I’ve been a sports parent for 15 years. (Whoa, how’d I get that old?) So I feel like I’ve been around the block with a lot of different programs and experiences. I’m a huge proponent of athletics because the benefits are innumerable. I’ve watched my kids grow physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially due to sports participation.
But from practices and coaches to snacks, game days, and uniforms (including that one darn missing sock), there’s so much to choose from. How’s a parent supposed to know which sport or organization is the right fit for her family?
If your kiddo is begging to join a team, one Albuquerque option is i9 Sports. Here are 10 reasons why i9 might be a good fit for your little athlete.
1. Big Mission
It is so fun watching your kid score the winning goal or hit a home run. But we all know that life is way bigger than those accomplishments on the field or court. i9’s mission is helping kids succeed in life through sports. They accomplish this mission by teaching sportsmanship values alongside skills and drills every week. I’m sure we can all agree that athletic ability is great and all, but it’s character that kids will need for life-long success.
If you let it, youth sports could consume your life. But not at i9. The i9 organization believes sports shouldn’t prevent the child or their family from having a balanced life. That’s why they hold practices and games on the same day of the week. There’s no travel, no selling concessions, and no additional practices. In addition, there are different sports offered at each location so siblings can each participate in what they’re interested in, but parents only have to go to one place.
i9 Sports take place at 21 locations in the Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Edgewood area. You’re sure to find a place near you. Also, i9 offers flag football, basketball, soccer, cheer, volleyball, baseball, and tennis. So much to choose from!
4. No Try Outs
i9 does not require try outs and doesn’t allow drafts. The pressure is off at i9. There’s a place on a team for everyone.
5. Equal Playing Time
At i9, every athlete gets an equal amount of playing time as opposed to the best players getting the most playing time so a team can win. When the focus is on development as opposed to hyper-competition, you expect that your child will get quality instruction and be given an equal opportunity to develop their skills to the best of their ability.
6. Sample a Sport
Experts say that “single sport specialization at an early age has driven a staggering increase in physical and emotional burnout among kids.” For this reason, i9 encourages participants to try many different sports.
In my experience, this is the best thing i9 has going for it. i9 provides a great opportunity to try a sport to see if your child even likes it before making any kind of long-term commitment. My boys both played basketball with i9. They had fun, got some exercise, and met some new friends. Turns out though, they really didn’t like basketball, but discovered they loved soccer. I call that a win.
i9 charges one reasonable, upfront fee for the season. There are no fundraisers, concession duty, additional uniform charges, or travel expenses that you might find as part of other sports programs.
i9 believes injuries should never be an acceptable consequence of playing youth sports. They offer only non-contact sports and put the physical and emotional safety of their players ahead of all other considerations.
9. Fun & Positivity
i9’s format is unabashedly recreational for the millions of kids across the nation who just want to play sports as they should be . . . fun. They provide healthy competition in a low-pressure environment that focuses on fun, instruction, and good sportsmanship.
10. Local Owners
While i9 is a national organization, the local i9 franchise is owned by a New Mexican couple who run it along with their staff of local families. Even all of their kids help with the family business. All that to say, there are parents in this community making the decisions locally for this organization, not some corporate entity far away. I don’t know about you, but I love supporting local!