Erica.Ian.Finalused

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.”

Rear view of multiethnic football players with coach standing in the front

Parent or Coach? What Happens When You’re Both?

Parental involvement is key at every level. At school. Obviously, at home. And, when it comes to sports, too. But, what happens when you move from the sidelines and onto the field? That’s right – you’re the coach and a parent at the same time. Not only are you rooting for your child, but you have a whole team of children to help, too. Understanding how this balancing act plays out on the field, and at home is all part of being both parent and coach.

Playing Favorites, or Not

It’s tempting to put your child first. That’s what you do all day. So it only makes sense that you keep going during the one hour you’re at practice or at a game. Right? You need to put the starters on the field, and your child is the natural choice. After all, you’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that they’re the best. Now you get to let them show it. The problem is, you’re looking at your child’s ability in a completely biased way. You see your child as perfect, even if they’re not. It’s totally understandable. That’s what parents do – they see their children as stars.

Now it’s time to take a step back. No one is saying that you bench your child just because you’re also the coach. It’s not a matter of going completely one way or the other. It’s a matter of being fair. This is a shining opportunity to teach your child a lesson, and act as a role model. That said, it’s completely possible that your child won’t understand when you put a teammate in the game. Instead of ignoring the situation, explain to your child that it’s your job to give everyone (this includes your child and everyone else on the team) a fair chance. This means no playing favorites, and it also means not doing the opposite. Assure your child that you won’t purposefully bench them just because you’re mom or dad.

Keeping the Team Separate

Your child doesn’t have your full attention when you’re playing the role of coach. It’s just a fact. You’ve got a group of kids to help, and that means focusing on each one of them. But, when you leave the field, or the court, or wherever else you’re playing, the attention needs to go back to your child. Leaving team talk at practice shows your child that you’re a parent first, and a coach second.

It’s perfectly okay to come home and tell the rest of the family about a game, or what a great job your child did. The important part here is to keep the focus on your child.

When Your Child Makes a Mistake

You haven’t been playing favorites, and are pretty proud of yourself. But, then it happens – your child makes a major mistake. There are three options when this happens. The first is to forget you’re on the field, go into mom or dad mode and shout something along the lines of, “You’re grounded”.  Okay, so that won’t work.

The second option is to flip back into mom or dad mode and rescue your child. Again, that won’t work either. The third option is to treat your child like you would any other team member. When another child storms off the field after missing a goal and screams, “That’s not fair!” at the player who stopped the ball, you talk to them about good sportsmanship. The same should go for your child, too.

Talking to Other Parents

Even if you’re the most equitable coach ever, some parents may still think you’re playing favorites. When your child plays for 31 minutes and their teammate only gets 30 minutes of game time, the teammate’s parent may say that you’re not being fair.

Create a set of fair play and fair treatment rules that you expect yourself and all of the team to follow. Explain these to the other parents, and invite them to ask questions, if they need to. Along with this, consider asking some of the other parents for their help. An assistant coach (or two) is always appreciated. And, with a few other moms or dads helping out, no one can say that you’re playing favorites.

Balancing your roles as parent and coach is a challenge. You want to be there for your child, but you also need to be there for all of the team. Yes, it can be stressful taking on both jobs at once. But, the rewards are worth it. Not only will you get to spend extra time with your child, but you get to act as a role model too!

People Friendship Togetherness Pizza Activity Youth Culture Concept

5 Reasons to Have the Team Over

Having an sports team squished into your living room might not be your idea of a dream evening, but it could be just what the team needs.

Sports teams are about way more than just sports. As a team player, you know this, of course you do, but are you putting it into action? Are you using your time and energy to build strong relationships both during and after games? If not, it might be time you invited the whole team over for pizza and a movie. Here’s why:

It’s All About the Bonding

Strong teams are built on strong friendships. With team members coming and going over the years, it’s important to make sure the team gels well even when key players have moved on. The best way to do this is to invest time in getting to know each and every player. Spending time as a team can help you all to get to know each other and build strong bonds which will make you an even stronger team next time you’re on the field.

