PHITAmerica Go Grants helping thousands of kids get active

From our Partners at PHITAmerica.org

PHIT AMERICA GO! GRANTS – A SUPERSTAR-WINNING PROGRAM

We have now helped 150,000 kids get active and moving in our school-based physical activity programs. To date, PHIT America with the help of its sponsors, has invested over $1,000,000 in the PHIT America GO! Grants program. Our success is in many ways attributed to our great partners, KIDS in the GAME who have implemented our GO! Grants.

“We are proud to get more kids active and playing sports while fighting the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’,” says Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America. “We have beaten our projections and our average cost per child is less than $15. That is an incredibly small price to pay for the transformative power exercise has on these kids’ academic, physical and emotional health. The PHIT America GO! Grants are changing lives. We are doubling kids physical activity levels…adding 85 minutes of physical activity per week. Our cost per child is less than $15 per child. We will put this program and our cost per child up against ANY program in the USA.”

SPONSORS STEP UP – GO THE EXTRA MILE

A few key sponsors have driven up the results for the PHIT America GO! Grants. ASICS became the first Platinum Sponsor by pledging an additional $50,000 to PHIT America through a special consumer-centric Global Running Day fundraising initiative in late May/early June of this year. The majority of these funds will impact GO! Grants in California, Hawaii, and Texas in the 2017/18 school year. ASICS is planning other promotional events later this year which will benefit PHIT America and get more kids ‘off the couch’ and active through the GO! Grants program.

Two other major sponsors have gone the extra mile. Recently in Chicago, Life Fitness provided PHIT America GO! Grants to 11 elementary schools in the greater Chicago area. Then, with the help of its PR firm, Edelman & Associates, Life Fitness told the story throughout the greater Chicago area. See the great promotional video which Life Fitness produced HERE. Earlier this year, Technogym with the help of its PR firm, NikeComm, supported schools in northern New Jersey and then exposed their efforts and results to the general media in the greater New York City area.

JOIN OUR ‘MOVEMENT’ – WE MUST WORK TOGETHER TO FIGHT THE INACTIVITY TRENDS

There is no question the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ is getting worse. Kids are getting increasingly inactive and addicted to electric devices. Our programs – GO! Grants, educational tools, The PHIT Act and a new event in 2018, PHIT America Month – fight the negative trends of the sports & fitness industry.

Please don’t think the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ will just turn around. We need everyone to be proactive and join our ‘Movement’. If you want to help us get America more Active, FIt & Healthy, please contact Jim@PHITAmerica.org. We have a support level for every size company or organization.

 

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Great nutritional advice from TrueSport

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Coaching for Fun

By Brian Gotta, President of CoachDeck

It was a new riff on an old joke: I asked someone how he came to coach his daughter’s soccer team. He said, “I was standing with a group of parents and they asked for a volunteer to step forward. I stood still and everyone else stepped back.”

For those of us who have been there, have taken the reigns of a team we weren’t necessarily ready to coach, who did it more out of necessity than out of enthusiasm, we can relate. It’s funny, but then it’s also not.

Volunteer coaches are the youth sport equivalent of saints. Sure, volunteer board member also often work tirelessly for little reward. I was a board member while coaching three of my sons’ baseball teams in three different divisions. There are volunteer officials and umpires who also work hard. But an official can choose when he works. A board member who doesn’t coach isn’t in the spotlight. Coaches must be at every practice and every game. And they are the ones who take the heat when kids don’t play as much as parents think they should. When positions are decided. They are the ones criticized when the players don’t play well.

Most organizations would cease to exist without these coaches. But often, we take them for granted. We don’t always give them the support they need. We don’t show them the appreciation they deserve. Sometimes we expect too much of them in terms of requirements we demand of their time beyond the necessary practices and games. And we often expect more than we ought to when it comes to how they run practices.

