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Outdoor Sports for the Kids at the Playground!

Outdoor sports are important to the physical, psychological and social health of children. Physically active children are less likely to be overweight and less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life. Kids who develop a love of sports and the habit of consistent physical exercise are also more likely to remain physically active as an adult. Team sports also provide psychological benefits that come from learning life lessons of good sportsmanship and being a team player while teaching children how to cope with stress and the challenges of competition. Socially, children involved in sports benefit from social interaction and accountability. The sense of unity and belonging in team sports also contributes to positive self-esteem and confidence. While not all inclusive, this guide provides resource materials for adults interested in encouraging and supporting outdoor sport for children in their neighborhoods, communities and local playgrounds.

Youth Football

  • American Youth Football – This international youth football organization promotes teamwork, good sportsmanship, self-discipline and responsibility while helping youth learn to play by the rules and enjoy the game of football.
  • Youth Football Coaching Tips – This article discusses the importance of helping youth have fun while learning the fundamentals of football.
  • Coaching Football: Offense – While this article offers tips for coaching offense, this website also offers multiple articles, videos and fact sheets for coaches and other adults helping with youth football activities.
  • Tips for Youth Football Parents (PDF) – Here are five important tips every youth football parent should keep in mind to understand the best ways to deal with the mixed emotions and challenges of the game.
  • Coach Parker's Youth Football Tips – This website offers practical and proven youth football tips. Here you can find plays and playbooks for little league and peewee teams, as well as book and DVD recommendations.
  • Free Football Drills – This site provides hundreds of free football drills for all positions and skill levels including a separate category for youth football drills.
  • Youth Coaching Support – Coaching videos, drill tips, and helpful advice for improving support play can be found on this website.
  • Advice for First-Year Youth Football Coaches – This advice from seasoned coach Tom Bass helps first-year youth football coaches examine their motivation and then focus their coaching in the areas of safety, techniques, motivation and fun.
  • Football Drills, Plays & Coaching Tips – In addition to a wealth of information for youth football plays, tutorials and tips for coaches, you can sign up on this page to receive 45 drills appropriate for youth football players ages 5-15.
  • Youth Football Coaches Association Resources – Free Drill Library. You can also find information here for joining the Youth Football Coaches Association for more resources and support.

Youth Basketball

  • Coaching Youth Basketball – This website provides useful tips for coaching youth basketball as well as helpful links to a wide selection of resource material. Sign up for their newsletter and you can download three free e-Books containing more helpful coaching information including drills and coaching strategies.
  • Youth Basketball TipsYouth Basketball Tips provides resources to help you optimize drills and training sessions to individual players and skills levels.
  • Basketball Fundamentals Coaching Tip Sheet – These tips are available as a free download and can be printed to provide players with resource material. Links to drill videos are also available on this page.
  • Coach's Clipboard Basketball Playbook Resources – Designed to provide youth basketball coaches with information and ideas that include drills, video clips, play descriptions and more.
  • Free Youth Basketball Drills – With over 400 free video clips and more than 165 handouts, this may be the fastest growing online resource for those interested in youth basketball coaching.
  • Youth Basketball Safety Tips – Part of the Kid's Health resources, this page provides important information concerning basketball safety tips.
  • Online Basketball Drills – This resource site offers hundreds of drills and plays for youth basketball. Sign up to receive free videos from NBA coach Hubie Brown.
  • Power Basketball – This page gives helpful advice to youth basketball players and their coaches.
  • Free Basketball Drills for Kids – Check here for a free e-Book containing 70 basketball drills for kids. You also have an option to sign up for a free basketball newsletter here. There are sample drills on this page.
  • Guide to Coaching Youth Basketball – Tips, tricks and drill videos are just a few of the many resources found on this site.

Youth Baseball

Youth Soccer

  • Benefits of Youth Soccer – Besides being easy to learn, there are other benefits of youth soccer for kids of all ages. The Mighty Kicks website offers additional articles and resources.
  • Soccer Coaching Videos – This video library from USYouthSoccer.Org has a large number of soccer drills and coaching videos available online at any time.
  • A Kid's First Soccer Site – This site promotes soccer as a life-long sport that supports family bonding, life-long friendships and teamwork. It has many excellent resources and tips to help young people stay healthy and active.
  • Fun Soccer Drills for all Ages – These drills will provide soccer players of all ages plenty of practice and fun!
  • Printable Soccer Drills – These drills from Say Soccer are listed by age and can be printed and used by soccer coaches or parents wanting to help their young soccer players improve game skills.
  • Free Soccer Drill VideosSoccerpilot offers free drill videos and other resources for youth soccer coaches.
  • Soccer Drill Resources For U8 Players – This page stresses the importance of drills being age appropriate. A large number of drills and tips are to be found in this soccer development library.
  • Fun Soccer Drills – Keep your soccer practice fun with these age appropriate drills that develop skills and endurance!
  • Age Appropriate Training Sessions – The importance of age appropriate training sessions. Eight weeks of pre-planned sessions are available on video with printable diagrams to take to the field.
  • Youth Soccer Risk Management – This page provides resources and information on keeping young soccer players healthy and safe.

General Health & Exercise Resources

  • Youth Sports Safety – This resource page gives information that will help parents take sensible precautions to prevent sports-related injuries and identify risks associated with various sports.
  • Operation Fit Kids® – Free information and resources for promoting healthy, active lifestyles for kids through physical and nutritional education.
  • Fitness Activity Ideas for Children – Football and other team sports are just some ways to encourage kids to be active. For other tips and ideas check out this Fitness for Children website.
  • Let's Move More! – Easy to implement tips and strategies to encourage families to get more active.
  • Eat & Move O-Matic – An easy-to-use app designed to teach children how the foods they eat serve as fuel for the activities they enjoy. Teaches youth how even small changes can lead to positive changes in their health and fitness levels.
  • Obesity: Nutrition & Exercise (PDF) – This PDF brochure by John Hopkins School of Medicine explains the unquestionable link between obesity, nutrition and exercise.
  • BAM! Body & Mind – The interactive resources on this CDC website are designed to make children aware of the connection between a physically active body and an active learning mind.
  • Nutrition Tips for Young Athlete – Resources for helping youth understand the importance of good nutrition for optimal fitness can be found on this page.
  • The ABC's of Changing Nutrition for Children – These ABC's are meant to encourage children to Act Boldly to Change Diet and Exercise. This is a great resource for parents and children.
  • The Youth Fitness Council – The Youth Fitness Council is an excellent global resource for supporting youth fitness. Sign up for their monthly newsletter for the latest updates.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart