A suburban neighbor family has three young boys who are into soccer, baseball , running, skiing, and tennis. After school each day, especially in the spring, the mother makes at least three trips out of and back into the neighborhood driving the boys to games and matches. On Saturdays it's the same routine, with the father taking his turns with the driving.
Sports are definitely in with today's youngsters. Apparently book publishers have recognized the trend and have responded with various series of books on sports. Name the sport and there's a book to tell you about it or how to do it. Perhaps to coincide with the strong interest in the 1984 Olympic Games, many new books on sports are out, along with paperback reprints of earlier ones. Here's a selection of recent books.
George Sullivan has written several books for Dodd, Mead's Better Sports Series. Better Cross-Country Running for Boys and Girls is a good example of his writing and photographs. Mr. Sullivan tells about this sport in which almost anyone can participate. The only equipment needed is a good pair of running shoes, suitable clothing, and a place to run, not on a track but literally across meadows, over hills, and through wooded areas. The season is short, about eight weeks beginning in mid-September.
The sport originated in England, moved to the United States in 1890, was once an Olympic sport, and is now a high school sport in all 50 states. Competition usually consists of dual meets between schools, moving into district, sectional, regional, and state finals. The beauty of cross country is that many runners can compete and winners are chosen by place of finishing rather than by time. Team scores are made up by adding the finishes together. The team with the lowest score wins.
Sullivan not only explains the sport and the rules but gives pointers on form , warming up, walking the course, race strategy, running uphill and downhill, and how to improve. A glossary of terms finishes off the text.
Another book in the series is Better Volleyball for Girls. Here, Sullivan zeroes in on a very versatile sport. Invented as a game to be played by adults in a YMCA gym in 1895, for years volleyball was considered a ''pittypat'' sport. But after the 1964 Olympic Games were televised, and the world saw the Japanese women aggressively playing one of their major sports, things changed. Incorporated into Sullivan's book are the latest strategies for winning, which include serving, passing, setting, spiking, and blocking the ball, as well as diving and rolling. Other paperback books ($2.95 each) in this series feature basketball, soccer, and track in editions for boys or girls where the rules for each differ.
In Field Hockey is for me, Susan Preston-Mauks does a fine job in explaining the basics of field hockey. Through photographs, diagrams, and first-person narration, pretty blonde Allison tells about her first year in her favorite sport. She explains the playing field, purpose of the game, and the equipment needed: a stick, shin and mouth guards, and shoes with cleats for traction. Allison goes on with details of preseason conditioning as well as stick and ball handling. And she delves into the strategy of the game. When she is through, the reader knows the basics of field hockey and its specialized terms. A glossary pulls the terms together. This is an engrossing presentation of the sport.
Another book in Lerner's ''A Sports for me'' series is Racquetball is for me, by Mark Lerner. Again, there's a first-person story. This time Jonathan tells about his favorite sport. He, too, begins with the playing area, in this case, a court. He takes us through a careful explanation of the sport and the equipment needed, its rules, scoring, and playing the game, and he introduces the terminology of racquetball. Each page has especially fine-quality photographs to illustrate Jon's story. Some rather complicated rules are clearly explained. And just imagine, there are 46 books in this series, covering almost everyone's favorite sport from baton twirling to skateboarding.
In Golf for the Young, Eddie Merrins and Michael McTeigue really go into golf. The book is actually a course of instruction developed for the Los Angeles Unified School District. It is divided into three parts: the history and overview of the sport and equipment, with a description of the clubs; an analysis of the grip, stance, and swing, with a 13-lesson mini-course summary; and helpful information on playing junior golf, including rules, strategy, and competition. Again, a complete glossary of terms is included. Line drawings on each page accompany the text. Mature as well as junior golfers could benefit from this clear presentation of the game.
For the young diver who is beginning to move into stiffer competition, Diving (Atheneum's Instructional Books Series) is a good choice. Steve Lehrman and Sammy Lee get down to the ''pin'' points of diving here. They discuss competitive diving in simple terms - from the footwork and takeoff to the execution of each compulsory and voluntary dive.