For kids ages 5-10 technical training should take a back seat to fun. I’ve said this before: If a kid that age is going to be a college or pro star it’s not going to be because he had incredible coaching. If you’re not convinced, look at all of world class soccer players who grew up playing on the streets with friends from dawn to dusk. Look at the professional Latin baseball players who had no resources as children, but just played.

On the other hand, adolescents with great potential can be derailed by coaching. Coaches who are pressured to run ultra-structured practices focusing on technique and tactics take the chance of alienating children from the sport because practices are a chore. And the same goes for coaches. We all know that the attrition rate for youngsters and volunteer coaches is too high. But would anyone ever quit doing something if it were fun?

So when you look at your volunteer coaches roster before the season begins, put yourself in their shoes. Imagine yourself as a scared novice who feels unsure of himself. Think about them working a full-time job and having to ask for time off to get to practice. Consider the pressure they’re under to balance work, family time and this new responsibility and be mindful of your expectations. Do you want to make it more difficult in the vain hope that everyone is “trained properly”? Or do you want to make it easy and fun? This isn’t training for the Olympics, it’s rec sports. The kids who are going to make it are going to make it…if they choose to come back next season. And if they have someone willing to coach them.

Brian Gotta is a former youth baseball coach and volunteer Little League board member. He is the President of CoachDeck and also author of four youth sports novels and a baseball coaching book which can be found at www.booksbygotta.com. He can be reached at brian@coachdeck.com

Starve the Beast

By Tony Earp

There are many benefits of taking time off during the year as a competitive athlete. The obvious ones are mental and physical rest the body needs in order to stay healthy and avoid overuse injuries or “burnout.” The amount of rest needed changes from player to player depending on age, competitive level, and personal needs. In short everyone is different, and so is the need for rest and recovery. But what is the best thing about rest? The answer is the least talked about benefit and the one I found to be the most helpful as a developing young player. In short, REST STARVES THE BEAST, and when the time is right, you let the beast eat again.

Let me explain… I hated taking time off from playing soccer. I had to be pulled kicking and screaming away from the soccer field. I would even go as far as to sneak out to play or lie about where I was going when leaving the house with my friends (sorry mom). My coaches and my mom constantly encouraged breaks and stressed they were necessary, but I was a kid who loved the play and I did not care about what was “necessary” or “good for me”…. I just wanted to play.

I had a coach that finally got me to buy into the “rest” concept with the “Starve the Beast” approach. Simply, he explained that you have this beast inside of you who loves to play and feasts every time you step on the field. He will always eat and he is always hungry, but he can only eat so much at time. He told me that I needed that beast ready to eat every time I step on the field. When I rested, or when I starved the beast, he could eat a whole lot more.

It is not easy to starve the beast. The urge to let the beast eat and go play is strong and it takes discipline to ignore it. But when done right, and at the right time, when I stepped on the field to play again, the beast was hungry to eat more than he was before. In other words, the “beast” was willing to work harder, for longer, and break through any barriers that stood between him and his food. After a break, I learned that my level of play and level of training drastically increased.

As a kid, I did not care or really relate at all to the idea of stopping burnout or overuse injuries. Why? Because I was a kid! Those things did not mean anything to me, and I did not feel it was something I would have to deal with no matter how much I played. Although I could have been negatively affected by those things, it was not going to stop me from playing and training. When this coach explained the “starve the beast” concept, it made more sense to me.

Of course I saw myself as “the beast” (what kid does not want to be a BEAST), so it became something I bought into because I understood it and I related to it. After a break, I noticed the difference in my effort, attitude, and level of play after a break. I recognized how the BEAST responded when I got back on the field. When I stepped on the field, I wanted to show everyone what the BEAST could do, and I wanted to let the beast EAT.

When you have a passionate kid who loves something and pursues it relentlessly, parent and coach request to take breaks is not going to convince the kid to put the soccer ball away. It just does not make sense to the child to do that. The equation is simple… I love something, doing it makes me happy, so I am going to continue to do it. The starve the beast approach is not just fun, it acknowledges the kids passion and drive to continue to do it. It says, “I know you want to play, I know you’re a BEAST, but watch what happens when you cage the beast for a bit and then let him loose when he is rested and HUNGRY.”

