SportsLeader is a virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches. This blog shares stories from coaches all over the country transforming lives. For more information contact Lou Judd -

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Youth Sports - Sportsmanship

Recently I had a conversation with a parent of an 8 year old boy who played youth football for the first time. His team practiced 4 days a week and played games on Saturday. He was at every single practice and every single game. He tried his best.

During the last game of the season, late in the 4th quarter with his team winning 30-0 he went up to his coach ... "Coach, can I go in? I haven't gotten to play all year and we're winning pretty good?"

His coach said, "No, you're not good enough maybe next year."

Personally I would have had "a good long chat" with this "coach" a lot sooner but ... I've heard tons of stories like this. I've seen tons of coaches like this ... youth teams with 45 players and only 12 play the whole game.

This is why 73% of kids quit sports by the age of 13.

Little kids want to play, they want to have fun, they want to learn how to play the sport. 

A friend of mine, Ron Jennings, has started a league called Sportsmanship First League, SFL,     

He started the Lakota Stallions youth football league 5 years ago with 70 players grades K-6. This past season there were 440 players on 22 different teams. Their player retention rate is the highest in the country.

If you're a head coach at the high school level maybe consider checking this out. You'll be glad you did.


  1. Ron has his act together and does a great job. How pitiful the coach who wouldnt play a youth player that showed up for all the practices, you can win AND play everyone, GOOD coaches do it in every game every season.

  2. Once again, coaches just wants to win at the expanse of fielding youths. We struggle with this a lot in Singapore schools. We have started playing recreational leagues whereby school team players are not allowed to participate. Great to exclude the best at times.


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