Playing sports as a kid brought some of the best times, friends and lessons that I have learned in my life. Sports are starting to change a lot these days, and there are a lot of reasons for these changes. They are killing the pipelines of sports. You can say whatever you want, but most athletes would agree that they loved youth sports because they are not about the money or keeping your scholarship. They were just about the pure love of the game and sport, but these realities are changing because of the coaching landscape, parents and the all mighty dollar.
Get That Scholarship
The problems start with all of the money that is in the NCAA for scholarships and the rising costs of school. Many feel the need to go to college and yet don’t have the money to pay for it so that chase for scholarships is more fierce than ever. Everyone wants a scholarship these days, or at least they are told by their parents to go and get one. There is nothing wrong with these at first glance but when you dig deeper, it gets ugly.
Kids become fixed on getting scholarships and not mastering their sport. You get results from mastery, and the mastery will bring you the scholarship. I don’t think the idea of chasing a scholarship should come before the importance of practice. Practice makes you better not worrying all day that you won’t get a scholarship. The money has made some people go crazy.
I got a full ride to Iowa State, so I get it, my brother also got on to TCU. The thing is though we started training when we were little boys, and the focus was on our craft. We both loved the art of sprinting. The love of the craft helped us to put in the hard work and reach the end goal.
Parents don’t want their kids to fail anymore. This has created helicopter parents that make sure their children never see any pain. The pain is what is needed for us to grow. It was breaking my leg when I was 12 that gave me a love for understanding the human body better. That moment was just what I needed to take care of myself better.
Helicopter parenting is ruining youth sports because some parents want success more than their kids. If they could play for their children, they probably would, its rather weird. Parents have taken the identity of their kids. When the kid does well parents brag and tell the world. When their kids lose they are quiet and ashamed, and all of this gets dumped on the kid.
Where is the fun of playing a sport to keep your parents feeling valuable? There is none, so many of these kids walk away from the sport altogether. Damn shame. We need parents to let their kids just be athletes. Let them workout and figure out conflicts that they have on their own.
Trophies for All
I won’t even make this one long. We should not get trophies for being mediocre. I don’t care what anyone says. I remember being in college and getting a medal at big 12s for coming 5th and in my head, I am like what is this? I’d want no medal if it is not gold, silver or bronze. These stupid medals are ruining youth sports and peoples lives.
If there is a job opening if you’re the 5th best candidate, do you get a reward? We need to remember that life is not about making people feel good. It is about learning how to endure tough situations and still come back as strong as ever. Losing is the best thing that can happen to you when I was young.
I remember playing on football teams that were just coached so bad that we would be losing 50-0 just getting smacked!!! I did not enjoy it, but I needed it. When I was finally able to be on a good team I appreciated more and I was that much hungrier.
Everyone is a Coach
The problem with the coaching pipeline is that there is not enough coach education. Then since a lot of males play sports themselves and they watch youth sports, they think it means they can coach and this is just WRONG! Being a good athlete does not even make you a decent coach. It can make you a worse coach matter of fact.
To help any sport grow it needs to have coaches but for the kids to stay in that sport those coaches need to be good ones. They need proper training instead of just relying on what they did back in the day. Where this gets even tougher is that volunteers are necessary and they should be appreciated for giving their time. But it creates a tough situation when a team will take anyone as a volunteer and the person that does need a lot of training. The kids lose out.
Half Committed Parents
Maybe this was a thing when I was younger, but I just feel like parents are the way to comfortable with their kids missing practice. If a kid has a lot of homework, many parents think its ok for their kid to miss practice because in their eye its just one practice. In response to that, I say no its a commitment to your team that you break when you don’t show up. It is more than in practice.
Athletes need to know that what they start they will finish and just because another area in life goes differently than your plan, does not mean you can skip on your commitments. That is just setting a bad habit, and it is one that will carry through life. I have seen people in the workplace who think its ok to stop all work if they are not feeling 100% in all aspects of life.
Final Thoughts On Youth Sports
Sports are not the end all and be all of life. They teach the youth valuable lessons that are hard to explain in other ways. School can’t even teach what youth sports can in many cases. Parents, coaches, and athletes all need to be better. We can’t let the state of sports slip any further or it will not be good.