It’s Extra Curricular

Ok, you don’t need to do it. You can see people at practice and still enjoy a healthy friendship, but it might be worth putting in that little bit of extra effort. It could give you an edge over the other teams. The team who eats pizza together, scores together… or something like that. Go the extra mile for your team by being the first to host a get together. It could be a pizza night or more of a party, whatever floats your boat. Just as long as it’s your team socializing together, it fits the bill.

It’s a Bit of Light Relief

You know what’s stressful? Sports season. There are well-earned scores, near misses and plenty of defeats. Every team member is under pressure to perform their best at every opportunity. On top of all that, there are school deadlines, part-time jobs and family commitments. It isn’t easy being a young sports player. Adding some team social dates to your diary gives everyone the chance to relax. It gives the team a chance to laugh about the near misses, celebrate the victories and talk each other up.

You’ll Get to Know Your Team Better

You know which player is great on defense and who can run faster than anyone else, but how well do you really know your teammates? This is your chance to get up close and personal. Find out what makes them tick. Let them get to know you better. This will strengthen your relationship both during and after game time.

It’ll Get the Ball Rolling

If regular team social events aren’t common, it’s up to you to change that. Take the initiative. Invite everybody, host the first event and show them how it’s done. Then pass on the baton. It doesn’t always have to happen at your house. Team gatherings can happen anywhere, but this is your chance to get everybody involved. Make it fun and the next one will plan itself. Go on, what are you waiting for?

Friends agree

Communication is Key: The Parent-Coach Relationship

Your schedule is filled with parent-teacher conferences, and your inbox is packed with classroom newsletter emails. You’ve got the school thing covered when it comes to constant communication. But, what about your child’s coach? The parent-coach relationship is crucial to your child’s success. Understanding the what’s, when’s and why’s of communicating is the first step in developing this all-important relationship.

What Is Parent-Coach Communication?

Okay, so this one seems pretty self-explanatory. Obviously, parent-coach communication equals parents communicating with coaches, and vice-versa. That said, there are many different ways to communicate. The forms that communication takes include both in-person discussions as well as other, less face to face time. Phone calls, texts and emails are all ways that parents and coaches can connect, discuss the child’s progress and alert each other if there’s a problem or an issue.

Keep in mind, there’s a major difference between communicating with the coach and telling the coach how to do their job. If you have a question or you are unsure about why the coach made a specific decision – ask. Come from a place of understanding and wanting the best for your child, and not from a place of thinking that you know best. Let the coaches do their job and give them the chance to explain the why’s and what’s to you. While it’s perfectly okay to ask, telling and sounding accusatory won’t foster positive communication. You want to open up a helpful dialogue, and not alienate the coach.

When Does or Should Communication Take Place?

Communication can happen almost anytime. It can be in-depth (such as during a meeting or parent-teacher conference type of discussion) or less formal (such as in passing), “Great job coach!”. In-depth conversations and discussions that focus on a problem or serious issue typically require some sort of scheduling. Instead of waiting to talk to the coach at half-time or immediately after a game, call, email or text the coach and ask when they are free to meet with you. Make sure that you both have enough time to make the appointment worthwhile. This may mean blocking out a half hour or more in both schedules.

Less in-depth types of communication can happen through text or email, or surrounding game/practice times. Let’s say you want to know how long next weekend’s soccer tournament will be. Simply send an email and wait for a reply. Or, you can catch the coach after practice and ask your question.

You may also want to ask the coach what their preferred method of communication is before assuming that it’s okay to text or email any time that you want. Along with this, ask the coach when the best time is to contact them. Some coaches also have other jobs or have family commitments. If your child’s school soccer coach is also the social studies teacher, it’s not likely that they’ll pick up a phone call at 10 a.m. (or any time during the school day).

