Entertaining Sports Parents
Are young athletes entertainers for adults? Whether you agree with this idea or not, read on.
You’ll learn why a father of three and senior writer at ESPN Magazine came up with this thesis. You’ll discover what he thinks can be done to change today’s sports scene from what he views as a win-at-all-costs, child-as-entertainer scene to an environment that provides important benefits to young athletes.
Tom Farrey is a writer who flew to 15 different cities around the country studying six to eight different youth sports to research his book, “Game On: The All-American Race to Make
Champions of Our Children.”
He did this because he was perplexed about how much the sports scene had changed since he was a kid.
He wondered: Why do our elementary school students take part in travel teams? Why are we holding world championships with golfers in kindergarten?
“From very early on (in the history of youth sports), adults saw youth sports as a way to develop character in kids and build soldiers and managers. Over time, it developed an entertainment focus. Now it’s now an entertainment enterprise,” he says.
One of the reasons youth sports took this turn: The rewards for athletic achievement have gone up, he says. Scholarship money has quadrupled to $1.5 billion per year.
“Parents are more focused on the idea of a scholarship. That’s why the travel team environment has grown dramatically over the past 15 years. They are in theory a pipeline to scholarships,”
What’s more, parents are inundated with news about the obesity crisis. They’re anxious–maybe too anxious–to ensure their kids stay fit by playing sports, he says.
Farrey doesn’t want to blame parents for how youth sports have evolved. Instead, he’s interested in how we got here and how to get the youth sports scene more focused on providing benefits to
One of the keys to ensuring kids get the right experience is finding the right coach. Farrey suggests that parents choose coaches carefully…
If parents want to coach, they should sign up for courses offered by the Positive Coaching Alliance, he says. That group aims to ensure coaches are well-trained and provide a positive experience for kids. You can listen to Show 41:
Child Athletes or Entertainers on our website:
P.S. get access to the full interview, his solutions, and 23 other expert Interviews on youth sports and psychology visit:
Kids Sports Psychology Expert Interviews
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