Mercer County, Pennsylvania

Mercer County, Pennsylvania


youth sportsThe Source for Information
on Youth Sports

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The youth sports resource page has information to help you become a better player or coach. It also provides the resources for parents so their child maximizes their youth sports experience. You have invested your time and money, why not invest in the resources to maximize the experience?

Click Below To Receive Information On Each Sport


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The Fundamentals of a Great Golf Swing
By William Hopper

It has been said that a golfer's swing never looks as beautiful as when he is throwing his club in anger. If this is true then the perfect golf swing is clearly something that we must do without thinking too much about it. It is impossible to become a good golfer without perfecting a good golf swing. A good golf swing is of course a consistent one, it is a swing that allows the player to replicate past favorable results, and this consistency and good form is something that the good golfer achieves over time without actually thinking about it.

An understanding of the fundamentals of a good golf swing is the cornerstone of a good golf game. A good golfer is above all else consistent, and that consistency comes from a consistent and fundamentally sound swing. Golf swing fundamentals begin with the club grip, and how the ball is addressed. A superior grip (for right-handed golfers) is one that is comfortable and allows the player to extend the index finger of his right hand about one finger's width. Many people are not aware of this, but having and extended knuckle will impart more power on their stroke, and it will provide interesting tactile feedback as the ball is being struck. When using this method the golfer will understand exactly what all of this means as soon as he puts this into practice.

Addressing the ball is part of what golf instructors call the "setup position", and is one of the most commonly overlooked of aspects of the game. The correct setup position means that both feet along with both legs, arms, shoulders, and even the eyes are all in alignment and parallel to the imaginary line stretching from the ball to the hole. The very best way to visualize this is to imagine a set of railroad tracks where the golfer's feet are standing on the inside rail, and the ball is resting on the outside rail. As far as the feet are concerned, they should normally be about shoulder-width apart when addressing the ball for middle iron shots. Swinging shorter irons will require the player to assume a stance that is a few inches shorter than that and for long irons and woods; the stance should be about two inches wider than normal.

The quality of a golf swing is going to rest entirely on the golfer's set up. If he gets that, part right, the chances of improving his game increase dramatically. Good golf swing fundamentals include assuming the right setup position with respect to balance. For normal golf shots, the weight of the golfer should be evenly balanced equally between both feet while he stands slightly on the balls of his feet, and not on his toes, or on his heels. The exception to this rule is for long shots made with woods or drivers where the player should place about 60% of his weight on his back foot. With study, and/or the help of an instructor any golfer can learn the fundamentals of a great golf swing, and isolate and eliminate in theirs the problems that keep them from playing the very best golf of their lives.

William Hopper is a longtime amateur golfer. He's spent years working on developing the perfect golf swing. During that time, he's picked up a number of great tips to develop his golf swing speed and further improve his game. Happy driving!

The High Cost of Kids' Sports

By Claudine Zap

On the phone from Seattle, Sherry Weinberg Cromett ticks off the long list of sports: gymnastics, soccer, swim team, skiing, T-ball. Not to mention tennis, bike riding, and roller-skating. Then the costs: Bike: $200. Gymnastics lessons: $80 a month. Swimming lessons: $75 a month. Soccer season: $75. Ski lessons: $500 for a week at Whistler.

Now multiply all that by two and you've got the beginning of the wallet-gouging bill for parents who want their twin girls involved in athletic activities.

For Sherry and her husband Mark, who both have well-paying jobs, cost was not a game-ender. "We want the kids to be exposed to these things." The working mom added, "We find the most economical way to do it. But it was never a question; it's a matter of how and when and where."

The activities are varied, as she and husband want their twin daughters, who are aged six, to explore many different sports "to see what they like." (Full disclosure: Cromett and this writer attended college -- but played no sports -- together.)

A hidden cost: The challenge for working parents to transport their kids to and from endless activities. The couple work full-time and employ a babysitter to take their daughters, who are on the same schedule, from school to practice. Another added expense: switching out uniforms, shoes, and even equipment mid-season for growing kids.

But even this sizable chunk of cash for kids' activities can look like a relative bargain compared to some of the priciest activities out there.

For parents of elementary school-aged kids who are just getting involved in team sports, there are many years -- and costs -- ahead, depending on how serious the student athletes are about the sports they choose. Expenses often include equipment, uniforms, travel, and private lessons.

Here is a rundown of some of the most expensive sports.

