Why The Rush To Youth Sport Specialization? (Part 1)

YOUNG ICE SKATER

A young skater on his what to learn on step at a time

 

There is a current trend to specialize our youth athletes long before necessary.  Parents don’t get caught in the trap of allowing your child to only participate in their best performing sport. Children under 13 or 14 with little exception need not specialize to get a so called edge on the competition. Being well rounded is the best edge a child can get. I will revisit this topic over  and over again as time  goes n because like I thought when I first began TrackMom.com it is more important now than every.

Well intentioned youth sport coaches often follow the lead of adult elite coaches and develop a training program that is tailor made for an adult but not for a growing child. I cannot overstate the value of varied sports activity. If you or the coach are not allowing your child this opportunity, you are prohibiting her to grow as a complete athlete he could be. This is obviously counterproductive and impedes the optimal development of young athletes.

Research and common sense show that very young  children do not posses the attention span to concentrate on one athletic skill for a prolonged period of time. If forced to they will most often develop poor training  habits,”just to get it over and a technical  form you don’t want them to have , and an arsenal full of attitude you won’t like either. The best of the best athletes rarely chose a single sport to focus on in the beginning. They played and experienced many sports.
Diversification is key. We Know as this as doctors ,coaches but there seems to be a complete disconnect out there in youth sports organization land.  There is more than enough time and opportunity to specialize. FUN is the  first priority.  A few years back I talking to former Olympic Gold medalist  and former Alabama Head coach Harvey Glance he began to share with me that he  started  his track experience at the age of 7. He stated that” he loved running and he loved many other sports as well”. He didn’t just run because he was “good” he ran because it was fun. It wasn’t until 15 or 16 he made the decision to focus on track and field. When he made that decision within 4 to 5 more years he won his first of two gold medals in the 100 meters. Did he lose anything from participating in several other sports not at all. A matter of fact he states he was able to see what would possibly bring him the most success based on comparison.

 

Lots of other activities along the way allowed for a great day of surfing and other water sports during this vacation in Hawaii. they were 12 and 14 in this photo

Give your youth athlete lot’s of positive reinforcement, ask him questions about his feelings and the sports he or she participates in. Remember, it is all-encompassing athletic skill base that leads to proficiency in single sports – not specialization. When “Coach Henry” and would plan for youth meets train Lauren we allayed plan and schedule in some fun. Fun within the workout schedule was so important. The season gets long and tiring for a child(the parent too) A seven year old that would rather at times go play a game  of their  choice. Know your child. Know what he thinks is fun. She if the coach can  develop games that will condition and develop as well as promote fun and enjoyment. In further posts  you will read about Long Term Athletic Development and how it can help shape a true champion and person who can become an active person long after they hang up there  collegiate or professional spikes put away their hockey stick or  stop kicking goals.

People often would say to me that Lauren looks like she is having fun. She looks like an 8 year old. That made and continues to make me very happy .  I believe she will have fun for years to come because that has been out focus through many wins fun and development for something greater  is the focus not the gold medals. They come when she is having fun!

Until Next Time

TrackMom

Caprese Salad On The Go

 

This is One of my favorite salads of all time. It taste good and just the right amount of savory flavors make the kids come back for more and not feel to heavy before a race

This is one of my favorite salads of all time. It taste good and just the right amount of savory flavors that  make the kids come back for more and not feel to heavy before a race. Thanks to The Daily Meal for this recipe and photo

 

It is always so difficult to be the TrackMom “food mind reader” week after week trying to  figure out just what food Lauren “might want to eat”. That said I have learned  why she does like and she will eat almost anything I present in reason. Here is one of our favorite’s it is very easy to make and if you want it to have a little more  nutritious punch simple grab a Costco roasted chicken and shred it. A really quick hint “Kitchen Aid” and mix in with the salad.

A Complete Meal  Fast

Caprese Pasta Salad

1 pound tri-color fusilli pasta, or any kind of short pasta (I use brown rice pasta)

6 ounces genoa salami, cubed

6 ounces provolone cheese, cubed

one 12-ounce jar canned red peppers, olive oil and garlic-marinated, liquid included, chopped into bite-sized pieces

one 8-ounce container fresh bocconcini mozzarella

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus extra shaved for garnish

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup red-wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. When done, rinse in cold water and drain. Place in a large bowl and add the next 7 ingredients, including the olive oil and garlic from the jar of peppers. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper and shake well. Pour over the salad and toss to coat. Cover and chill for 8 hours or overnight. Toss before serving. Garnish with shaved Parmigiano.

