How To Build the Perfect Team

At the 2004 Olympic games, the USA basketball “Dream Team” was poised for what most thought would be dominant rise to the gold.  The team’s roster included past and present greats.  But that was not enough this team that included LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, and others barely made it to come home with a bronze.

What did we learn from this – obviously, gathering the best of the best, is not enough.  Google did a comprehensive research study and amassed volumes of data on what is needed to build the best team.  Professionals from math and science analyzed the data and came up with 5 key ingredients needed to build a great team:

  1. Dependability
  2. Structure and Clarity
  3. Meaning
  4. Impact
  5. Psychological Safety

The study shows that talent is not everything, developing an inner rhythm of behavioral excellence and creating a unifying culture with these 5 key ingredients can create a strong team.

Read more from Changing the Game Project:  Google it! What Youth Sports Can Learn from the Tech Giant About Building Great Teams


Responsibility and Athleticism Can Go Hand in Hand

Most athletic teams have fundraisers to offset the sports cost for individual players and families.  Most sporting parents know what this is all about – parents end up paying for whatever the fundraising product/service is, and then the parents go around and harangue family and co-workers to help out their child.  This scenario is a common occurrence as it eliminates the burden of reminding your child over and over again of the deadline and their responsibility.

Team SNAP shares a parent’s decision to incorporate responsibility in their child, and hand ownership for fundraising for the team to their child.  Though difficult in the beginning, every one wins in the end.  Parents give your child the chance to truly revel in their accomplishments on and off the field.

Worth the read from team SNAP:  Don’t Buy the Almonds: Teaching Young Athletes Responsibility


One Way to Learn to Be the Best

To be a great team mate, the question that every athlete should ask is not what I want out of the team but how I can best serve the team.  “Dr. Jerry Lynch is the founder of Way of Champions, winner of 34 NCAA titles and one NBA World Championship, and a sport psychologist and consultant. He calls this paradigm-shifting question the most effective question an athlete can ask, and an attitude that every coach must try and instill in his or her team.”

Giving not taking provides you the opportunity for sustained success not just during the game but in all aspects of your life.  Parents and coaches nurture your children to have “the selfless attitude that leads to excellence, celebrates the success of others, and makes your player the type of athlete that EVERY COACH wants on his or her team.”

Read more from Changing the Game Project:  The One Quality Great Teammates Have in Common


Is Head Gear for Girls’ Lacrosse More or Less Protection?

The debate over head gear for girl’s lacrosse has been going on for a long time.  Recently, 2 companies have started to sell head gear specifically designed for girls that adhere to sports industry standards.  The use is currently optional except in Florida where it will be mandated for 2018.  If your daughter plays lacrosse then you’ve heard all about some of the pros and cons:

  • the fear that wearing head gear will foster fiercer play
  • recent studies do show that girls’ lacrosse had the fifth-highest rate of concussions in high school sports
  • other sports have had success with helmets so why not girls’ lacrosse
  • there’s the added cost for individual sports players, teams and high schools

As parents, it is important to be educated on all the safety considerations for your youth sports player.  While the use of head gear is optional, this would be a good time to spend some time researching the topic,  talking to your athlete, your child’s coach and other parents.  It would be tough to make a decision without having all the facts to consider.

Read more from the New York Times:  With Headgear Here, Girls’ Lacrosse Just Got Safer. Or Did It?


Ian Reibeisen’s Future Stars’ Adventure

Future Stars (FS) isn’t just a “camp.” Admittedly, it is a camp, but it’s also a potentially life-changing place. This doesn’t mean that attending FS Camps will automatically turn you into a sports star. With attending, comes time, training, and an abundance of passion and dedication. You may ask, however; how can FS Camps change lives? Check out what former camper Ian Reibeisen had to say about his awesome experience and the years he spent at Future Stars Camps.

Future Stars Start

Ian couldn’t wait to begin FS Camps. His older brothers were campers before him and Ian couldn’t wait to jump into their footsteps. At age four, Ian convinced Jordan Snider, Camp Site Director at SUNY, Purchase, to let him enroll at Future Stars – a year or two earlier than most kids do.

That first year, Ian was more like a “director in training.”  No, he didn’t actually tackle the director’s duties. He did, however; follow Jordan around during all his daily tasks. Jordan wasn’t just a camp director to Ian. “I really looked up to him,” reminisced Ian.

Camp Continues

As the years went by, Ian attended FS Tennis camp at SUNY Purchase college, Armonk Tennis, and the sleep away camp at Ascutney (VT). Even though each camp was special to Ian, it was really the one at SUNY Purchase that held his favorite memories. What was so magical about SUNY Purchase? Ian said, “There was always something exciting going on – some of my favorite memories include when the whole tennis camp would participate in an activity together. For the first time in my life, I was in a group setting where a large group of people were all excited for the same thing.”

