A few weeks back, I received an almost frantic Saturday night email from a great 2-4-1 mom whose kids attended our camp in years past. While they've since moved to another New England town not unlike West Hartford, she's been so good to stay in touch. I'm sharing the following with her permission as we both agreed it's a conversation lots of folks should be having.

I am writing to you from a place of frustration and in desperate need of someone who gets it to help me navigate this. The world of youth sports has become insane. My son, Jack, who attended your camp and loved it, is a true athlete to the core. He plays premiere soccer at our new town's club and just took his basketball game to the travel team level. The kid has what can't be taught...an amazing attitude, plays with all heart and is so passionate about BOTH his sports. As you can imagine at this level of play, there are numerous families who are all in it for just ONE sport. My poor soon-to-be 11 year old is now faced tonight with the decision of going to his soccer game or basketball tomorrow. What sports have done today is insane. Our family has 5 games this weekend for this kid. He can't go to all of them and has to make a choice. What frustrates me is that it isn't technically soccer season and basketball should come first....however both sports make him feel like he has to be there. How do these successful athletes play more than one sport? People are telling us he has to choose.....I DISAGREE!! He would play every sport if there was enough time in the day. Help ground me!! Thanks for taking the time to read this.
One frustrated and stressed Mom,

"What sports have done today is insane".  Let Julie's words sink in a little bit.  And please recognize that it was a similar moment of outrage nearly a decade ago that led Kerry and I to form 2-4-1 Sports. It's one thing to complain about situations - it's another thing to act on them.  I was reinvigorated by the conversation I had that night with Julie because her parental struggle is one that so many simply give into - and a reminder to me that we still have a long way to go as it relates to youth sports in this country and beyond.   While we talked about many things regarding  forced specialization, the following gives you a sense of what I think are the most important takeaways.
If you deal with angry coaches forcing kids to make choices over what sports to play - you should be choosing new coaches.
Wayne Gretzky Gets It
Wayne Gretzky "The Great One" Gets the 2-4-1 Philosophy

Consider the quote above from Wayne Gretzky - one of the most successful athletes of any sport at any time.  

"I played everything....." For those of you that read my newsletters, you know that the word "play" is pretty important to me. Heck - look at the logo at the top of this newsletter!  We have to remain grounded in play. That said, I recognize that we now live in an era that makes simple access to play more difficult than in years past. So, as I suggested to Julie, you should have a set of family rules and "philosophies".  The bullets below are ones we prescribe to and included are some non-negotiables.  Some of them I simply discussed anecdotally in my conversation with Julie.

  • The in-season sport takes precedence at all times (eg. soccer/fh/football in the fall, basketball/ice hockey in the winter, baseball/softball/lacrosse in the spring).
  • Coaches resumĂ©s should not be built on the win/loss records of children 12 and under, but rather on the number of those children who come back out for their sport the following year.
  • Parents have a responsibility to know and predict unavoidable conflicts that will occur on a regular basis (eg - AAU basketball and school lacrosse both practice from 6-8PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays).  This is a case where you may need to choose (the in-sport season) or find another team/program on the off-nights.
  • If you truly support a multisport philosophy, you should ask if the directors/coaches of the club or league you are joining do as well. (If you question their response - ask them to call me and I will vet it for you. I've done this in the past past and am happy to do again).
  • Children should never be put in the position of having to choose one team over another. When inevitable conflicts arise, have a plan for dealing with it and the adults should make the decision that best serves the child.

I truly appreciated Julie's willingness to reach out and have an honest conversation about the topic. As we begin to accept camper for 2-4-1 Sports @Kingswood Oxford for the Summer of 2016, I think it's an important conversation for all families and coaches involved in youth sports to have. Julie knew deep inside what was right, but she was getting so many conflicting messages from the folks she interacted with on a daily basis, that it's easy to get warn down.  At the end of the day, we recognize that unfortunately kids can't just go outside and find a pick up game like we used to, but we should nonetheless be providing a youth sports culture for kids that allows them to play and experience multiple sports at the highest level they're capable of - without fear of retribution. They are children after all and sports are simply games that are meant to be played. 

Steve Boyle

Choose from 10 Sports with the same great staff as last summer!

Baseball, Basketball, Field Hockey, Soccer, 2-4-Run, Universal Sports,  Lacrosse, Tennis, Volleyball and Football: 2-4-1 Passing League

Summer 2016

Week 1: June 27 - July 1
Week 2: July 4 - July 8

While 2-4-1 Sports has grown to reach a national audience, our home-base and Flagship remains at the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford, CT. With over 500 campers sampling sports over a two week period last year, we're expecting the summer of 2016 to be even better! Please be sure to sign up as early as possible as we expect certain sports to fill up quickly.

Regular Tuition Rates remain the same for the 4th Straight Summer!  Early bird rates available until March 15th.

Our Community Partners
We continue to be blessed by having forged wonderful community partnerships with absolutely incredible organizations.  The Kingswood Oxford School remains our national flagship location.  We are bringing Physical Literacy initiatives to the Bristol Boys and Girls Club of America. We will be evaluating the effectiveness of our classroom BrainErgizers™ created in partnership with UCONN Husky Sport.  All of our initiatives are done with support of Growing Great Schools. Please consider donating to this wonderful organization and participating in their community based events.
It's Not too late to Shop & Give  Back 
Buy these tees for moms and dads and a portion of the proceeds will help support out partner Growing Great Schools.                                                  

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Please Support Our 2015  Sponsors 
At  2-4-1 we are about providing opportunities for children to sample multiple sports. Our sponsors provide the chance for more children to play.

2-4-1 Sports on the Air - Listen to these National Podcasts.
Podcasts are a great way to efficiently use time while driving or working out to catch up on topics of interests, learn new information or to simply be entertained.  
2-4-1 Sports Founder/Director Steve Boyle was recently the guest on two of the most influential youth sports podcasts in the country.  You can download them or listen directly from the websites below.  Here are the links:


2-4-1 Sports
West Hartford, CT