Visit the DailyMeal.com for lots of great on the go meals

Until Next Time

10 Quick Tips For A Busy Sports Mom

 

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TrackMom Energy Balls this is a cool Hack  of the                Lara Bars

 

What’s In The Snack Bag Mom?  What to Take to the Track Meet  

I  know your thinking , ”Track Season is here yet she writing tips on track meet food now” ?

Simple, I now have what I call clear ”Brain Space” with the season not quite here yet to think about things, that will help next season. These tips just may help you get ahead of the curve next season and feed your  athlete and family a little better in the process.

1. Always Make A List  during the week for your Track Meet meals. If you go shopping for your weekend without a list, you may as well just throw your money away. Poll your family and see what it is they like to eat.Think about your athletes events and types of food that best serve his fueling needs during the day. Example: if Lauren ram  the 100m in the morning  I would know I have to get her fueling needs for the race in the early am usually around 6am so that by 9am she is fueled and ready to go.

My list would for sure have bananas on it because she likes them in the shakes I give her in the mornings . Usually most mom’s or dad’s that pack the meals week after week know what the family and athlete likes , so this step of preparation is very important and easy. Do it at work during lunch on a break while watching TV. Pulling from your weekly menu (next tip) and checking to make sure you don’t have it in your pantry, fridge or freezer. Make sure you’re not forgetting anything. Now stick to that list.

2.Plan out a weekly menu. This is the best way to ensure that your list is complete, and that you have enough to serve your family atthe meet. It’s a good idea to plan a weekly menu and then duplicate it for the next week – this way I can shop for two weeks at once. of course you will have to go to the store more than once for the fresh items.

3. Have a budget. When I go to the store, I have to know exactly how much I can spend. Otherwise I will always over spend and get things I don’t need. I try my best to stick within that limit.

4. Keep a list on your fridge, and write things down immediately. When you run out of something, don’t leave it to your memory. My memory is shot so I can leave to my memory If I want it :-) Jot it down immediately, and you’ll never have to run back to the store because you don’t have turkey meat or bread.

5 Keep favorite items stocked for quick-n-easy meals. Easy meals for us might be turkey sandwiches or in our house baked chicken wings which Henry loves a the meets. I try to always have these the ingredients on hand, so I can whip something up fast and tasty when I am feeling lazy.

6.Think Variety not just tradtional lunch foods. We have vegetarian meals some times like  California rolls , brown rice pasta pasta. Think Asian, Indian and other such cultural foods.

7.Pack your own lunch snacks. Buying pre-made snacks is convenient, but a big waste of money. Buy little baggies and buy the snacks in bulk, then it will take just a few minutes to pack some snacks for lunch over the weekend.
8.Bake a cake every once in a while. Instead of number 6 above , if you have time (or make time) bake a cake and cookies(more often cookies) for a nice change of paste. When make them I know I have put healthy ingredients in them and I don’t have concern about HFCS or perservatives. Our friends love them and really it feels nice to share homemade items with the team and friends.

See the picture above homemade by me find that recipe and moreat “Food For The Athlete”  One of MY Many Pinterest Boards  :-)

9.Don’t buy junk food (or buy as little as possible). Junk food not only costs a lot of money for zero nutrition, but it makes you and your family overweight  and can decrease your quality  of life  Talk about a bad deal! Opt for fruits and veggies instead. The food at the track meets is not that healthy, so I make a habit not to go to the stand unless absolutely necessary (which it has been from time to time) Lets face it we ate  out there  every weekend, you could really pack some extra pounds off of the “tasty fat they serve there”. I realize this is how teams make money so we do purchase sometime to support but never for a meal,if I can help it.

10. Go for whole foods. When preparing meal for the meet  remember, the processed kinds of foods are lacking in nutrition . Look for things in their least processed form – whole grain , fresh fruit instead of canned or juice, whole grain cereal or oatmeal instead of all other kinds of processed sugar filled cereal. You get the idea.

 

After The Meet….

 **My Favoritie ** Make a Crock Pot Meal and salad before you leave for the track and when you get home you will have dinner ready and not be tempted to grab fast food. These meals are easy, cheap and tasty. Put a few pieces of seasoned chicken(I use 6-7 thighs or drumsticks with a tiny bit of water in the bottom, cut up a bunch veggies and spices , throw them in the pot in the morning, cover and go and have dinner ready for you when you get home. sometimes I mix up corn bread batter and place in the fridge,when I get home just pop that in the oven. A complete meal  FAST…….Can anything be more perfectly easy than that?

 

Until Next Time

 

What Are You Thinking About?

TrackMom Picture

This picture was taken at a LA Jets Meet 2008  Birmingham High School 6 Years ago. It seems as if it was just a year or two. A lot has changed but many things are, for now the same. I still have the same passion and drive for the sport I love so much. What has changed is that, I now have new “hobbies” that compete with track as something I could do day in and day out as time allows.

