Binaya Manandhar

Telecommunications Services, Leadership, Youth Development

Binaya Manandhar - Telecommunications Services, Leadership, Youth Development

Youth Sports in America

Youth Sports for young kids in America

Target group for this article: Parents of 3-12 years old kids living in USA.

Why to put kids in the Youth Sports?

Physical Activity: If the kids become physically active in young age, they will keep this habit their whole life which in turn brings in lot of physical, mental and social benefits.

Discipline: Every sports have rules players need to follow. Also, players needs to listen to the Coach, Referees. That helps their discipline and fosters playing by rules concept.

Teamwork: Teamwork is a skill which is needed both in personal and professional life. 80-90% for work we do as adult is in a team. All the sports helps team work. Even individual sports like Swimming, Track, Gymnastic, Tennis etc. have team events.

Why not to put kids in Youth Sports?

Many parents put their kids in Youth Sports thinking that they will get college scholarships, they would participate in Olympics, and they would be professional athletes earning millions of dollars.

Some kids would definitely make to very high level and become professional athletes. But, to start with those expectations would lead to tension and disappointments.

You shouldn’t put your kid in Karate thinking that after few weeks your kid will be next Bruce Lee.

What are different kinds of Sports?

One can categorize Sports into various categories.

Individual vs. Team Sports: Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, Softball, Baseball Football etc. are primary team sports. Swimming, Track, Tennis, Gymnastics etc. are individual sports. But, all the individual sports also have some team aspects to it.

Popular main stream sports vs. specialty sports: Football, Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Swimming, Gymnastic etc. are main stream popular sports. Lot of people play it. There are sports which are specialty sports e.g. Archery, Luge, Curling, Fencing etc.

Middle School, High School, and College Sports: As kids go through Middle School, High School, and College – the coverage of the sports become wider. Middle Schools offer limited choice of Sports e.g. Football (Boys), Basketball (Boys & Girls), Volleyball (Girls), Track (Boys & Girls), Tennis (Boys & Girls), Cross Country (Boys & Girls). The High School choices then expand to more sports e.g. Soft ball, Swimming, Ice Hockey, Golf, Wrestling, and Baseball etc. Then College offer even more choices e.g. Gymnastics, Archery, Rowing etc.

Non-school sports: There are sports which are not in Schools e.g. Karate, Judo, Wusu, Mixed Martial Arts.

When to start kids in Youth Sports?

Many parents in USA start to put kids already in age of 3-4 years old.

Which sports should I put my kids into?

At the early ages of 3-4 years old, it doesn’t really matter what they play. Just get them playing something and see their interest develop and in the process you will also learn all the possibilities.

Check with your local Churches, YMCA and your City Recreational Parks. They probably have some program for kids starting age or 3-4 years old. Lots of kids start with playing toddler Soccer, T-ball etc.

Letting kids learn how to swim in early ages is also a very good idea. Even if later they do not do Swimming as sports, it is important that they are able to Swim at least 50 meters and float in water so that you don’t have to worry about them drowning in pools.

Soccer/Basketball are very good sports to start in early age of 4-5 years old as it involves lot of team work, running, coordination etc.

For Volleyball, you can probably wait till 4-5 Grade so that kids have developed enough upper body strength.

Some kids play Football very early age. I think it is better to wait to at least 4-5 Grade before starting on Football as well. Many kids start Soccer early age and then switch to Soccer when they grow up as most of the Athletic abilities are common.

Baseball, Softball, Baseball, Tennis and several other sports also kids start to play 5-7 years old.

For Baseball, Softball, kids start at the age of 5-6 as Blast Ball where Girls and Boys play together. As they grow older, Boys play Baseball and Girls play Softball.

Swimming, Gymnastic the kids mature very quickly. Many Olympic gymnasts are in their teens. So, it becomes very competitive in young age.

