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Book details
  • SubGenre:Triathlon
  • Language:English
  • Pages:258
  • eBook ISBN:9781543976885
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543976878

Kids Who Tri

Transforming Youth and Youth Sports Culture

by William Marsiglio

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Social scientist, parent, and sports enthusiast William Marsiglio champions the virtues of an emerging sport, a slice of American sports culture—youth triathlon. Kids Who Tri systematically explores the links between youth triathlon, models of youth sports, and child rearing and coaching philosophies, while offering readers an insider's view of the dynamic youth triathlon community. Drawing on interviews with parents, coaches, race directors, USA Triathlon staff, and young triathletes, as well as more than six years of personal observations as a "tri-dad," Marsiglio shows how embracing the multisport spirit teaches youth key life lessons while empowering them. He also reveals how youth triathlon has the potential to transform features of the American youth sports culture. This thought-provoking book challenges leaders in youth sports and fitness, education, and community development to join forces to make youth triathlon a mainstream sport in our schools and communities.

Kids Who Tri answers eight basic questions, which highlight the youth triathlon community and its future: 1) How can youth triathlon transform youth sports culture? 2) Why should kids explore triathlon when they have access to so many other established sports? 3) Why should parents take the time to learn about this sport and encourage their children to experiment with it? 4) How can parents enhance their children's potential to enjoy and perform well in triathlon? 5) Why should adults volunteer, or make a career out of being a youth triathlon coach? 6) Why should race directors think beyond their immediate business self-interests to stage races for kids? 7) Why should the USA Triathlon (governing body of triathlon) leadership, as well as the leadership of the triathlon community more generally, make a commitment to help kids discover and fall in love with the sport? 8) How can stakeholders work together to expand youth triathlon and convince others that the sport enhances kids' lives? Kids Who Tri highlights the tight web of partnerships that represent the core of the youth triathlon movement, including various partnerships between athletes, parents, coaches, race directors, and USAT personnel. If we better understand the larger cultural and social contexts for these partnerships, we can improve them. If we strengthen the partnerships, we can enhance our chances of energizing and growing youth triathlon. If we help youth triathlon to go mainstream, we can transform how we think about and organize youth sports in general. And if we expand the reach and quality of youth triathlon, we can enrich young triathletes' personal development inside and outside of the sport.

                                                                                   Praise for Kids Who Tri

“Kids Who Tri invites you in with a firsthand look at the youth experience in the lifelong sport of triathlon and how it can transform our kids. Kids Who Tri provides our nation’s youth a roadmap to a sport that gives kids a sense of accomplishment from finishing their very first triathlon all the way to the pride they feel from being the best in the U.S. I wish my parents had a resource like this to lean on when I was just starting out in youth triathlons.  This book is a must read for any parent looking to dive deeper into the sport of kids triathlon.”   

— Hunter Kemper (4x Olympic Triathlete, USA Triathlon Hall of Famer)

 “Written with both head and heart, Kids Who Tri serves as a primer for youth in triathlon. Marsiglio effectively blends science and passion as he shares a reservoir of knowledge, invaluable insights, and personal anecdotes from his vast experience. This book is both launching pad and didactic tool for any parent or race director involved in the introduction to, and support of, young athletes in the fast growing multisport. 

—Alicia DiFabio, Psy. D. (Best-Selling Author of Women Who Tri: A Reluctant Athlete’s Journey Into the Heart of America’s Greatest Obsession)

  “Based on interviews with parents, coaches, race directors, youth triathletes, and USA Triathlon staff, as well as years of first-hand observations in the trenches as a ‘tri-dad,’ Kids Who Tri provides an engaging and intimate overview of the exciting sport of youth triathlon. As a scholar who focuses on family health, William Marsiglio makes a compelling case that adult advocates for young people need to do more to promote youth triathlon for boys and girls from all backgrounds and abilities. This book is a ‘must-read’ for any parent or person who simply wants to help kids to a better life.” 

—  Cherie Gruenfeld (13x Ironman Age Group World Champion, Founder & Director of Exceeding Expectations—a non-profit foundation for at-risk kids in San Bernardino, CA)

  “Kids Who Tri is a great book for parents who are interested in having their kids develop and become successful not just in triathlons, but in life. Backed by extensive research and investigation into this sport as an author and parent, William Marsiglio shows parents in a detailed way how they can educate and inspire kids to develop a healthy set of life skills and habits that will influence them for a lifetime.”

