and then they proceed to give up.
Young kids feel like they need to get a hit every time they’re at-bat or make every basket they shoot. The truth of the matter is that these goals and expectations are impossible to achieve. It’s great for these young athletes to be ambitious and goal-oriented, but it is essential to their success that they set reachable goals.
When young athletes get frustrated it is often related to their expectations. They want to be perfect in their play when realistically all they are doing is setting themselves up for failure and disappointment. It is inevitable that children are going to drop passes or miss goals or make errors. It’s important for parents and coaches to understand that children’s unattainable goals can be detrimental to their experience.
When kids are constantly thinking about their high and often unrealistic expectations it takes away from their performance. They focus on achieving their goals more than playing the game and having fun. As soon as the child makes a mistake or two and the goals become out of reach, they get frustrated and sometimes tend to give up. Once they lose their confidence and their attitude weakens, performance drops along with their enthusiasm.
As sports parents and coaches, you need to help children establish realistic goals that can actually be achieved. Helping them improve on little things will add up to bigger achievements in the long run. Having high expectations that are rarely accomplished take away from a child’s confidence and overall experience with a game they are supposed to be having fun with. Help keep kids motivated by helping them set goals that they can reach. The sense of accomplishment that comes with successfully obtaining a goal will help build a child’s confidence and improve on their performance, ultimately resulting in them having an enjoyable experience.
There are millions of kids involved with youth sports across the United States, whether it’s on a baseball diamond or a basketball court, an ice rink or football field. Not only are these children getting a chance to run around with friends and experience some great exercise, they are also learning some valuable life lessons. Sports are a great place for kids to learn how to deal with adversity and learn how to master skills on their own. The National Council of Youth Sports estimates that about 41 million boys and girls play organized sports and that number has been growing steadily.
It’s important for these children to take their own initiative when it comes to youth sports. Parents often become too involved with their child’s performance and they take away from the experience. It’s good for kids to learn how to bounce back if they strike out or miss a shot and to talk to their coach if they don’t think they’re getting enough playing time. When parents get too consumed with what is going on with their child’s youth sports career, the child will notice and it often puts a tremendous amount of pressure on them. It’s great for parents to support their children, but they need to find the right balance of involvement in order for the child to get the most out of their experience. If parents really do want their children to enjoy amateur sports they need to have their child go out and learn life lessons from actual experiences.
Children get an immediate sense of belonging to something when they join a youth sports team; they get the uniform, the trophy, the team name, the nicknames, the photos and the interaction with each other at school. Recreational leagues that let everybody play, regardless of their ability, make kids feel worthwhile and give them a sense of self-respect and dignity. It also gives them some control and a chance to make their own decisions in a world run by parents and teachers. These children are going to be learning to use the tools that apply to each sport along with the rules that come with them. The more they learn, the more they are in control. With playing youth sports also comes an education on sportsmanship and how to control your emotions.
It’s very important for parents to see their children as good athletes regardless of their performance. Building their confidence will not only make them perform at a higher level, but it will also encourage them to have more fun. Tying a child’s self-esteem to their performance can be devastating. Children should be complimented regardless of their performance, as long as they try their best. Parents need to find a balance between supporting and motivating their kids.
If you find yourself as a mom or dad pushing your kid to do things (i.e. try out for a travel team or to go to practice seven days a week) and the kid doesn’t have the enthusiasm to do it, ultimately the kid is going to walk away from the sport, probably a lot sooner than you anticipate. And when kids walk away they don’t come back.
It’s also important as a parent to remain calm if your child makes a mistake. One of the biggest things that sports teach a kid is that it’s OK to make a mistake. In the game of baseball a successful hitter has a batting average right around .300, meaning that they only get a hit three out of ten times. When you make a mistake it’s ok. You can learn from it and move on. If parents overact, kids are more likely to get emotional and beat themselves up over a mistake instead of making adjustments to fix the problem.
Parents need to make an effort to praise their children for the good things they do in a game instead of focusing on what they need to improve on. They need to remember that youth sports are all about the kids having fun and learning things on their own. Complimenting your child will build their confidence and make them proud of what they are doing. The truth is inevitable that only a small percentage of the population is capable of continuing their youth sports career through high school and college and into the professional level. However, the life lessons that these youth sports teach will always be there. It’s up to the parents and how they handle themselves when it comes to maximizing their child’s youth sports experience.
One of the biggest challenges for sports kids today is our society’s view of achievement. We live in a world that rewards perfectionism in school, sports and work. Many parents and coaches become frustrated with their kids’ untapped physical talent. They constantly worry about their kids not living up to their full potential. Children are often too hard on themselves, demanding perfect performances and causing them to break-down when they make mistakes.
Perfectionists are very hard-working athletes and highly motivated, but too often for the wrong reasons. The top 8 signs of a perfectionist athlete are:
- Afraid of making mistakes
- Fearful of letting others down if they make mistakes
- Want to succeed so badly that it makes them anxious and afraid of failing
- Worry too much about what other people think about them
- Try too hard to ensure their performance is “perfect”
- Perform better in practice than game situations
- Have unrealistic or very strict expectations about their performance
- View performance as either good or bad, with no middle ground
There are two sides to the mentality of a perfectionist. The good thing about them is that they like to work hard and strive to make their performance perfect. Perfectionists often have a strong work ethic, are committed to reaching their goals, work hard in practice and strive to learn more and improve their game. Coaches can count on them to show up and give their all, but their expectations are often too high. This same work ethic often restricts perfectionist athletes and holds them back in competition because they want to succeed so badly. When they don’t meet their high expectations and make mistakes they get frustrated and fail to fully utilize their talents. Perfectionist athletes are often driven too much by the fear of failing and they worry too much about results (i.e. the score, the points they’ve scored, their statistics or the wins they have achieved. When they worry or try to avoid making mistakes they can’t play with the freedom and creativity it takes to learn, feel confident and excel in their performance.
