Dr. Richard Ginsburg at Bedford Middle School on Oct. 20.
In an effort to help parents negotiate the increasingly complicated and pressurized world of youth sports, an alliance of local school, sports leagues and service organizations hosted a “Community Conversation about Youth Sports” on Oct. 20 at Bedford Middle School featuring a presentation by noted youth sports expert Dr. Richard Ginsburg.
There was a great turnout for the evening, and Dr. Ginsburg delivered a one-hour presentation that was highly informative — and entertaining.
Dr. Ginsburg is the co-author of Whose Game Is It, Anyway?, a guide to helping your child get the most from sports. A portion of his talk was based on information in the book. He’s also a longtime friend of several Westporters, and through those friendships is very familiar with some of the particular concerns of our community’s “sporting parents.” That, along with a pre-talk interview with local blogger and soccer coach Dan Woog, allowed Dr. Ginsburg to talk to the 200-plus local parents and coaches like the soccer dad that he is back home in Boston.
Dr. Ginsburg is also the Co-Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Sport Psychology Program and Performance and Character Excellence in Sports (PACES) Institute and serves as a faculty member of the Harvard Medical School. He played soccer, lacrosse and was a diver at the Gilman School in Baltimore, and continued participating in sports at Kenyon College. He coached at Williston Northhampton, and completed his dissertation on the therapeutic benefits of coach/player relationships.
All of those credentials allowed Dr. Ginsburg to speak authoritatively about youth sports, supporting his views with data and clinical evidence. (More information about his take on youth sports can be found at www.whosegameisitanyway.com.)
Brett Aronow of the Westport PTA Council and her husband, Keith Stein of Westport Little League Baseball.
Family Y CEO Rob Reeves attended the free public discussion and wrote in a note to event co-sponsors, “I was very pleased with the turnout and thought Dr. Ginsburg’s presentation was very well done and hopefully well received. My thanks to the Westport PTA Council and the rest of the supporters, including the Family Y’s Water Rats Parents’ Club and Y board member Lisa Krakoff and her family, for making this event happen.
“As a 32-year employee for the YMCA, early in my career I dedicated my time to running very large and active youth sports programs where winning and more importantly losing was always a critical lesson to be learned. To know that what was important and considered healthy for children that many years ago remains true today was gratifying to hear.
I know we all agree that our young athletes need to remain well rounded children and Dr. Ginsburg agrees with many that specializing at an early age isn’t always the best way for that to occur. Especially at very young ages, the ability to experience multiple sports experiences will lead most, if not all, athletes to the same end result. I hope the word will spread about what he shared with us.”
Following the talk, Dr. Ginsburg sent along this helpful 10-point takeaway:
Take Home Points for Parents
Whose Game Is It, Anyway?
Co-Author, Richard D. Ginsburg, Ph.D
1) Use a 5:1 ratio of accurate praise to constructive feedback
2) Avoid post-game criticisms for first 24 hours
3) First post-game question is “How was it?” NOT “Did you win or did you score?”
4) Numbers 2 & 3 are very hard to do.
5) Kids are NOT mini-adults
6) Talent develops well into late-teens
7) Make sure it is your child who most wants to play
8) Recognize when it is time to step back
9) Be aware of changing pressures on coaches
10) Fun and joy are best predictors for long-term success & benefits
Visit www.whosegameisitanyway.com for more information, or email Dr. Ginsburg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Family Y looks forward to working with its community partners to schedule more “Community Conversations” on topics of interest and importance to us all.