Benefits for all Athletes

Even Field® Sports Program Model for Children

While organized sports can provide an optimal environment for children to develop healthy habits and learn important life skills, most competitive sports programs for kids are not structured to foster growth and development. They are focused on performance. Primary attention is on early-maturing athletes with skills that help teams win now.

Even Field’s The Way You Win Matters® initiative for children ages 12-and-under (U-13), aims to expand the current focus on game tactics – that benefit mostly the very talented athletes – with a “kid-centric” sports model that emphasizes age-appropriate physical, mental and character development, benefitting all participating young athletes.

This program model merges principles of Positive Youth Development (PYD), endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with our The Way You Win Matters® philosophy.

The emphasis is on team culture, skill mastery, leadership and character. The program is designed to help coaches and parents create and maintain a structured, supportive environment that is learning-based and development-focused. One that keeps it fun for kids and intentionally teaches life skills along with sport skills.

This Peer Into Character® program includes training for coaches and guidance for parents on cultivating an intrinsically motivating climate that empowers children to provide input, develop initiative, set goals, enjoy challenging tasks, and play respectfully and responsibly.

Our program objective is to develop our model for U-13 sports programs into a viable alternative to the performance-based, “win-now” model that is prevalent today. To demonstrate that with specific coach training and parent engagement, a learning-based, development-focused approach to coaching and parenting children, ages 12-and-under, will result in higher levels of athlete satisfaction, desire and achievement. And, that teaching life skills doesn’t just benefit youth development. It benefits athlete development.

Guiding program development, coach training and parent guidance is Even Field sports psychology consultant Albert J. Petitpas. Dr. Petitpas is retired director of the Center for Youth Development and Research at Springfield College. He is regarded as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on Positive Youth Development (PYD) through sports, and has provided consulting services to the NCAA, NBA, NFL, USOC, U.S. Ski Team, and the LPGA.

Seeking to develop, test, and assess this program model, Even Field forged a three-year program partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket (RI) in 2019. Though the initial staff/coach training and evaluation period showed promise and was well-received, the project was sidelined due to lack of funding and the pandemic. We are seeking the financial support needed to re-start this project.

“With the advent and implementation of Even Field, Chuck's team has constructed science-based, child-centered programs that will not only give sports back to the children, but will also help adults better understand and manage their very important leadership role."

the late Bob Bigelow:  Youth Sports Reformer & Author

Our purpose is to inspire young people to make caring, principled choices in sports and life and to continually strive to be their best in everything they do.

If you believe in our mission and are in a position to help, please consider making a donation to Even Field. Your gift of any amount, big or small, will be valued and appreciated.

Even Field is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Contributions to Even Field are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

“Even Field’s message to all parents and families is important. It’s about putting the kids first, and developing the whole person, not just the athlete.”

Kate Hernandez:  swimming & diving official, sports parent