John O’Sullivan, one of the brightest writers about youth sports, has recently come out with an article outlining the biggest problems in youth sports today. It’s one of the best written pieces on the topic. Problems with management, coaching and parenting all boil down to this – the child’s interests aren’t made the core of their physical activity.
Whether it’s a parent pushing his or her kids too hard, a coach too focused on winning first, or an administrative person choosing his or her sports’ interests instead of the interests of a young athlete, it’s pretty clear that there are flaws in the youth sports system. You can read all about it in John’s blog, but it got me thinking, why is it so?
Now the aforementioned blog post makes a great point how the knowledgeable but silent majority is to blame for this detrimental situation and I couldn’t agree more. We need to make our voices heard to change the world. Whether it’s youth sports, poverty alleviation or human rights, taking action is the first step to change.
However, I believe that understanding why do parents, coaches and managers harm the sport they supposedly love is just as important as taking action. It occurred to me that barring a few people who just shouldn’t be let near youth sports at all, the main reason for these main problems is the same:
People haven’t figured out why are they involved in youth sports
Why do you do what you do? When was the last time you answered that question?
….as a coach, is your goal winning every game, burning bridges on the way there, or rather to see your athletes develop to the best of their abilities?
…as a parent, do you rather want your kid to be successful or happy?
…as a manager, is developing your club an end goal in itself or rather a tool to change the world around us for the better?
So why are you active in youth sports at all? Are you in it for yourself or for the benefit of the kids? Think about it.
Now as a hopeless optimist, I believe that people are inherently good. I believe that for most of these flaws, people can see their mistakes if you tell them about it. That’s the point than John also makes – speak up!
But don’t just nag or complain about it. People don’t like being told what to do. Go to the core of the problem and let the parent, the coach, the manager or the athlete find the purpose of what they are doing. Let them see the whys instead of hows. Let them come to the conclusion themselves.
Most of the people do know in the end that it’s all about the kids. They can just get carried away with the everyday business or haven’t really thought about the consequences of their actions too much. So be the coach, the parent, the manager or the athlete to remind them the long-term values that youth sport offers. Help them enjoy the game!
We have discussed some of the problems that the current sports system faces in one of our previous blogs posts as well. Check it out!