My original focus of TrackMom.com was Age Group Track oriented,now it will be a much broader scope of age group through Pro’s and also much broader topics and post that will reflect my above  mentioned  interests and passions.

My focus as a TrackMom has not changed, but I do focus on much more now on how track affects her academic and  future life endeavors . Fortunately she has always been a very good student and I didn’t have to monitor so much. Now she is  still a good student .But trying to get extra academic activities in with training and regular school work is tough. Need I mention a social calendar, I would have loved  but didn’t have much of  as a teen.

She is a Student Athletic Trainer at Oaks Christian and she takes her job seriously. I am laughing while writing this because while it is a good introduction to the field it really is just a truck load of fun for the kids to be out there on the field while the game is being played. Heck parents  pay to be on the side lines(which I am not one) and enjoy that view as well. Lots of things are important and I am blessed She and WE all enjoying our new journey.

She can't play foot ball but she sure wishes she could Powder Puff her she comes

She can’t play football but she sure wishes she could
Powder Puff here she comes

A male colleague  of mine earlier this week said that “You think very linear”… He went on to say, many men do but he felt women rarely do. I said “is that good or bad?”  It is true, I can be very much like a horse with blinders and the finish line is the only goal,very methodical not a lot of fluffy decorations in my way of seeing the world.

So yes,  I may be more  “linear”  but I still want to  expand my interests pool of topics and I hope you will drop me an email and let me know just what you want to see and hear about on TrackMom.com  What Are You Thinking About?

 

Until Next Time

 

Gluten Info 101: Wheat Products The Bad and The Ugly (Part 1)

 

No wonder people just can't get enough of Gluten filled foods this puff pasty    looks so yummy. Photo Found on LereveBakery.com

No wonder people just can’t get enough of Gluten filled foods this puff pasty  looks so yummy. Photo Found on LereveBakery.com

By now most people have heard of Gluten…The pesky ingredient in wheat that causes insidious and some times life altering problems.

Over 18 years ago my very wise granddad Lorenzo Cantlo told me “you better take the gluten out of your diet sweetie, that stuff ain’t good for you”. I knew he was right (well kinda) but I felt like those “bad things you are talking about can’t happen to me. I am young and well your not… granddad”

Guess what I am not so young anymore and yes those “bad things” are happening to me and worse yet my lovely Lauren and she clearly isn’t old. So here I am on my own Gluten Free Family Journey .

18 years ago barely anyone knew what the word gluten meant, let alone gave any thought to avoiding it. But now gluten-free awareness is every where and this is a good thing. It is the awarness that has driven the rage of new diets .I think it is all good no matter what reasons a person choses to begin the journey.

So as I begin to share a few things about my journey from time to time, I also want to inform you about the basics of Celiac disease and  gluten ingestion. And just how serious this ingredient that we have grown to love so much can impact our lives.

So let’s get started!

Just what is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in foods processed from wheat and related to grain , this substance is also found in barley and rye. It gives the wonderful texture we love so much to dough, helping h helping bread to rise fully for that chewy goodness and the ability to keep its shape . Gluten is also found in a host of unassuming products like condiments, imitation meats that taste like chicken, duck even fish, pork and beef. Many cosmetics and dermatological preparations often contain wheat based additives. Gluten is regularly used as a stabilizing agent in products like ice cream and ketchup, where it might be unexpected and very unwanted.

How does gluten hurt you?

” Experts say,between 0.5 and 1.0 percent of people in the United States are sensitive to gluten due to Celiac disease. Celiac disease constitutes an abnormal immune reaction to partially digested gliadin. It probably occurs with comparable frequencies among all wheat-eating populations in the world.[19] Certain allergies and neuropathies are also caused by gluten consumption and inhalation. In some instances what is known as cross contamination can occur without the person even being aware that they are ingesting gluten. Reported examples occur when people share silverware or other eating instruments. Wheat allergy and coeliac disease are different disorders.

Gluten sensitivity is often misdiagnosed because doctors often relate its daily symptoms to other causes. When a person eats gluten that is sensitive , the immune system responds by attacking the gluten molecule in your body. When the gluten reaches your small intestine the place where nutrients are absorbed for good health, the little tiny hair like structures called villi are damaged. Over time they flatten out and become useless to absorbing nutrients. Next the toxins and gluten fragments can pass through the damaged intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. The body will view these foreign substances as unwanted invaders and respond by attacking them and your cells. When the body can’t absorb the nutrients, a state of malnutrition can occur and can lead to many different symptoms.

