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USSA teams up for parent resource

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

As another academic year begins, so does another year of sports for many local children. Besides providing exercise, comraderie and a team experience, organized sports is also a major undertaking for parents, coaches and club or league administrators.

In an attempt to help bring all three parties togther and provide insight and tips on youth sports, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) teamed up with USA Swimming to create "Successful Sports Parenting" an affordable CD ROM packed with information on the topic.

According to David McCann, USSA director of Educational Services, the idea to make the CD came from development club programs across the country. At a USSA Congress meeting a few years ago, clubs reported that they needed a tool to aid in parent and coach relationships. After partnering with USA Swimming, the two entities complied 50 video interviews from coaches, like U.S. Alpine Ski Team head coach Phil McNichol, parents like Kent and Marni Schlopy of Park City and a number of athletes, including Erik Schlopy, Daron Rahlves and Jimmy Cochran. The CD is hosted by Deborah Phelps, mother of Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps and a middle school principal in Baltimore, Md.

McCann said that they gave all of the interviewees various questions and topics to address so that they covered all aspects of the parent/coach/club relationship.

"We had points where we were curious," McCann said. "We got a good feel for the parents’ and coaches’ philosophies and the same thing with the athletes."

"Parenting is a difficult thing, so if we can help someone, we’re happy, because any advice you can get and anything you can learn from people who have had the experience is critical," Kent Schlopy said in an interview with the USSA.

The educational tool also provides instruction for club organization, developing parent/coach respect, child development and support, training and nutrition tips and forms that clubs can use to help parents become a part of the organization. A 300-page printable document is also part of the package, so ideas can be shared and various documents on the CD may be used.

"We’ve scanned almost every sports parent organization and gathered a lot of good information," McCann said.

Swimming and ski programs aren’t the only ones that can benefit from "Successful Sports Parenting." McCann says that the United Sates Olympic Committee shared the desire to put together such a tool and 11 national sport-governing bodies are now using the product to help improve the quality and experience within their youth clubs. McCann says that the scope of the CD is broad enough that it is applicable to almost any youth league.

"We’re actively working with other organizations to get it in their hands," McCann said.

The information designed for athlete programs for youth ages 5-25, or from when children first join an organized sport until they become elite level athletes.

He also hopes to create a similar product for older youth with the National Federation of High School in the future.

According to McCann, the material is aimed at all entities athletes, parents, coaches and club administrators and says that all three can benefit tremendously from the CD.

"We wanted everyone to realize other aspects," McCann said.

"I think of all the things the CD can do is for parents to listen to coaches as well as athletes listening to the other side," said Marni Schlopy in the USSA interview.

Although the "Successful Sports Parenting" is full of advice to make the entire

process become smoother and more beneficial for all involved, McCann said the true driving force of the material is just to encourage involvement in youth sports.

The cost of the CD ROM is $39.99 retail, $34.99 for partner organization members and $29.99 for USSA members. Schools, groups, and other organizations can get special volume discounts. For more information and samples of the CD, log onto http://www.successfulsportsparenting.com.


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