New Haven youth sports league defies “win-at-all-cost” mentality

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New Haven, MO November 2011—In an era of sports when trash talking, win-at-all-cost mentalities and fights on the field seem to be the norm, it’s no wonder that 70 percent  of U.S. children playing organized sports will quit by age 13 and never play again. New Haven kids and families, believing that sports can be a positive experience, are participating in an unconventional youth sports league which teaches that the process of competition is just as important as the outcome.

For more than seven years Memorial Baptist Church has hosted sports leagues through Upward Sports—the world’s largest Christian sports league for children—coaching and mentoring more than 1,700 area kids. The church offers two Upward Sports leagues: Basketball and Soccer.

“Kids seem to really grow—both as athletes and friends—in an environment that focuses on skills, sportsmanship, teamwork and integrity while having fun,” said Dan Long, a Commissioner of the Upward Basketball League at Memorial Baptist Church. “It’s been exciting seeing families from several neighborhoods come together for the first time. One basketball team can often represent more than five towns. This basketball program is building friendships and community.”

Focusing on healthy competition and positive sports environments that build strong self-confidence, Upward Sports equips churches with everything needed to run a competitive but fun, 10-week sports program for children Kindergarten– sixth grade. Each year, more than 1 million people play, coach, referee or volunteer in Upward Sports Leagues.

To avoid player and parent burn out, Upward Sports limits time commitments to one practice and one game per week. Other distinctive aspects of Upward Sports Leagues include: 

Unique substitution system designed to provide every child equal playing time, competing against an equally matched opponent

Competitive games with strict adherence to a proprietary drafting system that balances talent on each team

Supportive coaches that bring out “the winner” in every child regardless of the game’s score

To register for an Upward Sports League, click here.  For more information about Upward Sports visit