National Youth Sports Week: Ensuring Participation Through P.L.A.Y.S.

National Youth Sports Week 2019

It’s National Youth Sports Week, which runs annually between July 15 – 21. Organized by The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) and The Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports, the week’s celebrations see a host of events, workshops, and showcases for youth sports organizations, as well as collaborations with members of local, state and national government officials in the nation’s capital and across the country. It’s all part of the NCYS’s broader, year-round goal of promoting healthy lifestyles, safety, community building, and the values of sportsmanship, civility, and fun instilled in youth sports.

There is also a focus on providing greater access to sport for children throughout the United States, advocating for legislation relating to youth athletics, and, per the Congressional Caucus’s mission statement, “restoring a child-centered focus in youth sports that will produce immeasurable positive benefits for the well-being and character development among this nation’s youth.”

P.L.A.Y.S.

Central to the goals of National Youth Sports Week is an emphasis on P.L.A.Y.S—Physical activity, Living healthy, Access, Youth development and Safety.

Originally introduced as a House bill in 2015 by Rep. Ron Kind (D-NC), alongside 11 members of the Youth Sports Caucus, the P.L.A.Y.S. Act contains and describes the central tenets at the heart of National Youth Sports Week, which aims to:

  • Promote increased participation in youth sports
  • Improve the health and positive youth development impacts of youth sports
  • Implement coach training and certification
  • Develop coaching guidelines
  • Create an athlete code of conduct
  • Develop evaluation and results implementation process
  • Instruct positive parental involvements
  • Foster a positive sport experience for all such as regarding nutrition practices, academic performance, encouragement of life-long practices, and promotion of positive self-image
  • Promote safety and health, including background checks, abuse prevention and nutrition practices

(Source)

The Importance of Youth Sports

As youth sports continue to face a number of controversies and crises (such as seeing 70% of participants drop out by the age 13), it’s important that we all band together to make them thrive once more. The values learned through participation in youth sports—including fair play, team work, integrity, sportsmanship, and agility—will stay with them for life, which is why it’s essential that we support organizations like the NCYS  and continue to advocate for legislative support of youth sports.

To learn more about National Youth Sports Week, and to find events taking place in your area, visit their official website. And check this spot throughout the next week (and year-round) for more stories about all things youth sports!