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Dislike: Friday Night Tykes

I have a great story for you about a major drama playing out right here in local youth sports leagues. On one side - a controversial new reality show - Friday Night Tykes which is gaining national and local attention because it glorifies extreme pressure on kids to win at all costs. On the other side - a local youth sports league which goes against the current by returning youth sports to its roots with the focus on fun and good sportsmanship.

i9 Sports, the first and fastest growing youth sports league franchise, with leagues in our area, offers an experience that's COMPLETELY OPPOSITE of the violence and viciousness of the Esquire Network's new hit reality show - Friday Night Tykes. The show features a young football team bullied by coaches to crush, destroy and win at all costs - despite who gets hurt. i9 Sports focuses on kids having fun and the lifelong lessons of teamwork (reasons parents in our area choose the i9 Sports Experience over the yelling, bullying and rough play you see on this divisive show.)

Brian Sanders, i9 Sports president and chief operating officer, says FridayNight Tykes highlights the unfortunate win at all cost mentality that's damaging young athletes across the country.

"Competition is natural and healthy, but violence, scare tactics and demeaning coaching goes beyond being competitive. It's this type of behavior that causes young athletes to stop playing sports altogether," says Sanders. "Kids play sports to have fun, not to become the next draft pick. At i9 Sports, we teach teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play to our young athletes - values that help them succeed in life not just on the playing field."

i9 Sports Experience

i9 Sports offers an alternative to the disorganized, hyper-competitive, win-at-all-cost culture that pervades most youth sports programs today through a customer experience that delivers fun, safety, and convenience. i9 Sports focuses on how the game is played, how much fun it can be for the kids, and how easy it can be for the parents.

Talk with local families and coaches about the differences:

  • i9 Sports Leagues play flag football - NO TACKLE. Flag football offers the benefits of learning the sport without the dangers of full contact tackle football. Former and current NFL coaches and players have/had their children playing i9 Sports because they don't want their kids playing tackle football at a young age.
  • i9 Sports is the first youth sports organization to institute a Parental Pledge for safety and good sportsmanship.
  • After each game, one child earns an award for sportsmanship and fair play with teammates and opponents.
  • Officials and coaches are trained to deliver the i9 Sports Experience - encouraging fun, fair play teamwork and healthy competition over winning at all costs.
  • "When in Doubt, Sit Out" Policy - An athlete in i9 Sports who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury will be removed from the practice or game immediately and will not be allowed to return to play without written clearance from a licensed health care provider.
  • In soccer, i9 Sports has a strict no-heading policy. Players ages 3-12 don't have the developmental skills to head the ball properly on the forehead and instead may incorrectly head the ball on the top of the head or on the temple, causing greater risk for concussion.
  • i9 Sports has just added a Concussions Safety Information page to the online registration process that parents must read and sign. i9 Sports has also provided concussion information, signs and symptoms in all coaches' and officials' guides.

POSSIBLE STORY ANGLES:

  • Interview youth athletes, coaches and parents about Friday Night Tykes and how i9 Sports offers a local alternative.
  • Watch an i9 Sports practice to show the differences in coaching styles from Friday Night Tykes and i9 Sports.
  • Watch Friday Night Tykes at a viewing party with young athletes, coaches and parents and interview them about their opinions - good and bad.

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See also:
* ABC News: Friday Night Tykes Coach Suspensions Spark Debate.

* Forbes: Friday Night Tykes Coaches Suffer For Showing How Football Sausage Is Made.

* Medical Daily: Friday Night Tykes: Texas Youth Football Players Face Injuries, Foul Language And Hard Hits - At Age 8.

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Previously from i9:
* Hurt And Be Hurt: The Lessons Of Youth Sports.

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Comments welcome.


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