Archive for the ‘Teams/Leagues’ Category

What’s the Most Necessary Evil in Youth Sports Today?

A guest post by Jon Goldman of Reaching Our Goal

The answer is, of course, fundraising.  No one wants to do it, everyone needs to do it and rarely is it done well. That’s because while we’re all racing around texting, posting on Facebook, tweeting and downloading apps to our to cloud-connected smart phones, the typical fundraiser is a throwback to the ’70’s and 8-track tapes!

At a time when youth sports has never been more competitive or demanding, why are so many travel teams still selling candy, standing in front of a Walmart shaking a can or in a parking lot washing cars?

In the good old days, we lived in a zip code-driven fundraising world.  Raising some money by canvassing the people who lived nearby was simply what everyone did. On the menu: magazine subscriptions, tubs of cookie dough, Christmas wreaths, scented candles, printed cups, banners and discount cards – you name it.  Chances are, at one time or another, some youngster rang your doorbell hoping you would buy some, right?

But that just isn’t going to cut the mustard any more.  For so many reasons, starting with the fact that the average adolescent today lacks the desire or time to knock on doors, parents definitely don’t have the time to chaperone junior around the block. Sales efforts often generate hundreds of dollars, but the teams needs thousands. Giving companies such as Nestle or Coke 50% of your heard-earned sales just doesn’t seem right. And, most importantly, who really wants to buy that stuff aElectronic fundraisingnyway?

Today, fundraising for sports teams is best done electronically and is based on relationships, not geography.  After all, who’s going to be more generous toward your young baseball player today? The neighbor who barely knows him or an aunt or family friend who lives two counties or hundreds of miles away?  It’s the people who know and care about your athlete —regardless of how far away they live — who will be more supportive every time.  The challenge simply is how to ask.

Companies like Reaching Our Goal are making it easier and easier for teams to raise thousands of dollars in just minutes by using the Internet to reach people around the corner and around the world. Think mouse clicks instead of footsteps. The joy of giving instead of the burden of buying.  College teams have been at the forefront of this trend for awhile now. They don’t have the time or the desire to move through neighborhoods near campus.  Folks today probably wouldn’t be excited to see a 19-year-old university student on the stoop with a clipboard and outstretched hand!

Today, the very same approach that’s worked for collegiate squads in every sport and at every level, is now easily available to travel teams or organizations just like yours. And that’s good news because, if we’re really being honest, fundraising has never really been anyone’s idea of a good time.  But now, it can be accomplished safely, painlessly and profitably from a keyboard.  So, yes, fundraising really is a necessary evil, but doing it well and getting real results has never been more crucial.

Review: TackleSure Coach Training Program Endorsed by AYF

Why is a change in tackling techniques necessary now?

Heightened awareness on the dangers of concussions and long term brain injury from sub concussive impacts has brought to the forefront the need to change the culture of youth tackle football to protect the future of the sport by addressing injury, liability, and insurance concerns. Traditional risk management techniques of concussion education, recognition, removal, treatment, and return-to-play protocols don’t address the risk of an accumulation of sub concussive impacts over multiple seasons. Therefore, programs like TackleSure have emerged to remove the head from tackling and to introduce tackling drills that don’t require pads and can be executed with limited contact. I strongly recommend the TackleSure program as a part of a comprehensive concussion/brain injury risk management program for youth tackle football.

Description of TackleSure online training course

TackleSure, an official licensed partner of NFL Players, is an online course that consists of 11 class segments which are followed by an online multiple choice test. After registering and paying the reduced $5.00 course fee for AYF members, registrants view videos with instruction by Thurmond Moore (college and NFL defensive coach) and Jared Allen (All-Pro defensive end) where they define the problem, introduce the correct tackling technique and terminology, introduce drills to reinforce each aspect of the technique, and demonstrate the step-by-step coaching process in the field on inexperienced youth players. In addition, segments include concussion education and introduce the new Reebok Check Light Skull Cap product. Most will not complete the course in a single sitting, but it’is easy to log back in and start the next segment. The course includes a 100-page PDF document that is a great reference tool for coaches as it explains and illustrates all drills.

 Why I reviewed the course

As a leader in sports insurance and risk management for youth tackle football, I decided to take the

TackleSure course to gain a better education and to experience what my clients would experience. After all, how could I recommend a course without having experienced it myself? I do need to add the disclaimer that I never played organized football and have never coached it.