What are some signs of a gluten sensitivity or allergy?

Only an estimated 150,000 have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Many people can be asymptomatic for years, and the symptoms of celiac disease can also overlap with other medical problems. It becomes very confusing to the patient and doctors responding to these symptoms. Don’t give up gluten yet If you go off gluten entirely before having a test done, your results may come back negative even if you have the disease.

Celiac disease has hundreds of recognized symptoms, according to the Celiac Sprue Association, a nonprofit for those with the disease. Here are some common problems:

* Chronic diarrhea or constipation

*Abdominal pain *bloating

*Unexplained weight loss

* Hair loss

*Anemia

*Fatigue

* Infertility

*Headaches or Migraines

To Be Continued

Ahlstrom, S. & Brathen, E. (1997). “Effects of enzyme preparations for baking, mixing time and resting time on bread quality and bread staling”. Food Chemistry, 58, 1, 75-80. Effects of wheat variety and processing conditions in experimental bread-baking studied by univariate and multivariate analysis.
Edwards, N.; Mulvaney, S. J.; Scanlon, M. G.; Dexter, J. E. (2003). “Role of gluten and its components in determining durum semolina dough viscoelastic properties”. Cereal chemistry 80 (6): 755–763. doi:10.1094/CCHEM.2003.80.6.755. Retrieved 2007-08-14.
“Celiac Disease”. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House. National Institutes of Health (NIH). 2004. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
“Celiac disease”. Consensus Development Panel on

Until Next Time

Are You On The Right Track ?

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 I am reminded that more than a few times a runner that looks back  during a race , can lose the race by not focusing on what was ahead.  I Praise The Lord for straightening a path that is ours as a family to run . His infinite wisdom and patience prevails and continues to guide us even when we have taken a miss step or looked back. God Lives in the Here and Ahead never does he say look back, but warns that looking back can be calamitous .  HINT…Sodom and Gomorrah.  Being on the right path brings peace that only someone that has experienced it can understand. He has Illuminated  my heart, given me a joyous appreciation and a clearer understanding of what it means to do as Psalms 46:10 requests

“BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM  LORD”

Welcome To TrackMom.com

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Point Magu Beach, we attended a very moving and special baptism here for our friend Lucy from Germany

 

I thought about naming this post “What I did on my summer vacation” Or “What I did while I was figuring out what I wanted to do with TrackMom.com”  Pictures speak a thousand words,  but before I share….I am excited to be back and I hope if you happen to come by for the first time , you will come back as I recreate “my little engine that could” know as TrackMom.com  I have lots to put up in the weeks ahead. Come and join or rejoin My journey as Lauren’s Mom and a passionate TrackMom  and parent like many  of you.

Here are a few pictures for a visual account of how regular people celebrate the summer  time  fun in the sun and surf and a bit more

 

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Sorted through old pictures to make a very nice photo album for Lauren . My dad and Mom and Lauren 4 months old ..              WHERE DID  15 YEARS GO???

 

 

Went the best wedding  every and guess what the guest were surprised !

Went to the best wedding every and guess what the Guest Were Surprised !

Got to hang out  with my #2 sister Lisa which is a ver rare occurrence  especially in the summer

Got to hang out with my #2 sister Lisa which is a very rare occurrence especially in the summer

Spent time  with one of my AMAZING FRIENDS Tonya,as she help  whip the Williams into shape with a needed closet makeover for every one in the house this is Lauren's closet

Spent time with one of my AMAZING FRIENDS Tonya,as she help whip the Williams into shape with a needed closet makeover for every one in the house this is Lauren’s closet

 

This is my friend Tonya she is the Genius behind  my closet renovation above. All the way from Florida. Sure glad she is my friend  cause I couldn't afford her MAGIC TOUCH

This is my best friend Tonya, she is the Genius behind the closet renovation above. All the way from Florida. Sure glad she is my friend cause I couldn’t afford her        MAGIC TOUCH

 

 

 

 

What was obviously missing was hot track meets, rushing to and from airports to get to the next city  and start all over again, stealing a corner of a canopy for shade. Conversations about “What high school  Lauren would be going to in the fall for 10th grade year, watching amazing athletes from around the country as we had done for 6 previous years. With no more than a quick conversation in our family  we deeded  this was a great time to take a break from our treadmill summers since she was 7 1/2 years old. This was the first time she celebrated her birthday as she chose. There was no running the  100m or 200m prelims or a final of some sort. While we all missed the sport we love so much we all needed a break especially Lauren and  this summer she was a regular teenager this  going to beach, and the mall with friends. Going on our annual girls vacation to Palms Springs and getting ready for the new school and a new chapter for TrackMom and TrackGirl too.

