This month’s topic is youth sports. And really it can be about any youth activity; music, education, art. The structured activities that our kids participate in are an important part of their lives. They lessons they learn and the experiences they have they’ll take with them for life. The negatives are there too. Is it for them or for us? Is it for the coaches? What about the $7 Billion a Year industry that is youth sports? Do the activities of a 10-year-old trump the needs and schedule of an entire family? Have we made ourselves defacto chauffers, agents, and personal assistants to 11-year-olds? What do year round sports or activities do to kids? There’s a reason, given in the video below, 70% of kids quit sports by 13 years of age.
I used to love when you watched my play when I was younger, but now, I wish you weren’t there. I think I am starting to hate playing soccer.
This can be a tough, but necessary one to read. Our kids pick up on how we act and what we say. When we tell them to respect others and then we bad mouth the coach, refs, and other players, that sends them mixed messages.
The number of children playing team sports is falling, with experts blaming a parent-driven focus on elite travel clubs, specialization in one sport and pursuit of scholarships for hurting the country’s youth sports leagues.
What is your goal for your kids when they play sports? Likely the goals are intrinsic, such as hard work, being a team player, and learning. The percentage of kids who get scholarships to play in college is low (about 2%). Single sport specialization hurts them physically and mentally. So, why, if our goals for them are to learn hard work and sportsmanship are we putting so much pressure on them?
If kids can learn to fight their fear and work through it, he says, that steadiness comes in handy later in life — when the stakes are much higher.
I played football, baseball, and wrestled throughout junior high and high school. I learned a lot of lessons during those years. How to push myself, how to work with others, and how to putting winning and losing in perspective were just a few of the lessons learned. All of us have a tendency to seek comfort. Sports will help our kids do things that are uncomfortable but produce lasting benefits.
Can sports be a healthy part of a young man’s development? Sure! But only to an extent. Randy Stinson tells how his sports-loving family opted out of baseball for 18 months in order to stretch themselves in other ways: through mission trips and other gospel outreaches. Randy explains why it’s important to him to give his kids a big vision of the world.
Changing the Game in Youth Sports – John O’Sullivan
TED talk by a former college soccer player and current coach. Youth sports is about….the children. It’s not about the parents and the coach. There are tons of great stuff for kids to gain by playing sports. Those benefits get ruined when we don’t put the players first. Give this video a watch and find out the 5 words you should say to your kid after a game.
Here are some takeaways I gained from researching this:
- Beware of idolatry and making idols out of your kids and the sport
- Kids need breaks; year round single sport participation is detrimental to them
- Kids need activity and the good stuff sports provide
- We parents need to keep sports and our relationship with our kids in perspective
- Sports are a huge opportunity for relationship building with our kids
As Michael said in the quote above, “Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” They’re just playing a game after all.