However, my son played as a 7th grader, so I have observed a number of youth practices and games. Therefore, my observations on TackleSure are from the perspective of a neophyte but that may not be


Screenshot of my final score

too far off as many coaches are dads who have unexpectedly found themselves in a coaching position.

What is wrong with the traditional tackling technique?

The traditional tackling technique of putting the head to side and wrapping up the ball carrier with the arms tends to result in reaching, a bending forward at the waist, and all too often leading with the head.  The hammer metaphor of being a hammer (knees bent – power angle – back straight) as opposed to being a nail (bend at the waist) has also been used to describe the correct tackling technique. Unfortunately, the traditional tackling technique is usually taught and practiced at full contact, which results in a greater probability of head contact, more sub concussive impacts, and a greater chance of concussions.

 Safety at the sacrifice of effectiveness?

 The main objective of TackleSure is to get the head out of the tackle. Does this mean that the safer tackling technique is less effective? Not according to the experts. The TackleSure technique actually brings more force to the tackle due to the explosion of the hips, the throwing of the uppercuts, and the double-time leg drive. The traditional tackling technique of leaning forward from the waist and wrapping up does not have the same explosiveness because the lower body and core are not engaged and the wrapping of the arms to the side results in a misdirection of potential upper body force away from the ball carrier.

 The major components of the TackleSure technique

 TackleSure can be introduced to a team in three days and fully implemented in two weeks. In addition, the drills are designed for no pads and lessened contact so that they can be repeatedly practiced and reinforced to build muscle memory. The techniques are taught from simple to complex, from the end of the tackle forward, from teaching pace to full speed pace, and from left foot forward and right foot forward.

  • Clamp progression eliminates the head as a weapon and teaches the basics of tackling technique from finish stance (lower body positioning and engagement of hips forward), one legged take off, belly button/hips through, chest pop, clamp and claw (upper body engagement of getting head out of tackle by looking up at high hands and tying up ball carrier between elbows with hands grabbing cloth on back of ball carrier’s jersey), and machine gunning legs to provide power to finish off tackle.
  • Chest pop progression adds refinements to promote power in tackle with continued emphasis on removing the head. Starts with flat back stance and elbows back with guns in holsters, one legged take off, explode hips into ball carrier, shoot strong double upper cuts, make contact with chest, lift and tie up ball carrier, kick opposite leg high and wide, and double time high and wide with legs.
  • Shimmy progression adds open field positioning and footwork transitioning toward ball carrier includes sprinting, shimmy stance, break step, and fit position.
  • Nearfoot progression adds the element of aiming near foot at ball carrier.
  • Specialty tackles: – lawnmower, tomahawk, and gator.

 What you need to know before you take the course

The course is thorough, but it needs to be in order to explain, reinforce, and illustrate the techniques and


Screenshot of my TackleSure certificate of completion.

drills to the coaches. The last two course segments are repeats of earlier segments, but they are critical to see what is likely to happen when these concepts are introduced to inexperienced youth players and the corrections that need to be made in the field. All 11 segments take approximately 4.5 hours. to complete. However, not all segments are necessary viewing to pass the test. Also, remember that TackleSure does not require on-field instruction because the videos are so thorough and well-illustrated.

The major competing tackle course takes about 20 minutes online plus an on-the-field training clinic. The online portion doesn’t come close to approaching the thoroughness and effectiveness of the TackleSure program in terms of either safety or improved tackling. In addition, the on-field training clinic comes with the related hassles of travel, scheduling, and make ups.

Be sure to take notes as you watch the TackleSure videos so you can reference them during the exam. The exam is not a cakewalk.

TackleSure is just a part of a comprehensive concussion/brain injury risk management program. In addition, a basic concussion course should be required such as the CDC’s Heads Up or NAYS Concussion Awareness and all organizations should have written policies and procedures to address recognition, removal, treatment, and return-to-play protocol.


Overall, I give the TackleSure training a very high rating and believe that I would be able to teach the correct technique if I were to become a youth football coach. It’s important for the instruction be geared to first-time coaches. I also applaud their decision to offer the entire training program online as opposed to in-person coach clinics. We all know that with volunteer organizations, it is virtually impossible to coordinate live training for all coaches at the same time due to scheduling conflicts and the addition of new coaches later in the season.

Click here to access the TackleSure program.

For more information on a comprehensive football/cheer brain injury risk management program, visit the concussion section of our Risk Management page.

Click here for more information on AYF/AYC Insurance.


