Dear Coach: All my 11-year-old son wants to do is play video games. How can I get him involved in sports?
Dear Tied: Persuading your kid to trade a PlayStation for a playground takes creativity. First, set firm time limits on his couch-potato pursuits and encourage active recreation. Also, don't feel compelled to funnel your child into competitive sports, which often place a premium on success over participation. Consider individual activities in which he'll find it easier to realize personal goals. "Expose your child to a wide variety of sports," says Joel Fish, director of the Center for Sport Psychology in Philadelphia. "Try biking, rock climbing, anything. Find something your child considers interesting and at which he can achieve success. Any mode of exercise will do."
Dear Coach: I coach a peewee league (ages 6-9) football team, and I have trouble getting the kids to listen to me. How can I get their attention?
Dear Ignored: You're dealing with peewee-sized attention spans, so avoid long speeches and repetitive tasks. "One of the cardinal rules with young players is to keep your instructions simple and short," says John Haubenstricker, head of Michigan State's Institute for the Study of Youth Sports. "Children want to do, not observe." So observe the law of perpetual motion: Keep your team active by splitting it into small groups for minigames that give each child ample playtime. If you've got a staff, let each coach supervise a station dedicated to a particular skill—passing, catching—and rotate players through quickly.