Liberty Mutual Celebrates the Core Values of Youth Sports This Fall

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http://www.ResponsibleSports.com Offers Resources and Tools to Help Parents and Coaches Teach Kids that Sports are About More than Winning

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If coaches and parents communicate with other and with the athletes themselves, they can work together to emphasize the Responsible Sports values of honoring their game, effort, confidence and personal improvement that will manifest throughout the school year, on and off the field.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in a recent survey that the percentage of kids who frequently participate in at least one team sport plummeted from 49 percent at age 10 to 30 percent at age 18. The decline is partially due to the emphasis in organized youth sports on elite players and the practice in many schools of forcing young athletes to specialize in a single sport - in short, too much focus on producing top athletes and winning games. To help all kids reap the benefits of organized sports this fall, Liberty Mutual's Responsible Sports program takes the focus off winning and emphasizes the core values of sports - effort, confidence and personal improvement.

Liberty Mutual's Responsible Sports program, created by Liberty Mutual Insurance in 2007 in partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), US Youth Soccer, USA Hockey and the Amateur Softball Association(ASA), provides resources, tools, tips and advice for parents and coaches at ResponsibleSports.com to help them give children the opportunity to experience the core values of sports. By championing and celebrating responsibility in youth sports, Liberty Mutual's Responsible Sports program supports volunteer youth sports coaches and parents who help our children succeed both on and off the field.

''Liberty Mutual recognizes that the goal of sports is more than just athletic development, it's creating positive influences on the personal growth of children,'' said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president of consumer marketing. ''As we head into the fall sports season, the Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports program, through its online resources and community grants, will help young athletes, parents, teachers and coaches experience and impart the values of commitment, discipline, responsibility and teamwork.''

To help alleviate the financial burden that many volunteer coaches may assume to provide a valuable youth sports experience, Liberty Mutual and PCA are offering youth sports organizations the chance to apply online for one of twenty $2,500 Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports Community Grants from September 1 through November 30. By recruiting parents, coaches, administrators and community members to complete the online curriculum at ResponsibleSports.com, groups will improve their chances of earning $2,500 to help fund their team, league, or school program. To date, Liberty Mutual has awarded $200,000 in Responsible Sports Community Grants to 80 youth sports teams and organizations around the country since 2007.

''Running an organized sports team is no easy task for a coach or parent,'' said Jim Thompson, founder and executive director of Positive Coaching Alliance. "If coaches and parents communicate with other and with the athletes themselves, they can work together to emphasize the Responsible Sports values of honoring their game, effort, confidence and personal improvement that will manifest throughout the school year, on and off the field."

The Responsible Sports website (ResponsibleSports.com) provides resources for responsible coaches and parents to help children improve on-field performance and learn life lessons that sports can uniquely provide. The parenting section of ResponsibleSports.com includes tips on how to be a responsible parent, information on setting goals with youth athletes, areas for parents to exchange ideas and ask questions of other parents and coaches, and coursework and quizzes to help identify and capitalize on the many opportunities sports provide to teach valuable life lessons to children.

In the coaching section, ResponsibleSports.com offers information on how to be a responsible coach, including tips on coaching tactics and providing emotional support to players, and The Responsible Coaches Code, which shows coaches how to honor the game and lead by example. Coaches can apply many of the same principles to get the most out of the youth athletes they coach while giving the most back to them as a responsible coach.

To access the Responsible Sports tips and tools and additional information on Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports Community Grants, visit ResponsibleSports.com.

About the Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports Program
Liberty Mutual founded the Responsible Sports program in 2007 as a means to celebrate the positive impact that everyday, responsible actions can have on our youth. As a responsible insurance company, Liberty Mutual believes that youth sport coaching and youth sport parenting are clear examples of how people can unite to promote the fundamental ideals of community.

Created by Liberty Mutual in partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance, US Youth Soccer, USA Hockey and the Amateur Softball Association, the Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports program provides resources for parents and coaches at ResponsibleSports.com to help children reap the full benefits of playing a team sport. The online community incorporates blogs, videos, and best practices on youth sports topics that provide practical, real-world advice. Parents and coaches also can complete coursework on positive sports mentoring that offers best practices for handling challenging sports scenarios.

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Glenn Greenberg
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