Skyhawks News
Flag Football's Origin

September 13th, 2017

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Flag football has been the fastest growing youth sport for the last few years, and it doesn’t look like that will slow down any time soon. Despite it’s popularity, many people don’t know flag football’s origin – the U.S. Military.

 

The early appearances flag football as we know it date back to around the 1930’s and 1940’s. The popularity of American Football had already been established before WWII, and the military couldn’t send soldiers to battle with nagging football injuries, so flag football really took hold on military bases overseas. When the soldiers returned home, they brought the sport with them, and the first leagues began to take root.

 

By the 1960’s, the National Touch Football league was formed, proving that touch & flag football had arrived. Soon after, flag football became a staple on college campuses, and remains so with flag football being one of the most popular intramural sports among students.  

 

Today, flag football leagues are just as, if not more, popular as tackle football youth leagues, and semi-pro leagues including the professional AFFL (American Flag Football League) and the USTFL (United States Flag & Touch Football League) have been established across the country.

Try Everything This Summer!

May 9th, 2017

This article was written by Skyhawks Franchise Owner Brett Gardner and is cross-posted from Redwood City Parks, Recreation & Community Sevices blogClick Here To View The Original Aricle.

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Much has been written over the past several years about specializing in one sport vs. letting kids play as many sportsas possible. There is all this literature that benchmarks what age kids should be when they specialize. I come down firmly in the camp of NEVER. Unless your child is an elite gymnast or dancer, there is no argument to be made for specializing in a sport. Ask professional athletes how many of them “specialized” in the sport they now play. I’d hazard a guess that the answer is none.

But, sports have gotten really out of hand thanks to the business model behind competitive sports. Coaches are hired to develop players for college sports programs. That’s what they are paid to do. I hear parents talking about this even with a team of eight-year-olds!

If you are reading this and you have teenagers, I hope you’re nodding your head in agreement. Parents of younger children, read on. Sports is not a career for your child. It’s an activity and it should be one of many.

But, more importantly, not all kids like sports. As the parent of two very athletic children and the owner of a company that runs sports camps, I should be shouting from rooftops about the benefits of sports. But, I have also seen what happens when kids are pushed too hard.

I am a big believer in the “try everything” model of parenting. You never know what’s going to stick. When my kids were little, we tried it all — from ball sports to gymnastics to theater to martial arts to dance.  Some of it stuck and much of it didn’t. The questions we asked our kids were, “was it fun?” and “did you learn anything worthwhile?” Next, we asked them if they wanted to do that activity again.

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With child number one, the answer was invariably, yes. With the other one, it was almost always, NO! Different kids, different interests. Even though child number one seemed to like everything and child number two seemed to hate most things, I still think the try everything model was good for both of them.

With limited time during the school year, we often used summer camps to let our kids try different activities. Many families didn’t understand why we would do this. If my daughter was “an athlete,” why weren’t we sending her only to sports camps? She plays ball sports nine months out of the year. Does she really need more sports at age eight? We thought it was far more important for her to experience different things. So we encouraged her to try science camps, cooking lessons, etc. She loved some of them and was less enthusiastic about others. But, she got to try something new, which was the most important thing.

As summer is looming, think about things your kids have never done before.  It could be a new sport, like flag football. Or, it could be dance or robotics. Try everything. You just never know what will stick!

Baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz on the Benefits of Playing Multiple Sports

May 31st, 2016

Speaking at an MLB event at the Field of Dreams movie location, the newly elected Hall-of-Famer weighed in on the importance of playing multiple sports year round, rather than focusing solely on a single sport like baseball all year round. 

“People think you have to play year around to be able to eventually play professional baseball or basketball or football. That’s simply not true,” Smoltz said. “I love where I grew up (Lansing, Mich.). Seasonal changes meant seasonal sports. I played three of them. The opportunity to get outside and play sports is one of the greatest things kids have.

“I know there are a lot of distractions, a lot of technology,” Smoltz said. “But playing year around, in places like the South and the West, is just not as advantageous as people think. The history of injuries, all the things that go on, that’s why places like here and Michigan and the Midwest, getting the opportunity to play seasonal sports and be athletic is something that ... parents, you just don’t understand how much time your children have.

“As a player who grew up and loves sports, who got a chance to play multiple sports, and that’s the reason I was able to play baseball as long as I did (21 years). It’s the reason, for the most part, that I stayed as healthy as I did. I didn’t consume myself with one sport."

If there's one thing Smoltz knows, its longevity. Smoltz pitched in the majors for 21 seasons with the Braves, Red Sox and Cardinals. 

Sign up your young athlete for a new sport at a Skyhawks Sports Academy summer program! Find programs near you at Skyhawks.com/search

This article contains exerpts originally published on May 28 at bit.ly/1TluCPR

Youth Football: Certain Benefits Outweigh Possible Risks

October 27th, 2014

Early in October, Detroit Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis told a local sports reporter he doesn’t want his now two-year-old toddler to play pro football. You know, later.