 —    Dr. Andrew Jacobs (Sport Psychologist, Host of “Dr. Andrew Jacobs Sport Psychology Hour”, Co-author of “Just Let ‘Em Play: Guiding Parents, Coaches and Athletes thru Youth Sports”)

  “Kids Who Tri provides a great roadmap or ‘State of the Union’ to understanding kids triathlon. Marsiglio’s reflections on how to grow the sport are valuable insights for not just kid's triathlon, but our sport as a whole. Having grown up as a triathlete, I understand the unique challenges it provides to kids, coaches, parents, etc. I found myself reflecting on my own experiences and how my parents, team, and coach mainly learned through trial and error. The lessons portrayed in this book mirror what took us countless hours, days, months and years to figure out. Kids Who Tri lays the groundwork to inform the unknown, tackle the challenges that the sport faces, and suggests solutions for how to develop kid's triathlon so that we can more effectively share the sport that I, and so many others, love and grew up loving.”

 —    Ben Kanute (Olympian, Mixed Relay World Champion, 70.3 Champion, Triathlete)                                                

 “Kids Who Tri dives into the emerging culture of youth triathlon and its journey toward the mainstream. It explores how partnerships at the local, regional, and national levels are essential to growing triathlon for youth, while giving voice to the diverse perspectives in the multisport community. It is a fantastic resource not only for current triathlon enthusiasts, but also for aspiring youth and their families to jump into the world of swim, bike and run!”

— Rocky Harris (USA Triathlon CEO) 

“Kids Who Tri is not only a great guide for parents who know nothing about the sport but an excellent resource for elite-level athletes whose children may look at competition a little differently than they do. Get ready to swim, bike, and run!”  

—John O’Sullivan (Founder, Changing the Game Project; Host, Way of Champions Podcast)                                                                                               

“Kids Who Tri is a compendium of everything a parent should know when launching a child into the sports of triathlon. William Marsiglio’s notion that triathlon transforms youth is not a platitude but a fact. So much more than just a sport, Marsiglio leads you through the various programs, issues, and even emotions parents are likely to encounter whether their children are fun-loving adventurers who just want to dabble in triathlon or are focused swim-bike-run specialists who aspire to Olympic glory.”  

— Melissa Merson (USAT certified youth coach, race director, & official) 

 “Marsiglio’s contagious enthusiasm and ever developing understanding of the multidisciplinary sport of triathlon and its “tri”mendous splash on our futures of tomorrow is illuminating, source-able, heartfelt, empathetic, and nourishment for the “tri”fecta of the mind, body and soul.”

— Coach Mo McCown (USAT certified youth coach, SLAP—Swim Like a Pro) 

“Kids Who Tri is an important contribution to the current conversation on youth sports. Dr. Marsiglio explains, using first-hand examples and research-backed insights, how triathlon uniquely equips kids with the physical and mental tools they’ll need to thrive in tomorrow’s world. This book is for the parent who wants to gift his/her child with a life-long love of sport, challenge, and fitness.”

—    Joe Maloy (Olympian and World Champion Triathlete)  

“We should be alarmed that 84 percent of youth athletes quit playing sports by age 15, in part, because they can’t meet the time commitments, don’t have access to recreational sports as high schoolers, are unable to make competitive high school teams, or see organized sports as unattractive because they emphasize winning rather than participation. Kids Who Tri is the encyclopedia/solution/google/answer to get kids and keep kids on the right path to live a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their lives. Along with the physical advantages, William Marsiglio shares the mental and maturing benefits of multisport activities. Rather than promoting triathlons as competitions, we stress the value of the camaraderie of training, feeling better physically and emotionally, and being fulfilled by crossing the finish line. The transformation of teenage kids through triathlons can be astonishing and stick with them through college and into adulthood. If we are serious about curing the health-care crisis, let’s collectively push for preventative maintenance? A lot of people doing a little is better than a couple of people doing a lot.”

—  Dan Engelhard (“You Against You,” Founded High School Triathlon Club in 2009, HSTriClub.org, USAT Certified Coach) 

“Wiliam Marsiglio’s book, Kids Who Tri is a classic example of the value of sports for young Americans. Too often, the pressures put on youngsters in team sports results in overwhelming dropout; thus cheating young people of the huge psychological, emotional, and physical benefits that sports participation provides.”

—  Fred C. Engh (Founder, National Alliance for Youth Sports)

“Although I didn't start triathlon until age 24, I believe triathlon is a great sport to start as a youth. I believe the best outcome for youth is to find health and happiness through sport. Triathlon is three sports in one. A child doesn't become overworked, due to time constraints when trying to balance swimming, biking, and running.  William Marsiglio's book is about youth triathletes, how to get involved, and how to grow in the community of triathlon.” 

—  Gwen Jorgensen (2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, 2x ITU World Champion, Triathlete)


About the author
William Marsiglio is a fellow at the National Council on Family Relations and a professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He has authored and co-authored 11 books, including Dads, Kids & Fitness: A Father's Guide to Family Health.

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