Sport injuries off the field

The Independent Contractor or Subcontractor Limitation

Services such as concessions umpires, security, field maintenance and janitorial are typically outsourced by sport and recreation organizations as independent contractors or subcontractors.

The Independent Contractor or Subcontractor Limitation endorsement on a General Liability policy can have adverse consequences for sports and recreation organizations.

Don’t play around with independent contractors

The negligent actions of these independent contractors or subcontractors can result in the sports organization being shot gunned into a lawsuit.

The Independent Contractor or Subcontractor Limitation endorsement will preclude coverage unless the independent contractor or subcontractor maintains a General Liability policy at the time of injury, with limits equal to the sports organization while naming such sports organization as “Additional Insured.”

Protecting the organization

It is highly recommended that sports organizations require all independent contractors and subcontractors to provide evidence of General Liability insurance with limits of at least $1,000,000 combined single limits. Such policies should name the sports organization as “additional insured.”

However, General Liability coverage of the sports organization being contingent on the insurance requirement of the independent contractor or subcontractor is a risky proposition.  If the sports organization is diligent about administrative duties, an uninsured independent contractor or subcontractor could easily slip between the cracks.  In addition, a certificate of insurance is only an indication of coverage status as of the date of its issuance. Coverage could later be canceled due to nonpayment of premium with no absolute notification requirement to certificate holders.

For the reasons outlined above, it is not acceptable to allow the existence of the Independent Contractor and Subcontractor Limitation endorsement on the General Liability policy for a sports organization.

Source:  John Sadler

Assault and Battery Exclusion in Sports

Employees and volunteers vulnerable


Some sports General Liability policies have an endorsement entitled Assault and Battery Exclusion that modifies the terms of the original policy language.


The standard policy form (without the Assault And Battery Exclusion) contains an intentional injury exclusion that includes an exception for the use of reasonable force to protect persons or property.


The Assault and Battery Exclusion takes away coverage for any assault and battery incident committed by your employees, volunteers, or any other person.  In addition, coverage is excluded for failure to suppress or prevent an incident as well as for negligent hiring, supervision, or training.


Based on some of the claims filed against our team and league clients over the years, the Assault and Battery Exclusion would have had unacceptable coverage consequences had it been in existence.


We have seen several lawsuits alleging assault and battery resulting from a coach attempting to break up a fight.  In one incident, a coach broke up a fight by pulling one 8-year-old boy off of another.  The lawsuit alleging assault and battery claimed that the coach injured the boy that he pulled off the top of the other boy.


We have also seen a number of other lawsuits against leagues, volunteers, and administrators arising out of fights between coaches, umpires, and spectators.  In many cases, the coaches and umpires are actually the physical aggressors against spectators.In some of these cases, the plaintiff’s attorney ran a background check and found that the defendant had a criminal background involving a crime of physical violence.  As a result, the sports organization and its board were shot gunned into the lawsuit under the theory of negligent hiring.


The above common examples would likely trigger the Assault And Battery exclusion resulting in no insurance coverage and the possible taking of both assets of the sports organization as well as personal assets of the individual defendants to satisfy the judgment.


In my opinion, the Assault and Battery Exclusion should be removed from a sports or recreation General Liability policy.


Source:  John Sadler

Photo credit: Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise

Reducing the risk of ACL injuries

Is prevention the best medicine?


You’d be hard pressed to find any youth soccer, basketball or football team that doesn’t have at least one player with an ACL injury.

ACL diagramThe anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, stabilizes the knee and is highly susceptible to injury during high impact sports. As the popularity of youth sports continues to grow, so does the number of teen and young ACL injuries. How can this be minimized?

Training for prevention

Young athletes receiving universal neuromuscular training is proving to be an effective deterrent to ACL injuries, according to a recent Columbia University Medical Center study. The training teaches athletes proper bending, jumping, landing and pivoting techniques. The study focused on 10,000 “at-risk” athletes between the ages of 14 and 22. The results showed an average reduction of 63 percent in ACL injuries in those who received universal training.

Screening for ACL weaknesses also helps reduce the number of ligament sprains and tears, but reduced the rate by only 40 percent.

Counting the costs

The estimate to run a universal training program for coaches and players is about $1.25 per day, according to the study researchers. ACL reconstruction can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $17,000.

“According to our model, training was so much less expensive and so much more effective than we anticipated.” said orthopaedic resident Eric F. Swart, the lead author of the study

While preventive training and screening might sound like the best option, screening is a high-cost variable if implemented on a team-wide basis.

