I am often asked my opinion on things that involve football. The questions range from how to find which player position best suits a child to who I think will win the Super Bowl, and pretty much everything in between. I have many thoughts on the game, on coaching, and on improving performance, so I am starting Passing Thoughts to share some of those thoughts. I welcome your comments and conversation. –KR

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Season of Thanks

It takes many dedicated individuals and a supportive community to see success at various levels in the football scene. In this season of giving thanks, I wanted to offer my reflection on some of the positives of the 2014 season.

Thank you to the athletes who gave their all at practices and games. Football is a demanding sport, and learning the game, improving skills, and performing with enthusiasm and sportsmanship is not always easy. The greatest aspect of football that it is the ultimate team sport. Bringing a group together and needing every single individual to commit to a common goal is what makes football great! Watching athletes "buy in" to the team concept is very rewarding as we watch our youth continue to advance in the game. When athletes realize they are playing for more than themselves, they play with more heart and conviction. Our kids give their all to physical development and the betterment of their team. They each have the power to make their teams great through their contributions, and that makes football the best team game of all.

Thank you to the parents who embraced their role in developing their athletes, on and off the field. Youth sports is a journey. Athletes go through many amazing experiences, and they also go through many tests and trials along the way. Athletes need supportive parents that embrace the good and the bad in the journey, and tirelessly support their kids on the sidelines, in their schoolwork, and their time away from the sport. Parents guide their athletes through learning about teamwork, winning and losing gracefully, understanding their role on the team, contributing through playing time, making mistakes, being respectful to officials and coaches, and having fun. We've all seen (or been) the parent who struggles with these lessons at times, but the vast majority of parents work very hard to support and help their players be their best. It does not go unnoticed or unappreciated!

Thank you to the countless volunteers that made youth sports a successful overall experience for kids and families. Youth sports would not be successful without those volunteers that help with reffing, working concessions, serving on boards, creating and working tournaments, and providing our youth with opportunities to learn, appreciate, and develop in the sport. Team sports for kids require an immense amount of 'behind the scenes' coordination, and the people who undertake the task of delivering excellent programs and tournaments deserve sincere gratitude.

Thank you to the many parents and community members who stepped into the difficult and thankless job of coaching. Coaches take on the responsibility for teaching the fundamentals of a sport, safe technique and skills, and all the aspects of managing young athletes in challenging physical and emotional situations. Coaches have to be able to nurture their athletes through all the ups and downs of a season, and they have to do that with kids who have various levels of understanding of the game, and the network of parents who question their every decision. It's an incredibly difficult job to do well, and those volunteer coaches have a huge impact on athlete and family experiences. Thank you, coaches, for donating your precious time to help our young athletes.

Thank you to the community of Sioux Falls for an unwavering support and vision for youth sports. We are so lucky to have a community that has such a strong commitment to youth athletics and the development of our kids. Our athletes want to get better, and our community wants to help them! From the newest facilities, fields, lights, or tournament opportunities, we are truly blessed in Sioux Falls in many different sports and youth activities. We have the best of the best!

Best wishes to you and your families for a Thanksgiving filled with family, food, friends, and football.

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