Lot of kids do Karate/Taekwondo when they are young. But, do not expect that they would be Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan with those Lessons. Most of the Karate Dojo’s are run as small business. So, their main motivation is to earn money. Martial arts I think kids can do little bit later or even after they are adult.

Middle School Sports:

Most of the Middle Schools offer limited choice of Sports e.g. Football (Boys), Basketball (Boys & Girls), Volleyball (Girls), Track (Boys & Girls), Tennis (Boys & Girls), Cross Country (Boys & Girls) and Soccer (Boys and Girls)


Middle School athletics start in Grade 7.

I really recommend kids to participate in the Middle School mainly due to Social and Team aspects. It is better for kids to be busy and be associated to a team. In that way they can stay busy and stay out of trouble.

Sports like Track and Cross Country, there are not cuts. No special preparation required. All the kids can participate. If the kids are playing various other sports, they automatically are also preparing for Track and Cross Country.

However all other team sports, there is some kind of cut. If the kid has never played the sports before then, it becomes difficult to make to the team.

So, if your kid is planning to do some Middle School sports, it is better to get them play that sport few seasons before 7th Grade so that it will help them to make the team.

That becomes interesting if your kid is doing Sports competitively which is not a Middle School Sport (e.g. Swimming, Softball, Baseball, Lacrosse, Gymnastics etc.) My recommendation in that case is to put the kid in some Middle School Sport recreationally for few seasons prior to 7th Grade so that they would make the team. It doesn’t matter which team (A, B, C) they make to they will get all the benefits of being in the team.

How much does it cost?

Many youth sports arranged by City Recreational Parks are even free or just charge minimum token amount.

If it is arranged by YMCA, Churches, cost is still minimum to around 50$ for a season of 2-3 months.

City Leagues, YMCA Leagues costs around 80$-100$ per season (3 months).

In recreational level the cost is very less as it is coached by volunteer coaches and they use City and School facilities.

However, when they go to competitive level, the cost shoots up quite high as they need to pay for the professional coaches and private facilities. Whichever sport your kid play competitively (also known as Travel Teams in some cases), you are looking at cost of 3000$ to 5000$ per year.

When do they play competitively?

It depends on Sports. Swimming, Gymnastics etc. becomes competitive quite early. Soccer, Basketball, Softball, Baseball is around age of 10-11.

When to spend money and when not to spend money?

I see lot of parents spending lot of money in the early years with private coaching etc. while kids are still figuring out what they want to do.

My recommendation is not to spend too much money when kids are very young. Just put them in recreational leagues. Go and play with them even if you have never played that sport yourself. You can find lots of instructional videos in YouTube.

You can save and use the money later when they choose what they want to do seriously.

Can my kids do multiple Sports?

In early ages it is recommended to do multiple sports so that kids get chance to play lot of things and see which sports they like the best. Also, physically and mentally kids develop different things by playing different sports.

All the City, YMCA recreational and Middle School Sports are not played year round. They have different seasons

For example Soccer is usually played in spring and fall, Football in Fall, Basketball in Winter and Summer, Softball/baseball in late spring and fall etc. So, kids have chance to play various sports in various times of the year.

Similarly in Middle School also, different sports are played in different time of the year for example Volleyball/Football in fall, Basketball in winter, Track in spring, etc. So, kids can pretty much play all the sports if they want.

However, competitive sports is totally different topic. They play year round and time commitment is very high. So, it is very difficult or impossible to play more than one sport competitively. So, after kids know which Sport they would like to play competitively, they can still play other sports recreationally.

In High School also it is quite difficult to play more than one Sport due to academics and other activities. However, some kids manage to play multiple sports as they are in different seasons. But, most of the kids play only one Sport.


Youth sport is wonderful thing with many advantages. In early ages, it doen’t matter what they play. Just get them playing something. As they grow older, they learn more and you will learn more and you will know which sport they could focus on.

One thing is guaranteed, Playing Youth Sport will have lifelong positive impact on the kids even after they become adults.