 

5reasonstoplaysports-770-462

5 Reasons To Keep Playing Sports

It’s quite common for lifelong sports fanatics to suddenly question whether there’s any point in playing team sports anymore. Here are five reasons why you absolutely should keep at it.

As life gets busier, academic demands increase and you gain more freedom to spend time with your friends, it’s only natural that you reassess how you manage your time. There are only so many hours in the day and you need to make sure you’re using yours effectively to get the most out of life. Many teenagers find themselves under a lot of pressure from school, friends, family and even work commitments. How can you do all of the things you need to do, without missing out on any of the things you want to do?

Sadly, many teenagers choose to give up the sports they have been involved with for years as a way of freeing up some extra time. Of those, many later regret the decision. So, if you’re currently wondering how you can free up more time, here are five reasons why quitting your sports team isn’t the answer:

1. It’s Good for Your Health

Your involvement with team sports is one of the things keeping you healthy. The time spent training each week, not to mention the hours spent running around on the field, are what help your body to stay in shape. You’re exercising whilst doing something you love, you’d have to be crazy to give that up. Even if you drop out of the team, you’ll need to replace the activity with other exercise to make sure you stay healthy, so it may not even buy you much in the way of free time. Your health is important and team sports are a great way to stay in shape.

2. It’s Not All About Your Future Employment

Many young people decide to give up playing sports when they realize they’re not going to make a career out of it. If it’s not going to be how you make a living, it can suddenly seem like a waste of time. But playing sports isn’t just a career opportunity, it can also be a lifelong hobby that you can enjoy with friends and family. You don’t need to quit the team just because you’re not planning on playing soccer full-time. It’s perfectly ok to play for fun – in fact, what better reason could there be to play a game other than that you love it?

3. It’ll Be Good for Your Resume

You might not be planning to take up basketball as a profession, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to help you out in your professional life. Playing team sports teaches players a lot of valuable skills and employers know that. When they see that you play regularly in a league, potential employers assume you’re a team player, a fast thinker and somebody who isn’t afraid to work hard. Having that on your resume could make all the difference between getting an interview and never hearing back. Isn’t it worth it for that alone?

4. It’s Fun

You know how much you’ve always loved sports? The adrenaline, the team spirit and the celebration when you score – it’s undeniable, sports are fun. Playing on a team allows you to enjoy all of these positives whilst having fun. Okay, not every game is fun. Some games you’ll twist your ankle, miss the goal or go home empty-handed. But even on those days, you’ll have had fun, let off steam and work as part of a team. You don’t need to give up this slice of fun to juggle your school work and social life.

5. Your Teammates Are Your People

The great thing about playing sports is that you have a ready-made group of friends for life. Your teammates are your people. They know you and support you. Of course, you can stay friends with these people when you leave the team, but it will never be quite the same.

 

 

swimming

Olympic Swimmers Work Hard In and Out of the Water

 

Whether competing in the 50 meter Freestyle or the 10K Marathon, the preparation for Olympic swimmers is much more than just practicing in the water. Swimmers also must take part in strength and conditioning sessions, follow specific nutritional guidelines and be prepared mentally for competing against the world’s best in the sport.

 

Did You Say No Water?

Known to the elite swimmer as the dry land routine, this consists of conditioning sessions which are used by athletes of many sports. For instance, coaches will have their swimmers do plyometric box jumps to build a swimmer’s lower body. There are also specific exercises to improve a swimmer’s range of motion, and fighting the body’s fatigue factors. Weight training, running and drills which use a medicine ball are common among swimmers of all Olympic events.

The Black Line

It’s the thick black paint, located at the center of each pool lane, and it is something the Olympic swimmer calls the ‘life’ line. Practice after practice the swimmers (unless in the backstroke) will keep an eye on the black line as they complete lap after lap during typical three hour pool sessions. Not all this time is spent on a swimmer’s specialty event. A lot of it includes drills to work various aspects of the entire swimming performance. Drills will concentrate on a swimmer being able to increase hip movement, use of the core muscles and getting faster feet. Add a typical practice totaling six or more thousand kilometers (a few thousand less on ‘taper’ days) and it is easy to see why Olympic swimmers are among the fittest of any athletic participants.

