You don’t know what you don’t know, it isn’t your fault. You are doing your best to parent your child to perform at their best, however, good information is tough to find and even harder to implement. On the flip side competition for youth is tougher, sports are more expensive to participate in and you truly believe your child has what it takes. This is why in 2018 Olympian Martin Reader began the OFFBALL movement – because what kids do when they don’t have the ball matters more now than ever before (insert comment on time spent on phones) while access to positive information and guidance or better yet Olympic or professional athlete mentors  aren’t easy to come by…

We expect our athletes and children to calibrate at professional levels yet we aren’t providing them with the mechanisms to manage the stress, recover their bodies and build self worth and an identity for themselves beyond the ball.

We MUST do a better job of teaching and empowering them with self management skills

This “professionalization” of youth sport has us in a race to the bottom of age and talent. Earlier specialization causes increased stress and expectations for families, teams and athletes. The investment of time and money is adding up and that pressure is killing sport culture as we know it is in trouble. We are led to believe that the athlete who trains and competes the most will win  but that is no longer true. If we as parents and coaches are to get young athletes to the next level we must begin instructing stress reduction techniques, self awareness strategies and foundational life systems at younger ages.

A younger more self aware athlete is necessary to survive and excel in current sport

OFFBALL is suite of human development services that provides physical and mental development for athletes seeking higher performance. We have combined Olympic, professional and national athlete and coaching knowledge with robust physical, psychological and nutritional practices. This combination of expertise

A fully developed person in mind, body and life makes a better athlete in sport and in life

Here are the 5 issues that inspired the creation of the OFFBALL Philosophy and Movement.

Issue 1 – 70% of youth are dropping out of sport by the age of 13.

WHY? Because it isn’t fun and they are losing their childhood because it is so competitive and time consuming. They are being drained physically and mentally at a time when they don’t have the coping mechanisms or skill set to handle the stress and pressure. Early single sport specialization, energy burnout, loss of love, hyper fatigue, overuse injuries and widespread identity crisis’ are running rampant in youth. This is NOT acceptable and we must shift the culture and give back sport to our kids…
Click here to read one of many studies supporting this position.

Issue 2 – Kids have a life expectancy of 5 years LESS than their parents

WHY? Simply put our environments have evolved quicker than we have, the pace of life is more stressful than ever, our lifestyles are more convenient, technology is isolating us, our activity levels are incredibly low and we are putting less and less nutrients into our bodies. NOW is the most important time EVER for kids to be active, learn healthy habits, contribute to teams, develop an identity, engage in real life experiences, dream, fail, struggle, strive and see commitments through. All of the above will show up later in life as a strong foundation OR not at all…

Issue 3 – When the journey of sport comes to an end, most athletes are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually drained or worse – broken.

WHY? Current culture is about high performance and winning at all costs to get to the top. The earlier the better – we train harder, longer and faster to squeeze more out of less thinking it will get us further ahead. This mentality of playing for the best team, having the best coach, going to all the camps, working with all the specialists, idolizing stats, putting in 10,000hrs+ and grinding to the top is actually counterproductive for both sport AND life. We have shelved human development and the incredible educational vessel that is sport and replaced it with high performance everything.

Issue 4 – Kids are getting more injured at earlier ages in life and burning out faster…

WHY? This is because kids are playing a single sport too early and too much. This would be an easy fix but sports seemingly require early specialization, extra training and each sport season has extended longer in the calendar year preventing cross pollination of athleticism. If the system isn’t going to change then we better support the system with better coping mechanisms (OFFBALL Academy & APP) so young athletes, parents and coaches can make decisions that better the short term and the long term.
American Society for Sports and Medicine Position Statement on the above

Issue 5 – focus, resilience and Discipline are at an all time low…

WHY? I recognize this is a general statement BUT we are all dealing with it one way and another. Coaches are having a harder time keeping their athletes attentive and focused, teachers are having issues with compliance and listening, parents are struggling with keeping kids engaged in real life because of smart phones and video games and technology in general. Our environments are changing around us faster than we know.The World Health Organization just declared there is a gamin disorder. “Gaming Disorder – characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.” Whether you agree or not isn’t the issue, the issue is that technology provides more dopamine, attention, engagement and gratification than participating in REAL LIFE. This is troubling and we are seeing the above manifest as a lack of focus, anger, anxiety, depression, mental issues, socialization, communication, listening, discipline etc… The most accessible aid or solution to this myriad of issues is PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN REAL LIFE and OFFBALL is setting out to invite kids to get offline, engage in sport, discussions, competition and personal growth in a positive culture together.

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