Game Theory vs. Team Work

How does competitive Game Theory work together with Team Work.

Can we get win-win situation when we are competing with each other?

This is the speech I gave back in 2007.

Several things have changed since. So, my own view has also evolved in this topics.

I am intending to give next speech on this topics. So, I encourage you to watch this video and post your comments below it before next Toastmasters meeting.




How to motivate people?

You cannot motivate somebody by giving what you want to give.

To motivate somebody, you need to give them what they need and want.

People’s needs keep on changing. Therefore to be a good Manager one needs to continuously access employee’s changing needs and keep trying to fulfill them while still keeping the business needs in track.


Safety First

The first and the most important rule of any sport is safety. Your kids can be safer just by following some basic things. If we instill these basic things in their life style then it will stay with them forever.

Wear right shoes

Wearing right shoes is probably most important safety precaution.

Different sports have different movement of body therefore shoes are designed different ways. Tennis, Basketball have lot of lateral movements. Therefore shoes are designed to protect your ankle in the lateral movement. Obviously if you are playing soccer then you would need the cleats and shin guards to protect you. If you use outdoor cleats in turf it will put pressure on your knees.

A reasonable shoes for any sports costs only around 20$-50$. It is money well spent. It not only protects you, it also helps to improve your performance. You don’t need fancy shoes. Just the basic traditional pair designed for the purpose is enough.

When kids are growing very fast they might need new pair of shoes just in few months. If they are playing multiple sports, it might become quite expensive. You might need to buy them new soccer cleats, indoor soccer shoes, basketball shoes, tennis shoes and running shoes just in few months. Still it is money well spent.

If your kids out grow their shoes, you can give it to your friend’s kids if they fit them.


Hydration is another very important safety factor. If kids are not well hydrated, it might lead to serious problem. It is not only important to stay hydrated during the games, it is important to stay hydrated all the time. Sometime we don’t drink enough when it is cold or when we are not thirsty. For example, when we are swimming we don’t get thirsty as we are in water. But, if you don’t drink water when swimming you might get muscle cramp.

Proper Apparel

Your kids need right dress for right sport and the weather. If kids are not dressed well according to weather they might get sick. Investing in a dry-fit under garment goes long way.

Stretch and Warm-up

Stretching and Warm-up before any sports is extremely important to prevent injury. Muscles need to warm up before it is put into full use.

Basic safety techniques of the sports

Basic safety techniques of the sports help a lot for example when kids learn how to skate the first thing taught is how to fall down. It is very important to teach kids how to safely fall down safely.

Middle School Basketball

Basketball is one of the main sports in Middle School. Middle School Basketball is for 7th and 8th Grade kids. It is considered to be cool to play Basketball in the Middle School. Basketball is under athletics program. So, your kid needs to be signed up for athletics to be able to play the Basketball.

The Season:

Basketball tryouts start right after the football season in November. The Season runs from November to the middle of February. Basketball season runs in parallel with the Track and Field season. So, if your kid is doing both Basketball and Track and Field, he/she might have some conflicts.


Basketball has 7th Grade teams and 8th Grade teams. The kids play in the Grade they are in. 7th Grade kid will not play in 8th Grade team even if he is future Kobe Bryant.

In boy’s basketball, in average around 80 kids try out for the team in each grade. Usually there are three teams (A, B and C) with 10-11 kids in each team. So, around 30 kids make the team out of around 80 kids.

Girl’s teams might be little bit different. There might be only A and B teams for the Girls.

How difficult is it to make to the Middle School Basketball Team?