Nutrition

Despite the much-ballyhooed ‘unhealthy’ diet of gold medalist Michael Phelps, swimming coaches and nutrition advisors steer Olympic swimmers to proper nutrition as part of overall training. Swimming at the elite level burns up a lot of calories, but it doesn’t mean the calorie replacement should include sugar-laden, fried or processed foods. Also, the jury is out regarding replacing ‘real’ food with specialized ‘sports foods.’ With real food, it is easy to figure the amount of protein, vitamins and nutrients are actually being absorbed by the swimmer’s body.

Swimmers Getting Older

U.S. Olympic swimmers have come a long way since a 13-year-old Donna de Varona was part of the women’s preliminary heats in the 4×100 relay. The average ages of men and women Olympic swimmers has increased over the past 60 years. A published report shows the average age of a male medalist in the 2012 Olympics was 26.2 years. This compares to the average age of 21.2 during the 1984 games. For U.S. women, the average ages of swimmers winning medals has not risen as drastically. In the ’84 Olympics, the average age was 18.4 years, compared to 21.4 years at the 2012 games. Better funding of Olympic athletes in the U.S., as well as more concentrated training efforts and better nutrition guidelines are believed to be valid reasons for athletes remaining active in Olympic swimming for a longer period of time.

Perhaps you have overlooked swimming for a while because it may not seem like a challenging sport, however at the beginning or Olympic level it is very physically demanding and competitive. If you haven’t done so, give it a chance you might be the next US Olympic swimmer …or diver.

The Winning Problem: The Challenge of Managing Early Success in Sports

Winning is usually seen as a good thing, but it can come with its own set of challenges for young people. Understanding how to help your children handle winning is an important part of their development.

543

Everyone likes to win. Whether it is children playing a game on the playground with their friends, or an adult playing a pick-up game after work, winning is always the goal. As your child gets into organized sports, a portion of the focus will be on winning both at an individual and team level. There are certainly other goals involved when playing sports, but winning is always going to be near the top of the list.

With that in mind, it’s great news when winning seems to come easy to your child, right? Wouldn’t every parent dream of having a child who is naturally able to rise above the competition and come out victorious? There is certainly nothing wrong with winning at a young age, but it might not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

When winning comes easy, there are certain lessons that may be overseen by a young athlete. For example, hard work is one of the most important lessons that young people can learn through their participation in sports. However, when they are able to simply walk out onto the field and succeed, they may not gain that valuable work ethic that could serve them well later in life. Instead, they will come to expect success without putting in the work – and that expectation could lead to complacency.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you want your kids to lose on purpose. Another great lessons to be found in sports is giving your best effort at all times, and frequently that great effort will lead to winning. So what should you do if your child is constantly coming out on top? There are a few pieces of advice that may help you keep them on track despite having so much early success –

  • Focus on the process. It is okay to celebrate a victory, but the focus should be mostly on the process of playing the game. Every kid (and adult) has things that they can improve on in their chosen sport, so make sure your child understands there is always room for improvement – even in victory.
  • Emphasize sportsmanship. Be sure to highlight the importance of always respecting and appreciating opponents, no matter what sport your child happens to play. It is easy for kids to fall into the trap of being condescending toward their competition, so it is crucial that an adult teaches them how to be respectful.
  • Give them the big picture. Success as a child is great, but inevitably the competition is going to improve as the years go by. You don’t want to tear down your child’s confidence, as they have earned their success, but help them see that sports will become more difficult later in life.

As a parent of a successful child, you have to walk a fine line between celebrating their success and helping them develop important skills like work ethic and sportsmanship. Hopefully, you will be able to walk that line and provide them with a balance between confidence and humility that will serve them well going forward.