Dear Coach: My 11-year-old is big for his age (5'11", 150
pounds), and he has good hoops skills. But he's self-conscious
about his size and is fearful of hurting others, so he plays
timidly. How do I get him into the game?
RELUCTANT GIANT

Dear Reluctant: First, caution your son that playing gingerly can
backfire. "His coordination is still developing," says sports and
exercise psychologist Russ Medbery. "To protect himself and
others, he has to move decisively." Show him how he can help his
teammates--for example, he can pull down offensive boards and kick
the ball out rather than bank in easy putbacks--without being a
front-court bully. He may even find opponents appreciate his hard
play. "Your son is working on developing relationships," Medbery
says. "His concern for others is something to praise, not
discourage."

Dear Coach: When should kids be allowed to check in hockey? My
son is 11, and his league allows contact. Even though my son is
small for his age, isn't 11 too young for checking?
CHECK MATED

Dear Mated: According to USA Hockey, body checking is allowed
starting at peewee level (ages 11 and 12), so your son's league
is within the guidelines. However, your concern is natural. Kids
grow at different rates, so the disparity in body sizes can be
significant. If you feel your son's not physically ready, ask the
league if it has another no-check program. If it doesn't, spend
time teaching him the proper way to deliver and absorb contact.
Learning the fundamentals is the most important factor in
minimizing injuries.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)