Must-Ask Questions When Choosing a Sports League for Your Child

Youth sports - Teams show sportsmanship with high-fives after their youth basketball game at the Jennersville YMCA in Chester County, PA

There are many youth sports leagues for kids today. They may seem the same, but they're not. Sports leagues at the YMCA teach skills while creating a safe and engaging environment for kids to learn, make friends and have fun.

Here are some must-ask questions to use when selecting a sports league for your child. 

  1. Who will be coaching my child?
    Ideally, all coaches, even those who volunteer, should receive training on how to encourage and support kids to do their best in a safe and fun environment. Ensuring coaches have their child abuse clearances and have had background checks done that have come back clear is important to ensure your child’s safety.
  2. When and where do practices take place?
    The best sports leagues have weekly practices (know that some leagues do not have any practices, but just games) so that teams can develop strong bonds and further develop their abilities. Also, check to see if the league has facilities available for practices and games. Otherwise, the coach may spend a lot of time trying to find a place to practice and play games, and you could end up driving a long distance to take your child to a game or practice.
  3. How much play time will my child receive?
    It’s important for every child to receive play time, but some more-competitive leagues may stress having the strongest players in the game the most. Make sure your child will receive plenty of play time so that they have the chance to learn and master new skills.
  4. How does the league prevent injury?
    A 2013 survey by Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families prevent injuries in kids, found that a young athlete visits the hospital emergency room for a sports-related injury every 25 seconds. Preventing injury, risk, overuse and burnout is important when children play sports. Through the YMCA of Greater Brandywine’s partnership with Nemours, our presenting sponsor, our coaches are trained in injury prevention, including how to prevent concussions. While not every injury can be prevented, steps can be taken to reduce risk. 

The YMCA provides all of the above for your children and more. We teach the game while helping kids develop into strong, confident players. By combining our core values of honesty, respect, responsibility and caring with leadership, teamwork and good sportsmanship, kids learn skills they will use for life.