My parents made it fun. When my break was up, the question would be asked, “Are you ready to let the beast eat?” I would always answer, “Oh, he’s ready to eat.” Then off to training I would head. Normally to one of my best training sessions I had in a very long time.

Make sure your child takes time to “starve the beast.” Not only will it help prevent injuries and burnout, but it will also set your child up to have more success on the field in the future. In short, breaks are good. They are necessary. BUT, you need to find a way to get your child to accept the need for a break. Just saying, “you need a break” may not do the trick. It may just cause frustration or resentment. Try the “starve the beast” approach, or something similar, and make the time off away from the game something they will welcome.

Tony Earp directs SuperKick/TeamZone Columbus’ Soccer Skills programs. Tony has a Masters in Education from The Ohio State University. Tony was a standout player both academically and athletically at The Ohio State University, earning multiple honors both on the field and in the classroom. He can be reached at tearp@superkickcolumbus.com

Seven Absolutes of How to Hit a Baseball

By Doug Bernier

Because of the different set ups and stances, there are different ways for how to hit a baseball. But once a hitter gets to the contact point that is where all the differences stop and the absolutes and similarities start.

If you compare Johnny Damon (who has a very open stance and a leg kick), to Albert Pujols (wide stance and has very little movement), and to David Eckstein (gets in his legs a lot, chokes up and stands very close to the plate) you would find that initially they look completely different.

BUT… when you strip away the pre-pitch rhythm, the leg kicks and all of the other movement that is personal preference, you find that they are a lot alike.

The 7 absolutes are seen at contact. No matter how a hitter gets to the contact point of his swing, all great hitters do the same thing.

Every good hitter will do these 7 things on a perfect swing. Sometimes, depending on a pitch, not all 7 will be attained every time. It’s important to remember that hitting is a battle, and sometimes using your athletic ability to hit a ball will trump all the perfect mechanics we will talk about.

1. Hitting against a firm front side.

This doesn’t always mean a stiff leg, you can have a slight bend but this leg is keeping the rest of your body and hands behind the baseball. This leg will stop your forward momentum and start the axis of rotation that you will now be hitting on. This is very important, you lose this firm front side you lose a lot of bat speed and your head movement drastically increases.

2. Have your back foot on its toe

When you commit your backside and decide to swing, the force you generate going toward the baseball will be abruptly stopped by your firm front side so you can start rotation, what’s left is your back toe on or slightly off the ground.

3. The hands are in a palm up, palm down position.

On a right handed hitter if you took the bat away at contact and had him open up his hands his right hand should be facing straight up towards the sky (or receiving the money) and the left hand should be facing the ground. This bat grip is the most powerful position you can be in at contact.

4. Head on the ball.

I.e. Seeing the ball at its contact point. This might be obvious, but it’s not simple. Knowing how to hit a baseball starts with knowing how see the ball. How to be a better baseball hitter – Seeing the Baseball talks more about the importance of this point, as well as some tips to improve your ability to see the baseball.

5. The Your back knee, back hip and head should be in a straight line.

A thought is to stick a pole in the ground through your knee, hip and head and rotate around that pole. That ensures you are not too far forward losing power and not too far bat getting tied up and having an uphill inconsistent swing

6. Your head should be right in the middle of your feet.

Think of it as a triangle draw 3 lines between your head and two feet. A triangle is a very strong structural object used in many applications (roof joists etc.) So being in a strong triangle will be the strongest possible position for your body. Also it allows you to rotate on an axis with minimal head movement.

7. Top arm is bent

Ideally you want your elbow planted firmly against your side. This is where you are most powerful. The closer your elbow is to your body, the more torque you can create as you spin. The farther your elbow gets as you straighten it, the more you are losing power and leverage and making the force of the baseball more powerful against you.

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger’s AAA team the Round Rock Express