Source: “Universal neuromuscular training reduces ACL injury risk in young athletes,” Medical Xpress. 14 Mar. 2014.

Set Up a Sex Abuse/Molestation Protection Program (Infographic)

Create a Hostile Environment

Whenever a sexual abuse/molestation (SAM) incident occurs, a civil lawsuit will likely be filed not only against the alleged perpetrator, but the organization, officers, board and others for failure to adequately screen staff, failure to implement policies and procedures to prevent an incident, and failure to appropriately respond to an allegation. Most insurance carriers that write SAM coverage on sports organizations won’t offer the coverage unless the organization has implemented certain controls that impact these areas.

Most sports and recreation organizations rely exclusively on running criminal background checks on all staff with access to youth. While this is required by case law and is a minimum level of due diligence, the effectiveness of solely relying on criminal background checks is questionable. This is because studies indicate that only about 5% of all predators have a criminal background that could even be discoverable upon running a background check. Therefore, the question becomes what is your sports organization doing to protect against the other 95%?

What it should be doing is educating administrators and staff to create a hostile environment for predators, implementing simple policies and procedures, and implementing an allegation response plan that requires notification of law enforcement.


[sc:InfoGraphic imagealt=”SAM” imageurl=”” imagewidth=”600″ imageheight=”1733″ permalink=”” infographictitle=”SAM” ]

Many sports organizations get into SAM risk management by just shooting from the hip and running background checks without putting much thought into the entire process and what can go wrong along the way. Below are potential risks organizations expose themselves to when no proper SAM risk management program is in place:

  • Slander, libel, and invasion of privacy lawsuits against the organization if background check results are not kept confidential.
  • Illegal questions on staff application form and consent to run background check form.
  • Unequal treatment of different candidates and resulting litigation due to lack of predetermined, written disqualification criteria.
  • Failure to properly understand the nature of a conviction on a criminal background check and misclassification of the offense.
  • Failure to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other similar laws.
  • Failure to have written policies and procedures in place to make an incident less likely to occur.
  • Failure to have allegation response procedures in place, including a requirement to notify law enforcement.

Sex Abuse/Molestation Risk Management Program

We recommend that a sports organization implement our written Sex Abuse/Molestation Risk Management Program which provides important administrator and staff education on the topic and protects against the above mentioned pitfalls. This program is available as a Microsoft Word document format (7 pages) entitled Sample Abuse/Molestation Plan that can be easily customized for a specific sports organization.  Current Sadler clients should access the latest and most up-to-date version of this document under the password protected section after entering the password  provided with their proof of coverage email upon binding of coverage. On the other hand, sports organizations that are not current Sadler clients should access this document under the unrestricted access section of the webpage available to general public.

However, we realize that some sports organizations may not want to adopt and implement our recommended SAM risk management program even though it is incredibly simple and we have already done just about all the work on their behalf. For these organizations, we offer a 1-page SAM risk management program that provides a basic educational program for administrators and staff. It includes written policies and procedures to make an incident less likely to occur and provides instructions on how to appropriately respond to an allegation. This 1-page SAM program can be found in our risk management library  under the document entitled Child Abuse/Molestation Protection Program – Administrators (short form).

Educational videos

In addition, we offer the following free educational training videos to our clients, which can be found under the password protected section of our risk management page:

  • How To Implement An Abuse/Molestation Risk Management Program – Administrators (14 minutes)
  • Abuse/Molestation Awareness Training – Administrators and Staff (28 minutes)

Protecting your league from injury claims

Did you know that liability protection is critical for all teams and leagues? It only takes one injury-related lawsuit to financially ruin your organization. Having the right insurance protection offers you peace of mind.

Purchasing the ight insurance coverage does not have to be complicated. The SADLER insurance experts understand your needs and the unique risks associated with your organization. Learn more about liability prevention by calling us at 800-622-7370, or apply for a customized insurance quote online now. There are absolutely no obligations, and most quotes will be sent in just a few hours. With no application fees and the most competitive rates in the industry, what have you got to lose?


Online Training for Youth Sports Administrators

Volunteers need program management skills

Typically, volunteer administrators who supervise youth sports programs are unprepared to deal with the responsibilities of this position. This can result in inefficiencies, legal problems and adverse publicity.

Volunteer trainingThese individuals wear many hats and manage numerous league job functions such as equipment, safety, insurance for teams, background checks for staff, social media, marketing, as well finances and legal matters.

The National Youth Sports Administrators Association has an online training program that provides education in these areas and assists with making youth sports a safe and satisfying experience for all involved.

