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Parents Corner - October Newsletter 

Welcome to our October Newsletter. 
We have scanned the net to find topics we believe will help parents raising young athletes. No parent is perfect, however, here are some topics that might help you on you way to perfection.

Calcium and Children
No place for the selfish coach

Enjoy your reading and don’t forget if you have a topic you would like covered e-mail it to jason@readyrugby.com.au

Calcium and Children

Calcium is an important part of the daily diet, especially for children. It is essential for the growth of strong bones and teeth. Dietitians and dentists recommend that children should meet their calcium needs by eating dairy foods and having a well balanced diet.

Severe calcium deficiency can result in diseases like rickets in children and osteoporosis later in life.

Bones need calcium
Calcium is the most common mineral in the body. Around 99 per cent of the calcium in the body is found in the bones or skeleton; the rest is in teeth, soft tissues and blood. The skeleton is a living tissue and acts as a calcium reservoir, which needs to be topped up daily. A high intake of dietary calcium is essential for growth of strong bones and teeth.

Calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D work together in the body to achieve the right calcium levels that your body needs. Dietitians and dentists recommend that children should get calcium from eating dairy foods and having a well balanced diet.

A low calcium diet in childhood may be linked with osteoporosis later in life. Osteoporosis can lead to fragile bones and an increased risk of fractures.

Milk promotes calcium absorption
Dairy foods are the richest source of calcium in the Australian diet. Calcium absorption is helped by the milk sugar (lactose), which seems to assist in uptake of calcium by the body. Vitamin D and phosphorus also help the body absorb calcium.

Don’t offer too much milk
Too much milk can cause problems. Drinking more than 600ml to 800ml of milk a day may decrease your child’s appetite. They may eat less of other foods and it may affect how their body absorbs iron.

Best sources of calcium in food
The current recommendation for children aged four to 11 years is to eat two to three servings of dairy products per day.

Foods that provide a good source of calcium include:

    * Milk – whole milk, one cup – 295mg calcium
    * Milk – reduced fat, one cup – 350mg calcium
    * Cheese – cheddar, one slice (20g) – 155mg calcium
    * Cheese – cheddar reduced fat, one slice (20g) – 170mg calcium
    * Yoghurt – one tub (200g) – 300mg calcium
    * Cottage cheese – two tablespoons – 27mg calcium
    * Spinach – half cup, cooked – 36mg calcium
    * Sardines – with bones (60g) – 230mg calcium
    * Salmon – canned with bones (60g) – 240mg calcium
    * Almonds – one tablespoon (15g) – 31mg calcium
    * Soy drink – with added calcium, one cup – 300mg calcium
    * Soy drink – no calcium added, one cup – 33mg calcium.

To read more go to www.cyh.com

No Place for the Selfish Coach.

The following are a couple of exerts from an article written by Frances Watson on
October 29, 2008 and posted in the Sydney Morning herald.

"ARE you the coach or manager of your child's sport team? Does your child spend the most time on the field and generally get more chance to shine than others in the team? Then hang your head in shame.

Every extra minute your child gets in play is a minute stolen from another child - a child who joined the team hoping to play sport, not watch your child play sport."

Unfortunately, this often is the unintended case of parents coaching their kid's team. The parent has good intentions of wanting to help their child and team or they are thrust into the position because no one else wants it.

So what is the solution? Simply stagger the age training systems and develop a club policy that can govern the coaching styles. If the club has a clear coaching policy any issues that may arise will be easier to deal with.

To begin with it needs to be understood that children participate in sport for the fun of it. Adults often forget this and use our grown up instincts to set goals based on winning championships, that will come with time if the base is correctly set.

Here are some tips;

Under 10 years
Skill development and the love of the game. Develop the sports basic or core skills during these years, make it fun and they will want to come back when they get to the decisive years.

- Rotation policy - each player should have equal time to participate in all skills or aspects of the game. Regardless of if they are week or poor skilled, the only way they are going to become a skilled player is game time. Never forget children develop at different ages, so the uncoordinated 7 year old may be the star of the team in the under 12's or older, only if you have worked on their core skill level early on.
- Promote teamwork - this is a key aspect for the future of a child's sporting career. If a child can understand the value of working together as a unit over individual talent your team will prosper in the later years when star players no longer win games alone.
- Skill development - focus on the necessary skills needed for the sport. Use games to introduce the skills needed and allow the competitive nature of the children to push them to want to do better. Encourage the players positively if they make mistakes or loose during the games.

10 to 12 years
This is the age they can begin to understand selection and basic strategy. Increase the skill complexity, with out forgetting the fun aspect.

- Kids at this age are capable of dealing with selection and team grading better than the younger ages. Make it clear to all players that the grading system is not final and allows them to go up grades if they perform well. Attempt to play as much internal games with in the clubs to promote equal development and help gage all players capabilities.
- Introduce the basic game strategies, again through games if possible. Things such as holding onto the ball as long as possible in certain parts of the field or defending a certain way all are easy to introduce if you explain why. Always introduce 1 strategy and then back it up with as many game like training sessions as possible before moving to the next strategy.
- Skills development is still crucial. There should be more of an emphasis on skills under pressure, inclusion of more variables and a reduction of time to do a skill. This will increase the pressure aspect and push for performance under pressure.

12 years and above
From here on in competitive levels, intensity and skill demand should be increased. Players are ready for the demand of an academy styled training in which training is based on learning and not only fun. By now players would have made their choice as to the level they want to reach and should be willing to put in the necessary effort to reach these level.

- Increase cardio fitness combined with skill. Players can be pushed further towards exhaustion and still control the skill level. This is a crucial development for players to expand their capabilities and to step out of their comfort zones.
- Technical development should be introduced to suit the players game position. Players should be getting more specific training related to their positions and what is expected of them during the game.
- Physical intensity should increase. Players are ready to grow physically and they should be challenged to stimulate growth. Develop a part of the training session dedicated to the physical nature of the game, concentrate on developing all ares of the body in as free (open) environment as possible. Create scenarios that relate to game aspects in which the player has to use strength or physical presence to complete the task correctly and always explain the relevance.

To read more on this topic go to www.smh.com.au/news/opinion