Horse riding
This may be a case of, if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it. Not only do parents pony up for private lessons, pricey equipment like horse saddles, bridles, crop, and boots -- but there's the upkeep of boarding a horse. That includes feeding, vet bills, and stall rental. Competition fees add up, too. The hefty bills can tally into the thousands each year, easily. A story in the Daily Mail notes that Bill Gates reported spent $50,000 to $75,000 each on four elite jumping horses for daughter Jennifer Gates, along with laying out $50,000 for stables and trainers.

Ice Hockey and Figure Skating
If your little one takes to the ice, prepare to take a beating at the bank. Equipment alone for ice hockey can be upwards of $250. Skating lessons before learning with the stick run around $100 for one session. For beginning figure skaters, the cost of lessons runs slightly more, to $130. But if the hobby turns into a serious sport, costs for coaches, travel, and cross-training can run $1,000 to $3,000 a year.

Recreational sessions run around $15 to $20 per class. Competitive gymnastics sessions typically cost $150 to $300 a month, depending on the hours spent training. Gymnastic camps, like the one offered by Olympic team trainer Bela Karolyi, is $475 for one week.

The game is played by both girls and boys -- and is the fastest-growing sport in the United States, with teams starting as young as kindergarten. For boys, the contact sport requires padding and protective gear: gloves, helmet, shoes, chest padding for the goalie, elbow pads, and shoulder pads, along with a lacrosse stick; all that can set parents back $650. The girls' version of the game, closer to the original Native American sport, does not allow body checks. That leaves the stick, which can be as much as $250, a mouth guard, a face guard, and shoes.

Other sports that carry large price tags due to private instruction include golf, swimming, and sailing.


Top Sports Myths Debunked

By Claudine Zap

Myth: You should keep your eye on the ball.
The Facts: Baseball is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball ... but should you watch the ball? An exhaustive look at baseball statistics leads the blog LiveScience to conclude that ball players who watch the ball will miss it. In fact, a ball pitched by a pro player can go upwards of 90 to 100 miles per hour, too fast for the eye to track it. The best players will take the first couple of pitches to anticipate where the ball will come across the plate. LiveScience also notes that catching a ball takes the same kind of geometry on the fly: "Good players do not run to a place where the ball will land and then wait for it, but rather catch the ball while running," Ken Fuld, visual psychophysicist at the University of New Hampshire, said.

Myth: Gymnastics stunts growth.
The Facts: It's true that a typical gymnast tends to be of smaller build. But that is "more due to the fact that that makes them well suited for the sport," writes Daniel Green, orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery, in New York, on the MissOMoms blog. Growth issues could come from an eating disorder, but that's more of an issue with the most competitive athletes. Or, issues could result from "repetitive impact on a limb" -- causing one limb to be shorter than the other, for example -- but that is "exceedingly rare."

Myth: There's a home field advantage.
The Facts: There is, but it's not what you think, says Stephen Dubner of Freakanomics Radio -- the thinking that sleeping in your own bed or know-how of your field means you have a better chance of winning. Nope: It's the officials. "They make more calls in favor of the home team. Now, NFL officials are very, very good. But they're also human. And on some level, most humans seek approval, and in this case and in the case of football, from 60,000 screaming fans. Hard to ignore."

Myth: More training makes you better.
The Facts: Not so, say the experts. More reps are helpful only if fitness is the issue, and for top athletes, that's usually not the case. Instead, says the blog SportsCoachingBrain, "The key is to get more from your current training program through better engagement, stronger belief, and more focused commitment of your athletes in everything they do."

Myth: Weight-lifting will make women bulky.
The Facts: Unless you're taking steroids, you won't ever look like a man as a result of hitting the weight room. The difference in muscle mass between men and women is tied to testosterone levels, and men have 10 times more of the hormone than women. Women who weight train will look muscular, not manly.

Myth: People should be sore after a good workout.
The Facts: Soreness shouldn't be the goal, but it is often a side effect of working out. As trainer Joe DeFranco points out, "I've never read any research that links postexercise soreness to strength gains, hypertrophy gains or improved athletic performance. Who the hell wants to be sore anyway?"

Myth: Concussions occur only after a direct blow to the head.
The Facts: Unfortunately, concussions can happen in more ways than getting hit on the head. According to MomsTeam, a concussion can be caused by a direct blow to the "head, face, neck, or elsewhere on the body if the blow is transmitted to the head."

Myth: Defense wins football championships.
The Facts: Well, certainly a good defense is better than a bad one. But, say the folks at Freakonomics Radio, statistics show it's not all that key to the game. "If you look at past Super Bowls and just football in general, defense is not the magic bullet that the cliche suggests." Instead, the formula for success includes field goal units and special teams.