The main factors if your kid will make to the Basketball teams are

  1. Height of your kid: If the kid is tall for his or her age, then even if the skill is not very good he/she will make the team. Coaches can use a tall kid in many different ways.
  2. Hard working attitude and athletic abilities. If the kid works hard and isn’t lazy to run up and down and keep the hand up that counts a lot in the try outs.
  3. Basketball skills: In most school districts if the kid wants to make to “A” team then the skill level should be quite high. Most of the kids in the “A” team play Basketball as their 1st sport and play with some competitive team outside the school. However, for “B” and “C” teams the skill level requirements are not very high. If the kid can dribble with left and right hand, do left side and right side lay-ups and shoot reasonably then he/she should be good to play. The “B” and “C” team players should have played at least few seasons of Basketball in recreational leagues outside. If the kid has never played Basketball before, then he/she will not make to the Basketball team in the School.

How can you help your kid to get in the School Basketball team?

  1. Let the kid practice Basketball in his/her free time. Nothing fancy needed. Right hand dribble, Left hand dribble, right hand and left hand lay-ups, simple shooting drills.
  2. Let the kid join local recreational league (e.g. Y League, City League).
  3. Local High School and College run Basketball camps during the summer break and in holidays. It is a good way to jump start.
  4. If your kid wants to play Basketball as first sports and wants to make to the “A” team and play Basketball in High School and College then you will need to put him/her in competitive team.

The Practice:

Practice is usually for two school periods. Either they run it in the morning one period before the school start and the first period or they run it in the afternoon, the last period and one period after the school. They practice every day of the week during the season.

The Games:

There are around 10 games in the season. Kids play within the School District and against the nearby school districts.  Half of the games are home game and half of the games are away games. For away game kids travel in the school bus.

Usually there is a small entrance fee (around 3$) for getting into the game. You can watch all 3 games (A, B and C teams) for same entrance fee.

There is usually a end of season tournament for “A” team.

The Coaches:

The Coaches are the teachers with double hat as the Coaches. So, please do not expect the coaches to be the former professional Basketball players. If you get a coach who has played Basketball in High School or in College then your kid is very lucky. Do not expect your kid will be a professional Basketball player just by playing for the School. If your kid wants to play Basketball seriously then he/she would need to join competitive team outside beside the school. As there are lot of kids in Basketball team who play competitive Basketball, my observation is that the kids learn from other kids rather than from the coach. School Basketball is more for playing and having fun rather than learning Basketball itself. However, your kid will definitely will be a better Basketball player with school Basketball.

Jersey and Shoes:

The school gives the jerseys. However you need to return it after the season. School doesn’t give the shoes. Good shoes are extremely important for preventing injury. So, please invest in a really good pair or Basketball shoes. 50$ investment should be good enough.


Basketball is one of the most popular American sports. Middle School Basketball is a very good school experience for the kids. Middle School Basketball alone is not enough to prepare your kid for NBA/WNBA, however 100% NBA/WNBA players have played the Middle School Basketball.

Select Soccer in North Texas (DFW Area)

Target group for this article: Parents of 8,9,10 old kids who have been playing soccer for few years and thinking if they should play soccer competitively.

Assumptions: This article assumes that the parents already know about Academy Soccer. If you don’t know, please read my blog on the Academy Soccer.

What is Select Soccer?

Select soccer is a competitive level of youth soccer starting from age of U11 (i.e. Under 11).

What are the main differences between Academy and Select Soccer?

  1. Cost: Cost is the biggest difference. In average Select Soccer costs around $2000+ in club fee, $400+ in uniform plus Tournament fees and other fees. So, yearly cost averages more than $3000+ per child per year.
  2. Commitment: Parents and the player need to make 1 year commitment for time and cost. The contract usually runs from July 1st to May 31st. Players usually tryout from June 1st to June 30th free agent period and sign a contract between July 1st to July 11th.  Players are not allowed to play for any other competitive team without written release from the current coach.
  3. Recreational League: Kids playing select soccer cannot continue playing in recreational leagues as they did in Academy Soccer.  From U11 onwards they need to choose either Select Soccer or Recreational Soccer.

Does my kid need to be gifted Soccer player to play Select Soccer?

