youth sports conference


Registration for the 2017 NAYS Youth Sports Congress is open! REGISTER NOW

Important: All scheduled events and times are subject to change.


9:00am - 5:00pm 

Registration (Lobby C)

ALL attendees must check-in or register onsite before attending any sessions or activities. Please come to the NAYS registration booth in Lobby C of the Orange County Convention Center West Concourse to receive your badge and registration materials. 

5:00pm – 7:00pm 

2017 Best of the Best: NAYS National Awards Plus Welcome Keynote

The NAYS Youth Sports Congress will kick off with a motivational keynote focused on professionalism for youth sports administrators. Plus, we will recognize the winners of the Excellence in Youth Sports Award as well as the NAYS Volunteer Coach of the Year and the NAYS Parent of the Year.


7:30am - 9:00am 

Registration (Lobby C)

ALL attendees must check-in or register onsite before attending any sessions or activities. Please come to the NAYS registration booth in Lobby C of the Orange County Convention Center West Concourse to receive your badge and registration materials.

8:30am - 10:00am 

A Moral Compass Guiding Youth Sports Programs

An ethical dilemma is a choice between two options, both of which are likely to bring about a negative result (sometimes we simply call this “being stuck between a rock and a hard place”). Sport administrators are certainly no strangers to these types of difficult choices. The days where we were called on to merely render fair and equitable decisions regarding access to limited equipment, facilities and resources are over. More than ever, we are now finding ourselves in the middle of interpersonal and legal disputes ranging from participation rights of disabled athletes, accusations of hazing and bullying, and social media intrusions into team and personal privacy, to disagreements – occasionally rising to the point of physical confrontations – among parents, coaches, athletes and officials. Sometimes it seems that every new day brings with it another new ethical challenge for today’s youth sport administrator. This interactive session will explore how our handling of the ethical dilemmas we face serves – for better or worse – as the “moral compass” of our sport program. Scenarios describing common ethical dilemmas in youth sports will be introduced and participants will provide their own examples and experiences dealing with these “hard choices” in the past.

Speaker: Dr. Rick Albrecht

10:15am - 11:45am 

Embracing Youth Sport: Attack the Issues

This presentation will be an engaged discussion about how we seek to address and attack the most important issues we continue to face. Youth sport professionals see problems in their agency but neglect to solve them for fear of legal action or getting caught up in politics. Participants will help to identify the most important issues in youth sport through an interactive dialog with other professionals in the room. Together, we will then discuss a cluster of the issues identified by experts in the field using literature and research based perspectives that might take us to a more compelling understanding.

Speaker: Dr. Skye Arthur-Banning

12:00pm - 5:00pm 

Trade Show (Exhibit Hall C & D)

More than 250 exhibitors pack the Athletic Business Expo floor for a two-day showcase that is the perfect complement to the cutting-edge education of the Youth Sports Congress. You'll meet product experts displaying every component for any of your needs. NAYS sponsors have their own pavilion where you can meet great supporters of NAYS programs.

4:30pm - 6:00pm 

Building Your Shield Part 1: Screening and Protecting from Adults Who Bully

Youth sports administrators must do everything in their power to protect the children in their programs. This is accomplished by taking proactive steps to create a shield to protect the participants as well as the program. This first panel session in a two-part series focuses on the safety of every young athlete by specifically addressing the importance of screening all adults involved and ensuring that adults who are involved do not harm children by their words. The panel will discuss the current state of screening volunteers prior to allowing them to interact with young athletes and then they will discuss how specific behaviors can have lasting detrimental effects since neuroscientists can now document the intensity and fragility of adolescent brains. Following the presentations, a facilitated discussion will allow the audience to discuss several case studies to further demonstrate the need to build a strong protective shield. 

Speakers: John Engh, Dr. Jennifer Fraser, Beverly McIntosh

8:00pm - 11:00pm 

Athletic Business Welcome Reception (Lafayette's at Pointe Orlando)

Lafayette’s Restaurant and Bar in Pointe Orlando will be the site of the AB Welcome Reception.

Known for great live music and tasty Southern-inspired dishes, Lafayette’s is the perfect place to connect with AB Show full-conference attendees, exhibitors, speakers and attendees from show partners MFA and NAYS.

Dance the night away or kick back with a beverage (or two) and relax in this Southern-inspired venue boasting the Nashville Bar, Memphis Room and the Delta Bar.

