Saturday, August 20, 2011

Rugby World Cup

Catch the seventh edition of the Rugby World Cup full event as it happens in New Zealand in 2011, held September 9th through October 23rd.

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Saturday, August 06, 2011

Outdoor Play Equipment - What Every Parent Needs To Know

by: Clare Swindlehurst

Outdoor play equipment makes a brilliant addition to your
backyard to encourage your kids to get out in the fresh
air and have some fun. These days most kids want to spend
hours in front of the television or their games consoles
and it's difficult to encourage them to make exercise part
of their daily routine. But with a wooden outdoor playset
you should find it slightly easier to encourage them to be

Here are just a few of the benefits you will see if you
invest in outdoor play equipment for your family.

Calmer and more rational behaviour

Young children are full of energy and if they spend their
days sitting on the couch then that energy can turn itself
into bad behaviour and temper tantrums. With a wooden
playset in the backyard they can climb, swing and run to
their heart's content burning off that excess energy as
they play. At the end of a play session you'll find
yourself with much calmer and more rational children.

Improvement in motor skills

You might be surprised to learn that playing on one of
these wooden outdoor playsets can help to improve motor
skills, but your children will develop their hand eye
co-ordination, balance, strength and reflexes just by
playing on their outdoor play equipment for an hour each

Develop confidence and imagination

You might look at a piece of outdoor play equipment and
see an assembly of wood and metal, but your children will
see a fairytale castle, or a fort. Playing outside on one
of these playsets can help them to develop their
imagination and their confidence.

Today's wooden outdoor playsets have chutes and slides,
ladders and monkey bars, swings and cubby holes. There are
plenty of interactive features to keep them occupied for

Keep your kids where you can see them

When you have your own outdoor play equipment in the
backyard you don't have to worry about your children
wanting to go to the local play park to play on the swings
and slides. They can do just that right outside the back
door where you can keep a watchful eye on them.

When you are deciding on outdoor play equipment for your
family you will want to consider timber structures that
are decay resistant, don't require toxic chemicals to
treat them and will last for years. Timbers available are
Cypress, Western Red Cedar and Redwood.

If you're worried about splinters then you might want to
consider a splinter free outdoor playground set. You can
see reviews of many different wooden playsets at



Saturday, March 06, 2010

Team management tools

Recently, I received an email from Alex Chappell proposing some tools for coaches. So I took a look and honestly, there are some very interesting tools there.

If you are a coach or a volunteer and need to organize your team activities, you need to take a look also:

51 Team Management Tools John Wooden Wished He Had

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Until it hurts

Here is a very interesting book from Mark Hyman that will certainly interest you. Until it Hurts - America's Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids - is a look at everything that is wrong with youth sports today. It shows how adults are ruining their kids experience by turning youth sports into a high-pressure, big-money enterprise.

It is a must read for every parent, coach, administrator, volunteer, referee who has ever been involved in youth sports and cares about kids.

You can also read Mark Hyman's blog: Youth Sports Parents

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Are Sports Drinks Actually Good for Kids?

Here's a very interesting article I found on the NY Times blog.

Phys Ed: Are Sports Drinks Actually Good for Kids?

A few summers ago, researchers from the University of Connecticut’s Department of Kinesiology showed up at youth soccer and football camps on the East Coast to study the kids’ drinking habits. What they found was that the young athletes, aged 9-16, didn’t drink enough. Most of them, in fact, had arrived at the camps dehydrated to one degree or another, and proceeded to dry themselves out far more over the course of the four-day camps. Practicing on average three times a day, the kids became progressively more dehydrated day by day, as measured by the concentration of their urine and by declines in their body weight, despite the fact that water was available during every practice session. By the end of the camps, between 50 and 75 percent of the 128 kids were at least “significantly” dehydrated, and in 25 to 30 percent of these, the condition was “serious.”

“Most of the campers thought they were doing a pretty good job of staying hydrated during the day,” the researchers said when they released their findings. “Obviously there’s a gap between their knowledge and their actual behavior.” Although research shows that prepubescent athletes sweat quite a bit less, on average, than adults, they also weigh less, so small water losses are magnified. According to a 2005 American College of Sports Medicine report on hydration, “even a 1 percent to 2 percent reduction in body mass” through perspiration “reduces aerobic performance in 10- to 12-year-old boys.” Several other studies show that kids, by and large, simply don’t drink water, even if it’s readily available. In a seminal group of studies in the 1990s, young athletes were brought in to a human performance laboratory in Canada and asked to complete intermittent, easy sessions of bicycling, while drinking as much water as they liked. During the 90 to 180 minute sessions, the “children dehydrated progressively and their core temperatures increased faster than in adults,” the researchers found.

Change the beverage, though, and children’s drinking behavior alters — dramatically. In the Canadian laboratory cycling study, when the kids were offered grape-flavored water, they voluntarily drank 44.5 percent more than when the water was unflavored. And when the drink included 6 percent carbohydrates and electrolytes — when, in other words, it was a sports drink — they eagerly downed 91 percent more than when offered water alone. Does this mean that the parents of young soccer, football, baseball, basketball, and tennis players should be stocking their refrigerators with Gatorade, Powerade or the new Crayons sports drinks for kids (available, unsurprisingly, in multiple colors)? The answer is a qualified ‘yes.’ “When kids do intense exercise in the heat for numerous hours, I would encourage the use of sports drinks,” says Douglas Casa, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut and the lead researcher for most of the sports camp studies. “They will likely drink more of a flavor they like as compared to water, and will benefit from the carbs and electrolytes.”

But that ‘yes’ has clear and definable limits. “Sports drinks are only appropriate in the context of sports, and I mean serious sports,” emphasizes Nancy Clark, a registered dietician and sports nutritionist in Boston, who often works with young athletes. “Most kids younger than 10 or 12 don’t work out hard enough to require” carbohydrate and electrolyte replenishment, she says. “They should be playing and having fun, even during games.” If, however, your 12-year-old or older athlete has begun competing at a more intense level, especially if he or she participates in multiple practices or competitions in a single day during the summer, “sports drinks are appropriate,” Clark says. The salt in the drinks increases the body’s ability to hold on to the fluid, she points out, and few kids object to the taste, although in at least one study, some young athletes reported that sports drinks upset their stomachs.

No one suggests that, outside of fields or courts, sports drinks are wise. “These are not health foods,” Clark says. “They’re fancy sugar water. You see kids having them with their pizza at lunch. That’s not a good idea.” Sports drinks have been linked with obesity and tooth decay. They’re also expensive (although you can make your own for much less money, Clark says. See below for a DIY sports drink recipe from her book, “Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook,” 4th Edition.) Finally, consider nagging, an underutilized means of improving young athletes’ hydration status. When the kids at the sports camps were asked why they didn’t drink more often, one of their most commonresponses was, “I forgot.”

“Remind them,” Clark says. Talk to their coaches. Request more fluid breaks. Ask those in charge to see to that all the children drink, both Clark and Casa suggest. The kids may be athletes out on the field, “but they’re still just kids, your kids,” Clark says. “Watchout for them.”

Sports drink recipe from “Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook”
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup hot water2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 1/2 cups cold water
In a quart pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water. Add the remaining ingredients and the cold water. The drink contains about 50 calories and 110 mg of sodium per 8 ounces, approximately the same as for most sports drinks.

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