SXSW Sports 2017 PanelPicker Pitch: Raising the 21st century athlete

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21st Century AthleteRaising theA Parents guide to the new science behind developing good athletes...and good kids

Parenting a young athletetoday...Means navigating a complex playing field of difficult decisions


FutureWhen should my kid start organized sports?Should we specialize in a single sport or play multiple sports?When does it really matter if my kid wins or loses?Are travel clubs the only way to a college scholarship?What do we look for in a coach to optimize development?When should I push and when should I back off?Present

Raising elite athletes and good kids do not have to be mutually exclusive processes

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What does science say?

ChildDevelopmentAthlete DevelopmentTechnologyBest PracticesIn the past five years alone, our understanding of how to optimize athlete development - and how to improve the sport experience for young people - has grown leaps and bounds. Combining these scientific advancements with advancements in wearable technology has produced a paradigm shift in best practices for developing young athletes.

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Our goal in this panel session is to bring together expert perspectives from the laboratory, the press box, and the sidelines to help parents (and those interested in youth sports) navigate the maze of new information on raising good athletes...and good kids.

Expert PanelDifferent Perspectives

Matt BowersUniversity of Texas at AustinTom FarreyESPN/Project Play

Emmanuel AchoNFL Player/TV Personality

Tolga OzyurtcuUniversity of Texas at Austin

Dr. Matt Bowers is a clinical Assistant Professor of Sport Management at the University of Texas at Austin and co-founder of Hook & Ladder Creative Sport Solutions, a youth sports consulting firm. He studies youth development in and through sports and has published research studies related to the impact of sport participation on creativity and the value of sandlot/unstructured sports for children. His work has been featured in Sports Illustrated, Wired, The Atlantic, and Wall Street Journal.

Perspective: Youth Sports Researcher

Tom Farrey is the author of Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children and a veteran journalist for ESPN. His cross-platform work with ESPN's Outside the Lines has won many national awards, including two Emmys for Outstanding Sports Journalism, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and in 2014, ESPN's first-ever Alfred I. duPont/Columbia University Award, one of the highest honors in journalism. He created the vision for the Aspen Institutes Sports & Society program in 2011 and Project Play in 2013. Since 2013, Tom has led a coalition of national leaders in reimagining how to make youth sports work better. His most recent Project Play National Summit was a trending topic on Twitter and brought unprecedented national attention to youth sports reform.

Perspective: Journalist and Author

Emmanuel Acho is an NFL player and emerging television personality. A consummate scholar-athlete during his time at the University of Texas, Emmanuel has gone on to play for the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles, all while completing his masters degree in Sport Psychology at UT-Austin. On the air, Emmanuel has made an impact with his willingness to critique the status quo in sports and his increasingly outspoken role in bringing attention to issues of social justice.

Perspective: Elite Athlete

Dr. Tolga Ozyurtcu is the moderator for this panel and a clinical assistant professor in the sport management program at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the co-founder of Hook & Ladder Creative Sport Solutions, a research-based youth sports consulting firm located in Austin, TX. His research explores the intersection of sport and culture, with an emphasis on youth lifestyle sports like surfing and skateboarding. He is currently working on a book about the history and cultural legacy of Southern California beach sports.

Perspective: Youth Sports Researcher

Knowledge about the best practices in raising young athletes is constantly evolving. Our hope is to share the latest advancements in the science examining youth sports by bringing together leading researchers, the foremost youth sports journalist and policy advocate in the country, and a professional athlete who is a model of elite athletic and character development.

Thank You