Even though Ian started attending camp with his older brothers, he made plenty of friends throughout the years. Not only did he make friends along the way, but he also got the chance to enjoy spending time with some pretty amazing counselors and coaches. Ian explained, “Every day at Future Stars was a dream come true for me because I was able to enjoy the things I loved the most while being surrounded by great coaches, counselors and friends.”

Lessons Learned

Did Ian have fun at camp? Of course! But that wasn’t all. He learned pertinent life lessons as well. Not only did he improve his tennis game, but he also learned about hard work.

“The weekly competition (tournament) taught me that I always needed to work hard to reach my potential – in this case, play smart and do my best. Because I worked so hard I had a lot of success on the court!” said Ian. The ability to work hard kept churning even when Ian stepped off the court, “I use that same work ethic off the court to pursue and achieve all my goals.”

Special Times

Along with learning life and tennis lessons, Ian also had the chance to form some special relationships. He looks back on his FS Camp years, remembering the fun times he had there. “One fun memory I had, as a 6-year-old, was when I was leaving on the bus; I would yell out to counselors and order hamburgers, pretending that I was going through a drive thru.”

Ian also remembers how the other FS campers and counselors became like a family to him. “It felt like the coming of age time in my life – I came into myself through the summers. I didn’t really enjoy school, so summer was a great time to find myself, be with friends, and play a sport that I loved.”

Growing Up

As Ian went through FS Camps (as a camper, and then eventually as a counselor), he trained and improved his tennis game. “Tennis runs in our DNA”. Ian and his brothers played USTA tournaments all around the country. Ian considered playing in college, but ended up following a different path. All three of Ian’s brothers (he has two older and one younger brother) played at Bucknell University.

So why didn’t Ian continue in tennis? Even though he loved tennis, he also fell in love with music. He’s now 27, has a business degree with a concentration in marketing from Quinnipiac University, and is pursuing a solo music career.

He credits Future Stars for helping him with his musical ambitions. How? He told us, “Without the confidence I gained as a camper I believe things wouldn’t have gone the way they did.” Not only did FS help Ian’s confidence, but it also helped him meet his first band-mate. “I started my first band with a friend that I met at FS day camp. We wrote and played music together for over 10 years.”

Now that Ian’s an adult, he still keeps in touch with some of his FS friends. He kept in touch with Jordan after his camp years and continues to look up to him. Having gone to camp for almost a decade, and then working as a coach and counselor, Ian considers himself a “lifer.” He still hears from some of his camp friends once in a while, and says, “It makes me happy to see that everyone is doing well. They’re definitely a group of people I will remember forever.”

Kim Clijsters’s Journey to the 2017 Hall of Fame

On July 22, 2017, Kim Clijsters was inducted into the 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. Her journey is unique and includes a break from tennis for motherhood. Kim won 3 of her 4 major titles with her oldest daughter in tow.

Future Stars Camps Featured on Fios News

If your child plays football, you should be aware of the results of the largest study of brain trauma in football players. Researchers at Boston University examined the brains of 111 deceased NFL players.

Sports fan is clapping to his favourite team during the competition

Parents, Stay Positive at Game Time

Maintaining your inner balance during a sports event can sometimes be taxing. Emotions can get out of hand, especially when it’s your child’s team.  You certainly want to show your support but you definitely want to keep your responses positive and supportive of the entire team, and of course the sport.  But that doesn’t always happen and some parents cross the line.  Janis Meredith shares some tips on how keep yourself above the parental sports fray:

  • Minimize your exposure to over zealous parents
  • Maintain a physical distance from parents that you feel may become uncomfortably emotional
  • Tune off the negative comments
  • Turn up your positivity to squelch out the unpleasant commentaries

Find out more:  How to Not Let Crazy Sports Parents Get to You


Stay Tuned to the Pitch

Pitchers create a whirlwind of guessing games as to what pitch will be thrown to get the poorest reaction from the batter.  As a batter, it is important to quickly recognize the type of pitch that is coming at you.  When a ball is flying at you at 60-90 mph that is not easy.  As with anything, practice practice practice is the best thing to help you to recognize and react to the pitch.  CoachUp Nation has some great tips for the hitter to recognize what the pitcher is sending at them.

Read more:  Hitting Different Pitches

Active lifestyle concept and fun and games symbol with a hand holding a group of sports equipment shaped as a ball as a healthy fitness metaphor for offering physical activity recreation to youth as a pastime.

Are Your Youth Sports Expenses Overwhelming?

The expenses for youth athletic sports add up quickly; between fees, equipment, and private lessons, then add in miscellaneous expenses like food, gas and sometimes lodging.

Balancing your child’s interest in sports and managing the expenses can sometimes be taxing.  JBM.Thinks shares some alternative options to find ways to save:

  • Buy only the basics first
  • Find ways to organize equipment swaps
  • Ask your child to chip in
  • Make wise informed choices
  • Say No sometimes

Find out more:  How to Help Your Child Compete in Sports Without Going Broke