It is not just practice

Is your son or daughter athlete frustrated that he or she is not getting enough playing time in games, and only really gets to play in practice?  Then you should have him or her read today’s New York Times article on how Aaron Rodgers, currently the best quarterback in the NFL, dealt with that problem during his first three years with the Green Bay Packers when he rarely got into a game.

How to throw a football

Happy Thanksgiving! Whether you are playing some touch football today or teaching your child how to throw a spiral, here’s some advice from NFL quarterbacks on how to throw a football.

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Five Arizona high school football championship games will be played this Saturday, Nov. 26, at  three venues in Glendale, Tempe and Flagstaff.

Chandler Hamilton will play Phoenix Desert Vista for the Division I title at 2 p.m. at University of Phoenix Stadium.  Scottsdale Chaparral and Vail Cienaga face off for the Division II crown at ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium at 5 p.m.  Both games will be televised on Fox Sports Arizona.

A championship tripleheader will take place at NAU’s Walkup Skydome starting at 11:30 a.m. with the Division V championship game between Phoenix Northwest Christian and Yuma Catholic.  The Division IV game between Lakeside Blue Ridge and Show Low will follow at 3:30 p.m. and the day will conclude with Scottsdale Saguaro and Glendale Cactus playing for the Division III title at 7:30 p.m.

To view the Flagstaff games live on http://www.aia360.com, click here:

Northwest Christian v. Yuma Catholic

Blue Ridge v. Show Low

Saguaro v. Cactus

Admission for Saturday’s games is $10 for adults and $6 for students with high school ID cards.

Raymond S. Kellis Cheer headed for nationals

The Raymond S. Kellis cheer squad.

The cheer squad at Raymond S. Kellis High School in Glendale never gives up.

After a tumultuous 2010-11 season, they fought past it all to end up winning the 2011 AIA Division 1 Coed Division State Championship title. This year, the girls were faced with an entirely new set of challenges: a new coaching staff (now under the guidance of Ashli Johnson), a new school division and a new team size (they competed with 23 in the large category last year and are now competing with 16 competing in the medium category). They also are competing this season in both all-girl and coed events.

The squad’s first competition was Saturday, Nov. 5  at the USA Regional Competition at Deer Valley High School. They competed in the All Girl Varsity Show Cheer Advanced Small/Medium Division for the first time ever. Kellis Cheer was awarded with secnd place and won a bid to the 27th Annual USA High School Spirit Nationals at the Anaheim Convention Center in California March 30- April 1, 2012.

Kellis Cheer has never been to the USA Nationals, so this will be an amazing event for them to experience. Half of the members of the team are seniors this year.

Johnson’s goal is to take Kellis Cheer to the top and show that hard work, dedication and vision will help this team be a championship team once again. Their next competition is Saturday, Nov. 12 at the AIA Spiritline State Qualifiers at Mesquite High School.

Submitted by Tracey Rodriguez of Peoria

Phoenix Suns form new Suns Kids Dance Team

The Phoenix Suns are forming a new Suns Kids’ Dance Team that will perform as part of the Suns’ high-energy game entertainment. Auditions will be held on the main court of US Airways Center on Saturday, Nov. 19 with registration beginning at noon.

The Phoenix Suns Kids’ Dance Team will be comprised of high-energy, trained dancers between the ages of 6 and 12 who are enthusiastic about the Phoenix Suns and performing in front of large crowds.

The team will perform at a minimum of one Phoenix Suns home game a month, interact with fans and have the opportunity to dance with other Suns entertainment groups.

For more details, contact Kip Helt via email at khelt@suns.com or by phone at 602-379-7951.

Phoenix Suns are recruiting Ball Kids

The Phoenix Suns will hold interviews this month for kids age 16 and older who want to be Suns Ball Kids during the 2011-12 season.

Registration will be held at US Airways Center at 5:30pm on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Ball Kids are on the court rebounding for the players as the team warms up prior to games and at halftime. They are also responsible for wiping down the court after any player takes a fall during the game.

Ball Kids must be highly motivated, willing to work hard and able to attend all Suns home games during the 2011-12 season. Interviewees should bring a resume. Parking is available in the US Airways Center garage, located on the west side of the arena (on First Street just south of Jefferson), at no charge.

For more information, contact Shaun Stanhibel at 602-379-7652 or visit suns.com.

And the winners are…

Youth Athlete of the Year Joshua Braun, Phoenix Regional Sports Commission President Jon Schmieder, Youth Contributor of the Year Hugh Smith, Youth Contributor of the Year Erik Widmark, Youth Coach of the Year Melissa Belote Ripley.

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission announced the winners of the Youth Sports of the Year Awards at a Sept. 24 banquet. The awards recognize exceptional youth athletes, coaches and youth sports contributors for their dedication to positive leadership and outstanding character. The 2011 Youth Sports of the Year Award recipients include:

Youth Athlete of the Year, Joshua Braun

Braun is a senior at Boulder Creek High School, where he is a part of the National Honor Society and is academically ranked 12th in his class of 608 students. Braun currently plays on his varsity basketball team and the AAU basketball team for the Arizona Aces. He has been selected for the Duel in the Desert All-Tournament Team.

Braun was awarded Deer Valley School District Male Athlete of the Year in 2009, has been an All-State honorable mention athlete and was also named the All-Region Most Valuable Player. He helped coordinate various youth basketball camps, actively volunteered his time as a referee and has coached volleyball and basketball teams at his local community center. Braun also dedicates his time to numerous Anthem area events including Emma’s Run and a roadside cleanup effort with military veterans.

Youth Coach of the Year, Melissa Belote Ripley

Ripley spent more than 30 years volunteering as a swim coach. She is currently working with the Rio Salado Swim Club and has been the coach at McClintock High School for the last several years.

Her passion and commitment to the sport of swimming began at a young age and carried her through to the Olympics, where she brought home three gold medals. For the better part of three decades, Ripley has been committed to helping individual swimmers reach their full potential.

Youth Sports Contributor of the Year, Erik Widmark

Known as “Wid” by the community, Widmark has been the driving force behind the Grand Canyon State Games, which is the country’s largest amateur sports festival. Going on its 19th year, the Games offer spirited competition and positively impact more than 400,000 youth participants.

Youth Sports Contributor of the Year, Hugh Smith

Smith has been with The First Tee of Phoenix since 2006 and has been an integral part in growing the game of golf for youth athletes throughout Maricopa County. Through his dedication, the First Tee Life Skills Program has grown to five sites throughout Maricopa County, with 14 staff members and 3,500 full-time students enrolled. The program imparts lessons about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, how to make decisions by thinking about the possible consequences and how to define and set goals — from the golf course to everyday life.

Hugh has introduced golf into physical education programs in more than 130 schools, which now include over 50,000 students participating in golf-related curriculums.

The winners were honored at the Youth Sports Awards Banquet at the Grand Canyon University Arena. Thirty-four honorees in three categories were recognized and acknowledged.

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission is a a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation created in 1988 to “Enrich Our Community Through Sports” by bringing national and international sporting events to the state, promoting existing events and teams and supporting youth sports programs. phoenixsports.org.