The Changes in Youth Sports Over the Years

The Changes in Youth Sports Over the Years

In the 60’s and 70’s most kids joined their first baseball or soccer team when they were around 9 years old.  It was a fun way to teach kids how to play sports and if they didn’t like it much the next year they could try a completely different sport.  Most kids only played one sport per year or maybe baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter.  Fast forward to today and things are quite different.  The changes in youth sports over the years have been significant.

Kids are Playing Younger

Today kids are starting to play organized sports even as young as 3, before they are really old enough to understand the rules.  They play a sport chosen by their parents and by the age of 10 they are playing year round with special coaches.  The intensity for children that young used to be only reserved for elite level high school and college athletes.  This brings up a bunch of problems.

Kids are being signed up to sports younger than ever.  Normally they wouldn’t start trying to play soccer until 7-8 years old or even older before they started playing basketball.  At this age, 3-5 these kids just don’t have the physical coordination, the attention span or understanding to go through an hour long practice.  This makes the sport too hard so your kids don’t end up liking whatever sport their parents put them into.

Picking a Sport

Today kids have to pick the sport of their choice by the time they are ten years old, this is the path that most kids have to take in order to earn those coveted scholarships in college.  One side effect is that kids younger than ever are having to have stressed injuries treated.  Right up until they enter college kids bodies are still growing and developing, they are too young for both the physical and mental stress that comes with being an elite athlete.  That being said there are some kids with some phenomenal talent as you can see in the video below.

The Role of Parents and Coaches

Putting kids in sports at such a young age is a choice made by parents and we have all heard stories of the overzealous parent at a little league sporting event.  There have been plenty of parents who are no longer permitted at their child’s games because of inappropriate behaviour.  That has caused schools and youth leagues to make parents sign a code of conduct for when they attend games.  Coaching has also become more intense for those coaching young athletes.  Imagine being the coach who taught Michael Phelps or Tom Brady.  It opens up huge career possibilities when you have coached a champion.  Maybe it’s time to get back to letting kids enjoy the game.

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Youth Sports and Life Skills

Youth Sports and Life Skills

Youth sports are great for kids of any age, most of us grew up loving to play basketball, baseball or football.  Many continue to play and their love of the sport continues to this day.  Aside from the love of the sport, for many of us youth sports and life skills went hand in hand.  Today we put our own kids in youth sports to teach them all kinds of life lessons including teamwork, sportsmanship, it keeps our kids out of trouble and they get to hang out with other kids with a shared interest.  It is crucial for kids to learn the skills they are going to need when they get older and youth sports can help them do just that.

Life Skills

One of the most crucial skills kids learn during their time playing youth sports is time management.  Let’s start with punctuality, while parents, babysitters and and older siblings may be the ones actually driving them to their games, your child still needs to be ready and prepared on time.  If you have ever tried to get kids ready and out the door for school in the morning then you can appreciate how important time management is.

However when it comes to sports not showing up on time can have real consequences like not being able to start or less time on the field during the game.  Coaches want kids that show up and your child will learn that quickly.  This is a skill that you will need throughout your life.  Not showing up to work on time will get you fired, punctuality is important and the earlier your child learns that the better.

Responsibility

As your kids grow up they are going to have homework and other responsibilities, they are going to have to learn to manage time to make sure everything gets done.  Our adult lives are centered around managing time, time at work, time with our families and time needed to recharge.  This is a lesson they are going to need throughout their lives and sports can help them to find that balance.  In their teen years they will be balancing practices with school, homework assignments, friends and for many, a part time job on top of all of that.  Meeting your responsibilities and managing time effectively are an essential tool they will always need.

Youth sports teach valuable life lessons to your children responsibility, teamwork and maybe the most important lesson, how to lose gracefully.

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