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We all hear about the sports moms who spend most of their time chasing after and picking up their kids. But what IS the role of all those mothers of kids in youth sports?

In HOME TEAM ADVANTAGE: THE CRITICAL ROLE OF MOTHERS IN YOUTH SPORTS, Brooke de Lench looks beyond the minivan-chauffeuring, frazzled women behind children's athletics. In this culmination of experience and research, de Lench examines everything from when to register kids for sports to how to handle bad coaching situations.

This wonderful resource is divided into three major sections: "Part I: The Role of Sports Mothers in the Family"; "Part II: Sports Mothers, Coaches, and Other Parents"; and "Part III: What Mothers Can Do to Reform Youth Sports."

Part I steps mothers through the process of getting children started in sports. Knowing what sport(s) to register your child in is just as important as determining a good age to begin. Also discussed are differences between boys and girls, the need for balancing family schedules, preventing abuse, and dealing with injuries and injury prevention.

Part II addresses the ever-growing concerns over abusive coaches and parents, as well as ways to handle such situations.

Part III gives great tips for mothers (and fathers) to advocate for their kids. Mothers can and should take active roles in their kids' sports. Besides driving and providing snacks, there are many more ways to contribute, even if a mom is a busy professional.

The material in this book is concise and well written. Some themes are repeated throughout the book, but these are important ideas that cannot be expressed enough (such as whether the kids are having fun, safety, and so on).

While this book is directed at mothers, this is a valuable resource that all parents of youth athletes should have, and it should be required reading for coaches and staff. Do not miss out on Brooke de Lench's wonderful contribution to the world of youth sports.

Christina (Chicago, IL)

I am a mother in my early 40's to five sports active children, a graduate of an Ivy League college and graduate school with a degree in psychology. I also played soccer in college. I state these facts hoping to give some validity to my opinion.

I read this book over the weekend after hearing author de Lench speak on a radio show in Arizona last week. This book is incredible!!! Finally a person who is NOT afraid to hang it out there about the abuse that IS going on in youth sports all across this country. She has identified and obviously done an amazing amount of research on the spectrum of abuse in youth sports; sexual, physical and YES emotional abuse. We all know it is happening--now we know what to do about it without further harm to our children by coach centered coaches.

Unlike a few of the other books available for sports parents, Ms. de Lench is the first youth sports parenting expert who writes from the heart (lots of great personal stories) and from the head (she works with sports parents every day). She did not write the book before her children played sports or even during their early years. She wrote it at the end of their college careers. For me there is nothing like tapping into the mind of a veteran sports mother for the deep wisdom and seasoned advice.

This easy to read yet sophisticated book should be given out by every pediatrician when every mother asks the question, "should my child play organized ball" ---the answer is empathically YES--as long as you know exactly what to expect and how to prevent serious injury, abuse and the typical problems that plaque the culture. Home Team Advantage will arm you with everything you need to know to be a successful sport parent. High Fives on this book!

A Mother of Five ( Arizona )

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