As parents and coaches, you should identify the high expectations that are hurting your kid’s confidence and performance. Encourage them to replace their often unattainable goals with small and simple things to strive for. Remind your perfectionist athletes that sports are all about having fun and not producing the best numbers. Today, kids feel like they need to be the top scorers, they should make all their shots, and everything they do should be perfect.
When considering the previously mentioned, perhaps Michael Jordan said it best:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Team sports have become increasingly expensive over the years. Not only are parents expected to supply their children with sports equipment, but today’s sports parent also must provide for uniforms, team fees and travel costs. It has been estimated that on average, many families spend at least $2,000 a year on sports-related expenses for their children! The following tips can help you save money on your children’s’ athletic careers:
- Buy used equipment: You can find a great deal of barely used gear at resale stores such as Play it Again Sports, in online ads such as eBay and Craigslist, in newspaper ads and at yard sales. You can save as much as 40% by purchasing sports equipment through such places.
- Know when not to buy used equipment: You must be very cautious when buying used safety equipment like helmets and face masks. Other gear like shoes and baseball gloves are also risky because they are most likely molded to the last owner’s body.
- Sell your own used stuff: If your child outgrows some of their old gear, you can always resell them at such places like mentioned from tip 1.
- Get on the right mailing lists: If your child plans on playing sports for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to get on catalog and e-mail lists for your favorite stores. Take advantage of coupons and other deals to reduce costs as much as possible.
- Keep your options open: Buy equipment that can serve multiple purposes whenever it’s possible. For example, a utility baseball glove can cover numerous positions as opposed to buying specific gloves for each position.
- Save on team travel costs: You can find discounts on flights and hotel accommodations through sites like orbitz.com and priceline.com. Try to reduce food costs on the road by staying at hotels that offer free continental breakfast or provide refrigerators where you can store easy-to-eat items.
- Have your kid contribute: Your child can help cover costs and other fees by taking responsibility and helping to fulfill chores around the house in return.
- Conduct an honest assessment: Determine how motivated and interested your child is with the sports they play. If they genuinely like the sport, are talented and potentially have an opportunity for a scholarship down the road then it could be worth it to pay for higher fees for higher levels of competition. However, if there is minimal interest or motivation, you might be better off signing up your child for more of a recreation level type of league.
- Know when to say when: Sometimes you might need to consider limited the number of sports your child participates in. Seasons can overlap and sport involvement can become overwhelming.
- Seek out charities: Searching the internet can help you find charities that exist for specific youth sports. You can either donate used gear to such charities or approach them for some assistance if you really need it.
Providing for your children to play youth sports isn’t always cheap, but for the majority of the time the benefits far outweigh the expenses. Being involved in organized sports teaches youths a wide variety of values that they can carry with them throughout the rest of their lives. Interacting with peers and learning about the responsibilities that come with being a member of a team help children mature and experience valuable life lessons. The continual physical exercise will also help to benefit your child and the involvement in extra-curricular activity will help them avoid any bad influences and also prevent them from watching too much television or playing too many videogames. When investing your hard earned money on your child’s youth sports career just remember who you’re doing it for and know that there are several ways to reduce some of the costs.
Everyone hears about some crazy brawl that breaks out among parents at their children’s sporting event. Some people face demeanor charges, others suffer injuries, all experience embarrassing moments that should have never happened in the first place. Just a few months ago parents of 9 and 10-year-old hockey players got into an altercation that resulted in 8 people facing misdemeanor charges and a father suffering a dislocated shoulder after being pushed off the bleachers. At a Pittsburgh high school basketball game in February, a referee was treated for a concussion after a parent body-slammed him for ordering the man’s wife out of the gym for allegedly yelling obscenities.
Some adults get too caught up in their past athletic endeavors and try to relive them through their children. Others become over concerned with the hopes that their young athletes can gain scholarships. They push their children to become elite athletes through specialized training, summer camps, and personal coaches, even if their child does not want them.
Today there are nearly 30 million boys and girls under the age of 18 that play some kind of organized sport. For many of these kids, it’s a good way to make new friends and play a game that they enjoy.
Children as young as 3 can sign up for swimming and gymnastics programs. Soccer often starts at 4 and baseball at 5. From there it has become increasingly common for parents to rush their kids into highly competitive situations, sometimes against the will of their own children.
This highly competitive atmosphere can often result in overly involved parents that are ready to explode at any coach, referee or other parent who interferes with their own children’s performances.
There’s a certain danger to a child’s self-esteem when parents send the message to their kids that what they’re doing isn’t valuable unless they can turn it into something material like a scholarship. More parents view their kids as an economic investment that has to be translated into something later on.
A 2001 study revealed that 70% of American kids who sign up for sports quit by the time they were 13. The main reason? They said it wasn’t fun anymore.
The thing that many parents don’t realize is that it’s much easier to get an academic scholarship as opposed to an athletic one (there is about 70 times more money available for academic scholarships).
- Reward your child whether the team wins or loses
- If you have a complaint or concern, wait until after the game to address it
- Applaud when either team makes a good play
- Praise effort
- Respect the referee’s calls
- Don’t get too caught up in scores or statistics
- Ask your child if they had fun before asking if they won
It can be very stressful to see your own child play, but parents need to consider what sports are like from a kid’s perspective. Playing sports as a child are all about having fun and making new friends. It’s a great form of exercise and something that can teach children values that can be applied to everyday life. Encourage your child to have fun and be a good teammate, the rest will follow if it were meant to be.