This past week I came across an article called The Race to Nowhere in Youth Sports, published by Changing The Game Project. It’s a fantastic article that you should read. I’ll link to at the bottom of this post.
That article got me thinking about the simple question, what is the point of youth sports?
Sports are as much a part of the fabric of American society as anything else. The 2015 College Football National Championship set the new record for ratings for cable television. The Super Bowl literally changes schedules and takes over an entire day for millions of people. Americans are crazy about sports, and it starts at the youth levels.
According to an ESPN The Mag article, there were 21.5 million youth ages 6-17 playing competitive sports in 2011.
Youth sports is a major industry and our families are busier than ever trying to keep up with all the practices, games, travel, and expenses involved.
But what is this all for? Is it for the parents? The coaches? Or, the overall development of young people into adults who will make a difference in the world around them?
It is easy to get caught up in the love of sports and competition. But, we have to keep things in perspective. A youth baseball coach we work with in the KC Metro area says it well:
Most of our kids will not go on to play college or professional sports. But, every one of our kids will go on to be an adult.
Youth sports needs to be about the development of our young people into the leaders of tomorrow who will lead and impact others for the good of those around them. Yes, sports are awesome. Yes, competition and all that comes with it can be valuable for the development of young people. And yes, sports can provide opportunities in life that kids might not otherwise get without sports. But, youth sports can be so much more.
Please read this article at Changing the Game Project. It’s fantastic. It’s called the Race to Nowhere in Youth Sports. The leaders of tomorrow are counting on us.