John Sadler assisted with the course development on the insurance section. See our NYSCA-endorsed team/league sports insurance program. 

Accident Insurance and Baseball

Spectator injuries not covered by Little League policy

New Jersey’s Elizabeth Lloyd, is suing for more than $150,000 in damages after being hit in the face by a baseball. Although Matthew Migliaccio was only 11 years old at the time of the incident, the lawsuit filed in April claims that Migliaccio’s overthrow from the bullpen was deliberate and reckless.

Lloyd is filing suit to cover for medical costs and pain and suffering, while her husband is suing for the loss of “services, society and consortium.”

The count alleging Migliaccio’s negligence is covered by the family’s Homeowner’s policy, but the other counts are not. Little League has denied any coverage, due to their accident policy only covering staff or players; spectators are not included.

In my opinion:

Little League is correct that spectator injuries are not covered by an Accident policy. However, “Accident like” benefits for spectator injuries up to a limit of $5,000 can be covered if the General Liability policy includes premises medical payments. Otherwise, if damages are greater than $5,000, the only recourse for an injured spectator is to sue. Such lawsuits would be covered under a General Liability policy under the Each Occurrence section. This case is similar to one that one of our league clients had about ten years ago when a spectator was hit in the jaw by an overthrow ball during pre game warm-ups. It was alleged that the league and coaches were negligent in allowing the players to form two lines for warm-ups where one line was too close to an unfenced spectator area. The carrier settled the case for around $300,000 but the damages were extensive.

-John Sadler

Source: Insurance Journal, June 26, 2012

A Reality Check for Youth Sports Administrators

Learn from the Paterno, Spanier, Curley and McQuery mistakes

This blog post isn’t specifically about the Penn State case and who was or wasn’t fired. Rather it’s a reality check for all involved with youth: no one is invincible. Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Mike McQuery did not commit the physical crimes against children that Jerry Sandusky did.  However, they were responsible and liable for their own actions when there is even a hint that someone is abusing a child.

The Penn State case is making national headlines because of its legendary coach and its football program, but it’s important to understand that such behavior occurs frequently in youth sports.  Most readers of this blog are involved in teams/leagues/youth programs in sYouth sports risk managementome capacity or another. Are you a coach, athletic director, team mom or a parent on the sidelines?  Whatever your position, today is the day to step back and realize where exactly you fit into the lives of the kids participating in your youth sports organization.  You are there to protect them at all costs.

Our previous blog post, Child Predators in Youth Sports, is a must read for anyone who is involved with children. It includes a link to a Sports Illustrated article written with the help of actual predators in youth programs detailing how they got away with their crimes. Did you know that, according to the article, studies have found that the average molester victimizes about 120 children before he is caught? That’s extremely disturbing! The blog post also offers useful risk management guidelines that your organization can implement today. And share this post with others so that we all can make a difference.

Follow this link for more articles on preventing sexual abuse and molestation.

Why Do Field/Facility Owners Require Being Named on Sports Insurance Policies?

Field / facility owners such as recreation departments, school districts, schools, and municipalities often allow outside user groups to use their premises under a lease or permit. These relationships are beneficial to all parties involved. However, field / facility owners expose themselves and their insurance carriers to liability arising from injuries that may occur on the premises arising out of the lease or permit. This is true even though the injury may be due to the 100% negligence of the outside user group.

Field / facility owners are almost always shot gunned into these lawsuits as a deep pocket even if they are 0% at fault. The defense costs and possibility of settlement or adverse jury verdict can be very expensive. This can result in unbudgeted out of pocket expenses (in event of self insurance or large deductible insurance program) or in a large loss that is paid by their insurance carrier. When these losses are paid by insurance carriers, such insurance carriers may non renew or may ask for large rate increases. Therefore, field / facility owners have a lot to lose when they make their premises available to outside user groups.

It makes sense that the group that is responsible for the injury and resulting lawsuit should be financially responsible for paying the damages. Therefore, prudent field / facility owners require outside users to carry their own insurance that meets certain minimum standards that are drafted by risk managers or attorneys employed by the field / facility owner.  Such insurance requirements specify the types of policies to be carried, minimum limits of coverage, and special coverage endorsements such as “Additional Insured” status for the premises owner.

Requiring outside user groups to be financially responsible for their own injuries and lawsuits is a good business practice. Even high limit insurance is surprisingly affordable and easy to obtain when reputable sports insurance and event insurance specialists are contacted.