I believe God willing this will be  the last  time for a while that track will not be in our equation as the main summer activity.  Runners Take Your Mark…

Until Next Time

Start Where You Are

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I get a great deal of comfort from these  words. No one starts a project will the  final result . If you are fortunate or just plain lucky enough  you may, with a level of perseverance  end  with the final product you had in mind from the beginning.

So ,“Just Start Where You Are” …Such simple words yet  so profound. One step at a time one project or in my case one post at a time ( my adult ADD causes me at times to indulge in a severe case of multi-tasking) .

This summer I purposely planned a big group of projects with the idea of one at a time to completion in excellence, no skipping steps…..It worked  out very well, but I have to admit toward  the end of my month of DIY exploits I did kinda rush it at bit , but this is the first time I have ever done so much in such a short amount of time.  I am a believer now .   No multi-tasking allowed or needed.

 

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I call this my civil war dresser, it reminds me of an old jacket with those black knobs on it. I couldn’t be happier with the result.

The first of many DIY redo projects in the  TrackGirls’ bedroom this summer.  This was her  theme idea and the American Flag was the inspiration ,and that lead to the creation of the Americana/Team USA Theme.”Every Girl ‘Gotta Have A Goal :-)

 

 

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This small chest use to be all white. The red has given it new life.

 

 

This notion of “Start Where You Are” at applies to our athletes also, as their strive for the  heights of competition,  highest level of talent they can achieve or simply love of the sport.

Our athletes need to know they can start where they are at and grow from there. To be The best They can be. Not just what we as parents Want…. but who they are in there moment.

Acquiring new skills sets is what makes all of us better at  anything we  endeavor to do better . This is  especially  true in sports. Being unafraid or afraid and just doing it anyway is the game changer for your 4th and goal 5 secs  win.  The final lap in the Championship State Meet or Junior Olympic Final . Or for me  just a simply  30 days personal challenge of DIY  joy and pushing though to the end for personal satisfaction and acquiring a new skill from which many more projects will be born.

Start where you are at you never know where you will end. For sure it will be a little further than you just might think.

 

Until Next Time

New Beginnings Are a Glorious Thing

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The First Day Of October    My Day Of New Beginnings       Photo Credit SonShineAndRain

 

 

This tree resides just east of my front door. The morning I took this photograph I simply stepped out the door angled  to the right and look up and snapped. I didn’t do any fancy alterations to it at all,what you see is exactly what I saw.

I love autumn. As the leaves  change (although I since I live in So California the changes aren’t as noticeable) there is still a distinct  feel of the settled  cooling that only fall brings.  In nature the autumn equinox  represents a stage of preparation for the winter that will follow .

In my youth I didn’t understand that as such, but I always felt it. When most people were going about the normal business of  coming celebrations of the fall October Halloween, and November Thanksgiving which follows a month later I always  began what I felt was my New Year preparation. I don’t like waiting until January 1st  to begin contemplating another year of life and growth…Yes even as a child I though about those sorts of things  as I watch lots of Mr.Ed and Batman and reruns :-)

October is the month of my birth, right in the middle of the month and I believe I came to understand October as a time of my new beginnings.

Always A Good Thing

I guess it is the impatience I seem to have been “blessed” with. Along with many other things in my TM life with this post, I am back with a new perspective, a grateful attitude if even one person who read my post before has by some miracle happened across my return to one of my  (too) many passions and enjoyments in life. The difference now is I will share a lot more of them right here while I continue to figure out what’s a TrackMom to do as her TrackGirl runs for her dream and into her future.

At any rate if you have been a visitor of TrackMom.com you couldn’t have miss the fact that I abruptly stop writing shortly after (or was it in the middle?) Junior Olympics 2013.  But even before that I was  coming up a little empty on writing posts I thought would be meaningful and fun for my audience .

Thus the hiatus until I figured out why I was writing  and what I want to write about or should I continue to write….. Guess you figured out in part my conclusion….

I  happily welcome you  or welcome you back and invite you join in the newest version of Me  and TrackMom.com . As I cozy up to my  favorite toy..My iMac and figure out just what makes me tick and maybe you too, there will be some new things as Lauren begins her second year of high school and her first season of high school track  as part of Oaks Christian Track and Field Track Team.

 

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Welcome To The “Pride” Oaks Christian

 

 

 

First Day Of School With Lauren's Cousins Miah (SR) Myles (Soph)

First Day Of School With Lauren’s Cousins Miah (SR) Myles (Soph)

 

 

 

TrackMom and TrackGirl   The Journey Continue

TrackMom and TrackGirl
The Journey Continues