"He doesn't have to play any sport, as far as I'm concerned,” Mathis told the Detroit Free Press. “But if he does get into it, football will be the last thing I introduce him to.”

Why? Because it’s physically “taxing” he says, and, like all NFL dads, he knows the potential damage caused by the repeated concussions inherent to such a high-contact (professional!) game.

However, Mathis’s fear being transferred to standard parents of standard children playing a standard youth league football team is fairly ridiculous. It’s like not allowing your grade schooler to pursue engineering because of the stiff competition among honor students at MIT.

And yet, recent coverage of former NFL players’ concussion complications is reportedly affecting the choices parent make about their children’s participation in youth sports.

Since 2008, participation in youth football has dropped more than five percent, and soccer seven percent.

It’s a consumer trend based on such unfounded fears, that neurologists at top hospitals have begun advocating for youth football.

"If somebody says 'I like playing (football or soccer), but my mother and father are worried that I am going to get a concussion so therefore I'm going to chose not to play,' – that’s a tragedy," asserts a child neurologist at Children's National Medical Center.

That’s because, like so many choices we make to protect our children, he says there is a balance between potential risks and benefits.

He and other colleagues maintain that the risk of inactivity is a far more urgent issue that the far-off potential risk of high-level participation football. But, seriously, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon (Get it? They are neurologists! That cliché was made for this discussion!) to realize that the impact of a possible injury is uncertain, while the benefits of playing YOUTH football (not NFL football, but YOUTH football) are certain:

  1. Mental: Children learn the values of delayed gratification, overcoming obstacles, preparation and hard work, controlling emotions, overcoming fear and even pain, and the experience of one-on-one and group competition.
  2. Physical:Improved health and weight control, lower diabetes risk. Most youth teams require 20 hours of conditioning—including running and stretching—with no pads and no contact. (And guess what they CANT play on the field? X-Box and Netflix!)
  3. Academic: Players (aka students) particularly in football, learn the value of discipline, and as I’ve pointed out in previous blogs, the benefit of focus and concentration, and confidence which reflects on academic performance.
  4. Social/professional: Commitment also extends to relationships with other people, and eventually with bosses and co-workers. Good sportsmanship is also a lifelong value: Learning to win and lose with graciousness, and be part of a team, and have something greater than oneself.

There are also very strong parent support groups in youth football, as well as a sports wide effort to teach preventive strategies that cut down on injuries. Here’s an example of a great resource: http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/concussion-safety (sources: www.Livestrong.com, www.winningyouthfootball.com)

Students + Team Sports= Better Grades

August 25th, 2014

Every flipping Fall I miss the deadlines for sports team signups. (It’s logical, really, because I miss spring signup for summer swim lessons, too) When it is still 90 degrees, I think it’s cruel to not only make us buy school supplies, but also register for soccer and football. But, yeah, sorry, LATE registration started JULY 25. What the--?

Part of why I wait so long to think about fall sports isn’t just that I’m putting off the end of summer, but that I’m cheap (or poor). Before I fork over hundreds of dollars to put my children onto any kind of team, I really need to be assured I’m going to get something out of it. I mean, like, I want to know that perhaps parenting will be easier, somehow, if they learn a fabulous life skill. Or if the coach will MAKE them do homework so I don’t have to bargain and threaten?

And I’ve found quite a bit of assurance, actually. Team sports not only build social skills and goal-setting. It turns out involvement—ANY involvement, not just star players and athletes (good news because my kids are, at best, merely “athletic”)--in team sports has big impacts on academic performance.

A 2013 study by the University of South Carolina and Pennsylvania State University surveyed 9,700 high school students aged 14-18, who spread across all races, communities and socioeconomic groups.

The study looked for correlations between students’ after-school activities and their school success, including the likelihood of moving on to higher education.

The researchers found team sports, more than academic and vocational clubs, and performing arts societies, have “a consistent and significant effect on students’ grades across all schools.” Specifically, they found team sports are “significantly related to higher GPA’s” and “a higher likelihood of completing high school.”

Also, a totally over-achieving doctor who heads the Division of Adolescent and School Health for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reviewed 50 studies that examined “the effect of school-based physical activity on academic performance and discovered that half of the studies showed positive associations and virtually none of the research demonstrated any negative impact” Dr. Howell Wechsler even found studies that proved short spans of physical activity help increase the length and intensity of concentration.

Short spans? Like camps and classes? Sweet! You can still register for volleyball, basketball and tennis through Skyhawks. Those classes and clinics start in October. When it is actually Fall.

 


Sources:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2330445/Why-team-sports-really-improve-grades-Link-self-esteem-better-performance-classroom.html#ixzz3BBg1lHQS
www.cdc.gov, http://www.livestrong.com/article/506980-do-sports-help-improve-grades/