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The National Collegiate Athletic Association has endorsed the concept of running national sports camps for precollegiate girls.

In approving a pilot program, the president's commission of the N.C.A.A. asked staff members to explore the possibility of setting up programs on college campuses as early as this summer.

Because the commission only recently approved the concept, however, there is no money set aside in this year's budget for such camps, said Kathryn Reith, a spokeswoman for the association.

The commission approved the pilot program as part of an effort to satisfy the demands of the Black Coaches Association, whose members are seeking more-equitable treatment for minorities and women. As envisioned, a large majority of the camp participants would be from minority groups.

The camps would aim to interest girls in sports at younger ages, eventually adding to the number of women who participate in college athletics. Participants' ages and other specifics have not yet been set.

In a series of experiments conducted during the past few years, researchers at the University of Washington have found that youngsters tend to stick with sports longer, build self-esteem, and reduce anxiety if coaches stress effort rather than winning.

One study of Little League players by two psychology professors showed that only 5 percent dropped out if their coaches emphasized effort, compared with a 25 percent dropout rate among young baseball players whose coaches underscored winning.

Another study by the professors, Ronald E. Smith and Frank L. Smoll, indicated that athletes who fell into the 20th-to-25th percentile on self-esteem measurements at the beginning of a season moved to the 50th percentile if their coaches focused on effort.

Michael Jordan and Jackie Joyner-Kersee are among the prominent athletes featured in television and newspaper advertisements, which began during the N.C.A.A. basketball playoffs last month, urging people to help America's young people participate in sports.

The ads are part of a $10 million initiative to insure that there are school and community athletic programs available for children and teenagers. The program is sponsored by NIKE, an athletic-shoe company.

Readers and viewers are asked to call (800) 929-PLAY to find out how they can get involved.

Vol. 13, Issue 29

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