Pocono Raceway
By Robert Vrabel

The Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania is located in the beautiful Pocono Mountains. The track is one of the most competitive tracks in NASCAR with a 2.5 mile course with three turns with different degrees of banking. The track opened in 1968 and suffered its share of trials and almost closed on several occasions. In 1990 the Raceway began to re-create itself and over the next 10 years the track was completely made over.

The Raceway is located in a triangle with New York and Philadelphia, all 90 miles apart. With renovations complete and two major cities nearby, the track became a major attraction. To the delight of the fans, one of the additions was a big Paddock Area that puts fans within 56 feet of the cars. One project they are especially proud of is Long John; the biggest toilet facility in the world with 1000 stalls so no one waits in lines. The new Midway features spruce trees, 200 picnic tables and gazebos making it a family friendly place to relax. Race tickets begin at $10.00 for a single day general admission. In addition to NASCAR, Nextel and ARCA events, the track is home to several Sports Car Clubs, Motorcycle Clubs and Racing Schools.

The Drive Pocono Driving School has several instructional courses to make any race fan get out of their seat and into the car. The Stock Car Racing Experience was designed to give you the ultimate racing experience, getting behind the wheel for yourself. Programs range from a 3-lap ride-a-long starting at $119.00 to the thrill of driving 80 high speed laps around the track. Formula Racing more your style? The Formula 2000 courses range from a half day adventures to the 5-Day Road Racing Week. They also offer advanced programs that can lead to SCCA or similar racing licensing. The Drive school also has a Team Pro Kart racing program for individuals or groups.

The Pocono Raceway Campgrounds are situated in the beautiful mountains surrounding the track. During the remodeling of the tract, 150 RV sites were added along with sites specifically for tents. Amenities include; outdoor swimming pool, hook ups, free showers, ice, picnic tables, restrooms, dump station and fire logs. Daily rates without hook ups starts at $24.00, daily rate with hook ups start at $29.00.

The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing is located in Mechanicsburg and is home to an outstanding collection of vintage race cars, documents, photos and collectibles. The museum is situated overlooking a restored racetrack at the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds. Their exhibits reflect the strong roots of open wheel, dirt track racing, but their collection shows a wide variety of machines from other racing forms as well. Exhibits include Sprint, Midgets, Stock, NASCAR, Indy, motorcycles and much more. Their collection is said to be one of the best in the United States. The museum also hosts special events throughout the year.

Rodeo Forty Years Ago
By Ann Edall Robson

The trailer is unhooked and parked at the edge of the field in the trees. The horses have been unloaded, brushed down and are tied in the shade where they can relax until they are needed. The truck has been backed up to the arena fence, the tale-gate has been dropped and sits ready to provide seating to enjoy the early morning slack or afternoon performance of the rodeo.

People visiting and mingling with friends and family as they go about getting ready for events they are entered in. Little ones are excited to be part of the mutton busting and calf riding. Next up the generation ladder kids wait their turn to ride steers and team rope with a sibling, parents or good friends. Teenagers and adults alike are warming up their horses for calf roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing.

The younger generation hone their skills by swinging ropes at bales of hay and tying calves made out of half a tire with legs made of four sticks cut to the appropriate length. Watchful mentors giving advice and praise over the efforts being made.

The smell of hamburgers and onions cooking on the grill at the outdoor concession stand waifs through the air along with the aroma of strong brewed coffee. All mingling with the odours of the rodeo grounds.

The announcer has done his sound checks and the person acting as the rodeo clown for the day is finishing his face paint while running through his scheduled afternoon antics in his mind.

The stock contractor trucks arrived the day before to unload the rough stock and the local ranchers that are supplying the calves and steers have long since been and gone in the early morning hours. Their contribution of stock is safely penned in corrals located behind the arena.

Sounds from behind the chutes indicate that the bareback horses are being run into the chutes to await the cowboys who have drawn them. Soon the bareback rigging will be in place and horse and rider will explode from the gate when it opens.

The performance will soon start with a grand entry and introductions of the community leaders and organizers that have worked so hard in preparation of this day. Recognition will be given to the oldest and youngest person entered, local celebrities such as a student who has won a scholarship, rodeo royalty from another town, the timers, and the judges and pick up men.

For those who came, performed their best, and maybe, just maybe, were lucky enough to take home a little bit of the prize money; the luck of the draw was on their side.

This was rodeo forty years ago; and at the end of the day when the trucks and trailers were pulling out of the rodeo grounds to head home; there was a comfortable feeling of belonging.

