On My Soapbox – Youth Athletics Programs
Another year, another season of youth softball, baseball, t-ball, etc. With the first weeks of practice and scrimmage now behind, I just had to say something. First things first, this is not an attack on the youth athletic programs across the country, it’s more a rant about some parents who force their children to participate in team sports. At some point you’ve got to say to yourself, “maybe my child isn’t interested in this sport” and do the right thing, find something else they may be of interest to them. The only reason I say this is that kids should play sports because it’s fun. If your child isn’t having fun, you can’t force them to like it. The only thing that happens is that other kids see this child not having fun. Combine this with a lack of effort on the unmotivated child, and you’ve got a team that can’t develop. The team mentality is very important to development as well as performance. I don’t care if the child in question has athletic ability or not, it’s all about enjoyment of the game and being a part of a team. I’d rather watch a group of kids learning how to play and getting better every week, than a group of unmotivated but potentially talented kids who would just rather not be there. I guess what I’m saying is, the game should be fun for everyone, kids and parents alike. So if your child doesn’t want them to play a given sport, let them explore other options and let the rest of the team (and team’s supporters) enjoy the learning and progression.