Don't miss Pat LaFontaine, Lou Holtz, and more!

Don't miss Pat LaFontaine, Lou Holtz, and more!


Pat LaFontaine, one of the greatest NHL players of all-time and a Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, will open this year’s Youth Sports Congress in Orlando with a must-see motivational keynote focused on perseverance.

The 18th annual Congress, the signature event of the National Alliance for Youth Sports, will take place on Nov. 13-16 in conjunction with the Athletic Business Show at the Orange County Convention Center.

LaFontaine’s keynote kicks off a special evening, which features recognizing the winners of the prestigious Excellence in Youth Sports Award as well as honoring the NAYS Volunteer Coach of the Year and the NAYS Parent of the Year. A fun-filled reception follows the award ceremony.

LaFontaine, a long-time youth sports advocate, is the Vice President of Hockey Development for the NHL. He played for the New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers during his illustrious 15-year career. His 1.17 points per game scoring average is the best ever among American-born players, and in 2017 he was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history.


Legendary football coach Lou Holtz delivers the first of two can’t-miss Athletic Business keynotes. His session, Game Plan for Success, will focus on overcoming seemingly impossible challenges by setting your own goals and working to achieve them. Among his many accomplishments, Holtz is the only coach in the history of college football to take six different teams to a bowl game. The author of three New York Times best-selling books, his Three Rules for Living a Good Life: A Game Plan for After Graduation, was released earlier this year.   

Prior to Holtz’s keynote, this first full day of the Congress begins with a panel session on Youth Sports Development. Clay Walker, executive director of the National Fitness Foundation, will moderate the session that will include representatives from an array of youth sports organizations.

Tami Matheny, owner of Refuse2LoseCoaching and author of The Confident Athlete and The Confidence Journal, follows with a session focused on building one’s confidence and helping instill it in others.

A session on building mental skills wraps up the afternoon, led by Dr. Daniel Wann, a professor of psychology at Murray State University; and Dr. Julie Partridge, a professor of sport and exercise psychology at Southern Illinois University.


A session examining the impact technology has on learning and development begins the day, led by John Kriger, adjunct faculty at the Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies, and School of Social Work Office of Continuing Education. He’s also the author of Turned On & Tuned Out, A Guide to Understanding and Managing Tech Dependence.

Steven Smith, co-founder and president of Guardian Defense, will present a session on planning and responding when terror strikes; and Katie Scott, Senior Special Projects Coordinator for the National Athletic Trainers Association, will deliver a presentation on the best practices for handling emergency situations in youth sports.

The day also features another outstanding Athletic Business keynote from Bonnie St. John, a Paralympic skiing medalist, Rhodes Scholar, Fortune 500 Business Consultant and best-selling author. Her session, Normal is Overrated – Aim Higher!, encourages audiences to strive for extraordinary results.


The Congress wraps up with an interactive roundtable on youth sports, exploring the benchmark standards that programs should be focused on. Attendees will have the chance to pose questions and share success stories.  

Early bird registration is under way for this incredible four-day training that enables youth sports professionals to participate in the Congress and AB Show. For those attendees who have yet to earn their Certified Youth Sports Administrator (CYSA) credential, a special Onsite Academy for Youth Sports Administrators is simultaneously scheduled so participants can attend everything during their time in Orlando.

Youth Sports Congress Orlando Lou Holtz Pat LaFontaine

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