What to Use As Bait to Catch the Most Trout

By Trevor Kugler

The statement being posed in the title of this article, what to use as bait to catch the most trout, is an interesting one because of the fact that there is no easy answer. Certain baits work better at certain times and under certain conditions than other do and certain techniques call for certain types of trout bait, so how in the world can a person determine the best bait to catch the most trout given all the variables that occur when a person heads out to fish for these beautiful fish?

I'll tell you how, by outlining the most popular and effective trout bait choices, so that you can determine which bait will fit into your particular trout fishing style, conditions, and circumstances, that's how. If you have one or more of the following trout bait choices available to you when you head out onto your favorite trout waters, there is little doubt that the particular bait could very well be what to use as bait to catch the most trout on that particular day, and if not one of the others will be so you can simply switch your bait.

  1. Flies - If you are a fly fisherman, there is little doubt that you believe that flies are what to use as bait to catch the most trout, and you very well might be correct. Insects in their various stages of life are a major food source for trout and artificial flies are the way to mimic live insects. Whether you are a traditional fly fisherman or are a spin fisherman that utilizes a "fly fishing bubble" there is little doubt that flies are a great bait for trout.
  2. Worms - Worms, whether you are talking about live earthworms, night crawlers, or red worms or artificial worms such as Berkeley trout worms, the point is that worms are an excellent bait to use to catch all species of freshwater trout. This is especially true when worms are fished in the flowing waters of a river or stream. In this case worms could easily be what to use as bait to catch the most trout. If you employ a technique known as "drift fishing", worms can be a difficult trout bait choice to beat.
  3. Dough Bait - Although trout fishing purists scoff at the idea of using dough bait to catch trout, it's effectiveness on trout that have been "planted" cannot be denied. The bottom line is that when you are fishing for stocked trout in a lake or pond, dough bait can be your best choice when it comes to what type of bait to use.
  4. In-line Spinners - In-line spinners are an excellent trout bait choice for many fishermen and is one that has been proven to be an extremely effective as well. In line spinners mimic minnows and other bait fish extremely well and some are even equipped with "hair tails" to help them to mimic an insect. A key to using in-line spinners to catch trout is to keep them small. From 1/32 to 1/4 of an ounce is the perfect size range to use when fishing for trout.


Now these obviously aren't the only baits that can be used to catch trout, but in my two plus decades of experience I have learned that they are all extremely effective choices. So much so that depending on your favorite style of trout fishing, the best bait to use to catch more trout is doubt amongst these choices.

Scouting Deer During Winter Seasons
By Olivia Bustamante

If you are a deer hunter, then winter is probably a never ending season of waiting. Since the fall hunting season is over there is not very much action related to deer hunting. In some places the winters are so rough that it can be difficult to even get outside to practice shooting your bow or rifle.

However, winter is still great in one way that you can stay connected to your hobby. Winter is really a great time to go and scout what the deer are doing around your favorite hunting spots. Scouting in the winter is not nearly as disturbing to the deer than scouting right before the hunting season begins. If the winter is so horrible that the deer are all gathered up in survival mode, then you they should be left alone.

If your idea of scouting is to go check things out right before the season is starting, then you are not helping the situation. Stomping all over the wilderness, while spreading your smell is not good for hunting. However, scoping out things during winter when the season has just ending does not disturb things very much.

This is also the case when you are trying to figure out the movements of a big buck. If you are going to follow them into their bedding area and bother them during the season then there are less chances of seeing one from the stand diminish. They are very sensitive to the presence of humans and they will certainly go hide out somewhere else.

However, if you are scouting when there is snow on the ground, you will not run into these issues. Even if you happen to scare a buck out of his secure area, then it still will not bother him by the time the next hunting season starts. Winter is the best time to learn about the patterns of behavior of the buck. This is also good time to scout out areas that are good for your hunting stands.

Winter makes it simple for hunters to find the routes deer are going through and bedding spots. Snow on the grounds also makes it a lot clearer where these routes are. Yes, the routes will change somewhat when the deer hunting season begins. Although the basic trails they are using as they leave bedding cover does not change.

There are plenty of clues to seek out during the winter, but the most obvious is a buck rub. Bucks make tons of rubs as they polish their antlers and practice sparring for the breeding season. The amount and quality of these rubs can give you a lot of information. Further, the big rub indicates that there is a good buck in the area. The rub line also gives you good information. A good rub line is a great place to have a shooting stand ready for the season.

It is also a good idea to go in early to cut shooting lanes. Sometimes the hunting area you choose can become very thick and it can make things more difficult. Finding a way to get out into the woods and staying connected with hunting can make your winter more bearable.