  1. No. There are various different levels of competitive leagues. Therefore, if your kid wants to play select soccer and you can make cost and time commitment, you will find a team suitable for him/her.  There are 70+ teams playing in 7+ different levels in DFW areas.

Does brand name teams like FC Dallas, Texans, Liverpool mean that it is higher level of competition?

  1. No. Each club team has several teams in various different leagues and several different geographical areas.
  2. If you search a little bit, you WILL find a team near to your home. It is a business. They want your money.

Should my kid play Select Soccer?

Playing Select Soccer needs lot of commitment from you and your kid. Therefore, your kid really needs to love playing Soccer to enjoy and be successful in Select Soccer. I mean the kid must “love” playing  Soccer. “Love” doesn’t mean “skill” level. If your kid loves soccer, “skill” will eventually come. So, ask your kid “Do you really love playing soccer?” If the answer is not firm “yes” then think about letting them play in recreational level.

Many parents think ahead of High School Soccer, College Scholarship for joining Select Soccer. It is good to think ahead. However it shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Lot of things will happen before your kid is in the High School or in the College. Parents need to be more thoughtful of child’s mental and physical development.

Different levels of leagues in North Texas (DFW area)

Boys Leagues: Classic League is the highest league (It has 3 divisions). Plano Premiere League is the 2nd level (It has 2 divisions) and then there is Arlington league (It has 2 divisions).

Girls: Lake highlands girls classic league is the highest league (It has 3 divisions). Plano Premiere League is the 2nd level (It has 2 divisions) and then there is Arlington league (It has 2 divisions).

So, as you can see there are at least 7 different level of competition. Each division in each league has around 10 teams. So, there are 70+ teams playing select soccer for each gender and age level.

How do the teams get in a league or different division within the league?

When kids enter into U11 select soccer, kids sign-up for the teams by July 11th. Then they play qualifying tournaments in various leagues in July and beginning of August. The result of those tournaments decide which league and which division the teams do end up in. Later on there are some promotions – demotions designed for moving teams from one league or division to the other.

Though it is no guaranteed, the coaches have quite good idea of where their team will end up in based on the squad they have.

Which level of competition should I put my kid in?

This is a very good question you should think seriously. Each child is different. Some kids are motivated when he/she is the best player in the team. On the contrary some kids slack off when he/she is the best player. Some kids quit soccer if put in the bench for long time. Some kids get motivated and work really hard to be off the bench.

So, you should find a team which fits according to your child’s need. Don’t just try to go to the highest league and highest division in a brand name team. If the child is motivated by playing with better players and doesn’t get de-motivated by bench time then you can put him/her in higher division league. If the child is motivated by the being one of the best players in the team then you can put him or her in lower division leagues.


Soccer is a beautiful game. It is great for physical and mental development of the youth. It is one of the best team sport and undisputedly the most popular sport in the whole world.

As parent our job is to help our kids to develop into their maximum potential. Their maximum potential could be anything from just playing for fun to High School, College, MLS, English Premier League, World Cup. Minimum guarantee is the healthy lifestyle, teamwork and fun.

What is Leadership?

What is Leadership?

Simply put, one is a Leader if people are following him/her. If nobody is following, then he/she is not leading. Instead he/she is just taking a walk.

Is Leadership a natural skill or acquired skill?

My answer is: both. Leadership consists of many attributes. Some of which might come naturally. However, many of the Leadership attributes are acquired skills needing learning, thinking, sharing and developing.

Leadership is not associated with Job Title or Position. It is not given. It is something one needs to get it.

The early days….



My first job was in Nepal Telecommunications Corporation in 1990 as Alcatel E10B Switch Engineer. It was a fantastic experience. I got opportunity to travel all across Nepal installing digital Switching Exchanges. In many rural cities in Nepal, we brought people the ability to just pick up the phone and dial to anywhere in the world for the first time in their lives. It was a magical experience.