Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Parents: To much emphasis on youth sports?

Now a days it seems that parents believe their child needs to go to every camp, clinic, practice, tournament and even higher private training sessions.  When I was growing up I never had private training sessions and I do not remember my up bringing during my youth years to be hectic with sports.  I participated in lacrosse, football, wrestling and basketball.  From what I remember I had a great time and I had more time than I knew what to do with for free time.  Now a days I feel that the mindset has changed that every parents child has to be the best one on the field.  This is not going to be the case all the time and parents lose sight on the fact that it is just a game.  Sports are supposed to be fun.  I play lacrosse at the collegiate level and my fellow seniors and I always tell the team to have fun.  If the game starts to become a job and not fun, then what’s the point?  Yes, there are times where I am working hard and it seems more work than play, but I am in college going for another title run.  If children in sports spend to much time being forced to play the fun will be taken out of it and they will lose interest over time.  Some people think that 12 hours a week is to much for an 11 year old to dedicate to sports.  I believe that it depends on the situation.  If the 11 year old is self motivated and is asking the parents to participate this much then by all means it is not to much time at all.  If the parents force the child to participate that much because they think it is right and the child sort of likes it, then I think that can be a problem.  Growing up I had football practice 4 nights a week and then when games started I had 3 practices and 1 game a week.  I personally loved football growing up and I could not get enough of it.  Practices were around 2 hours long and a game would take around 3 hours.  This would amount to around 8 to 9 hours a week and I personally remember wanting to play in a game everyday of the week.  Honestly, I believe it all depends on the situation with the parents and the children.  Now a question is raised that we are putting to much emphasis on competitions.  Again with this dilemma I believe it all depends on the situation.  The situation is how hold the children are.  If they are 6 years old there is no need to put a high emphasis on winning, losing and competitions.  At this age it all needs to be instructional and to make it fun so the children do not lose motivation for sports.  As the children get older into middle school I believe there has to be more of an emphasis on competition.  If we do not put an emphasis on competition where does the athletic drive come from?  Are we going to shelter our kids until they get to high school and still think losing a J.V. football game is Okay?  There has to be a time where the children learn the ways of sports.  Yes losing can make someone upset, but it will teach them life lessons.  I remember losing when I was in youth football in the championship and I was so upset that me and my teammates cried.  Looking back I thought that was a great experience to have.  It made me realize the truth behind sports that there are winners, losers and everyone is not going to win every game they play.  As I kept playing I remembered that experience and it motivated me and allowed to truly realize the reality of sport.  I think that in the beginning stages of youth sports it should be fun, but there needs to be a time where the children get old enough to start learning the truth behind sports.

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