Students in the Intro to Sports Administration class (KIN 6410) were asked to write a response on the current state of youth sports in America. Here are one student’s thoughts.
By: Alexandria Slack
John O’Sullivan and Eric Anderson describe the current state of youth sports in a very disheartening light. As a child I was involved in many sports. After reading and listening to both of these articles, I realize that either youth sports has changed dramatically in the past 15 years or my parents worked very hard to shield me from programs with a strong focus on winning.
40 million children are playing sports each year and 70% of these children will drop out before the age of 13 (O’Sullivan, 2014). With numbers like this it’s hard to argue that there isn’t an issue. So much pressure is put on children now to choose a sport and specialize. Parents and coaches push these children in hopes that they will be one of the few who will make it in the collegiate or professional fields. The thought of using sport to secure a college scholarship or play professionally not only takes the focus off of the fun of sport but it also takes away the importance of education as a tool to improve ones circumstances (Anderson, 2012).
In an ideal world, I would create a sports program similar to what i9 Sports has done. I would train coaches to teach not only the sport but also values that can be applied to all aspects of life. Teams would be gender integrated, and as Anderson states, it helps put boys and girls on the same level working for the same goal. When boys have to depend on girls for athletic success they “learn to see women as competent leaders, able athletes, and worthy friends” (Anderson, 2012). Finally I would create a program that allowed kids to learn all positions and have equal playing time. However, unlike i9 Sports, I would include playoff and championship games. The importance would always be placed on the child having fun, not winning.
Anderson, E. (2012). I9 and the transformation of youth sport. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 37(1), 97-111
J. O’Sullivan (2014, April). Changing the game in youth sports: John O’Sullivan at TEDxBend. Retrieved from http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Changing-the-Game-in-Youth-Spor;search%3Atag%3A%22tedxbend%22
*The above post does not represent the opinion or stance of the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Studies nor does it represent the opinion of Wayne State University*