The event is free for full-conference attendees and exhibitors with your show badge. (Tickets are available for guests at the registration desk for $30, and must be purchased by 6:00pm on Nov. 9.)

Must be 21 years or older to attend.


8:00am - 9:30am 

Developing Character via Youth Sports

What’s the purpose of youth sports? Is winning all that matters? Or is the end all objective about the kids, their progression, their experiences and their growth? Helping them learn about teamwork, hard work and facing – and embracing – challenges that can propel them to life-changing successes. Former Green Bay Packer linebacker and Super Bowl champion Brady Poppinga will provide a simple to implement, process-based strategy to create teachable moments.

Speaker: Brady Poppinga

9:45am - 11:00am 

Coaching the Coaches on Mental Toughness

Mental Toughness is a muscle, meaning it is a skill that can be learned and trained. Are we coaching the best practices to enhance mental toughness? This session will reveal how to coach our own coaches on building confident, resilient competitors.

Speaker: Dr. Rob Bell

11:15am - 12:30pm

Charles Duhigg - Power of Habit

Charles Duhigg is the bestselling author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, which explores the science of habit formation in our lives, companies and societies.

Duhigg is a Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter for the business section of The New York Times, where he contributes to the newspaper and the The New York Times Magazine. He has authored or contributed to multiple series, including "The Reckoning" (2008), which studied the causes and outcomes of the financial crisis, and "The iEconomy", which examined the global economy through the lens of Apple, and which won the 2013 Pulitzer prize in explanatory journalism. He has also won the George Polk Award (2007), the Gerald Loeb Award (2008), the National Journalism Award (2009) and other honors. The Power of Habit spent over two years on The New York Times bestseller list.

In addition to his reporting, Charles Duhigg is a regular contributor to television and radio, including the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Frontline, Dr. Oz and various programs on CNBC and NPR. Before becoming a journalist, Mr. Duhigg worked in private equity and founded a health care company in his home state of New Mexico (and, for one terrifying day in 1999, was a bike messenger in San Francisco). He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and Yale College.

12:30pm - 4:00pm

Trade Show (Exhibit Hall C & D)

More than 250 exhibitors pack the Athletic Business Expo floor for a two-day showcase that is the perfect complement to the cutting-edge education of the Youth Sports Congress. You'll meet product experts displaying every component for any of your needs. NAYS sponsors have their own pavilion where you can meet great supporters of NAYS programs.

4:00pm - 5:30pm 

Building Your Shield Part 2: Emergency, Crisis and Conflict Readiness

Accidents, injuries and other unexpected incidents can and DO happen in youth sports – and they can strike at any time. During a t-ball game last year in South Florida a drunk driver drove onto the field. Javi Perez, there to watch his son play, heroically pushed a man out of the way of the oncoming vehicle but was struck in the process. Both his legs were amputated, and he has endured more than 20 surgeries and procedures. He will join the panel session that will examine emergency preparedness at youth sporting events and enable participants to have a hands-on discussion about specific actions that must be taken to build a thick protective shield.

Speaker: Javier Perez, Dr. Rick Albrecht


8:30am - 10:00am 

A Roundtable Discussion of Current Youth Sports Issues

Every day youth sports administrators are challenged by hot topics affecting the implementation of youth sports in their communities. This roundtable session will explore the changing policies and philosophies in youth sports to arm administrators with practical information that they can share in their community when dealing with a variety of issues.  This session will be led by the CYSA Leadership Team as well as the winners of the 2017 Excellence in Youth Sports Awards. A variety of practical information will be shared and discussed.

Speaker: CYSA Leadership Team & Excellence Award Winner

10:15am - 11:45am 

Positioning Yourself as the Leader in Youth Sports - Creating Partnerships that Work!

Do you find it challenging to work with partner organizations when it comes to youth sports? Have you encountered difficulties while attempting to forge a partnership? Or are you unclear on what steps to take in creating a partnership that can enhance your program’s standing and build recognition and awareness within the community? If so, this session is for you! We will discuss the hybrid model that works for Detroit Parks and Recreation (MI) and a unique initiative that is used in the City of Gainesville (FL). Plus, we will share how you can use these models and others to assist with forging productive partnerships for your organization. This open dialogue examining partnerships will create a deeper understanding of what it takes for strengthening these important relationships.

Speaker: Tracey Lawrence-Thomas, Guillermo Chacon, Lisa Licata