The Youth Sports Conundrum: Going from *Can we go and

January 8, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology
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Too Much of a Good Thing: Realities of Youth Sports Dylan Naeger University of Louisville April 4, 2014

Emphasis Placed on Athletics • High school sports are the most popular extracurricular activity in high schools, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender (Eccles & Barber, 1999; Eide & Ronan, 2001). • The National Federation of State High School Associations reported that approximately 55.1% of high school students participated in athletics during 2009-2010 . • A debate that has arisen at the high school level is whether or not athletics have become a more compelling force than academics in American schools. • Across the nation, critics have questioned the overemphasis placed on athletics in our high schools (Jenkins, Walker, Woodson, & White, 1984; Pipho, 1988; & McGrath, 1984). • A significant percentage of students regarded sports as more important than the academic component of school (Fisher, Juszczak, & Friedman, 1996).

Participation Numbers • The National Federation of State High School Associations in 2012-2013 stated that there were over 7.7 million high school student athletes in the U.S. • “It is estimated that 27 million US youth between 6-18 years of age participate in team sports.” (DiFiori, Benjamin, et. al., 2014) • A 2008 National Council of Youth Sports survey found 60 million US children aged 6-18 participate in some type of organized athletic program. • Additionally, the study found that 44 million of the 60 million youth participate in more than one structured sport program.

Positive Outcomes of Youth Sports Participation • Positive social and psychological benefits including: • Increased self-esteem (Braddock, Royster, Winfield, & Hawkins, 1991; Iso-Ahola & Hartfield, 1986; DiFiori, Benjamin, et. al, 2014) • Development of life skills (Dubas & Snider, 1993) • Increased communication among family members (Abbott, Sutton, Jackson, & Logan, 1976) • Decreased involvement in risky behaviors/activities (Collingwood, Sunderlin, & Kohl, 1994) • Increased academic success (Hanks & Eckland, 1976; Posner & Vandell, 1994; Bailey, 2006) • Increased peer socialization and general fitness (DiFiori, Benjamin, et. al, 2014) • Create positive environments for personal and interpersonal development (Larson, 2000) • Participation can help the likelihood of lifetime participation in sports and physical activities (Beets & Pitetti, 2005)

Competitiveness of Youth Sports Is it Good for the game? • Value of Teamwork • Learning New Physical Skills

• Rewards of Hard Work • Promotion of Self Confidence • Time Management

Youth Involvement: Paying the Price? • High Rates of Dropout • Injuries • Eating Disorders • Performance Enhancing Drugs

Negative Consequences of Youth Sports Participation • Some of the negative results of youth sports participation include: • Increased alcohol use (Jerry-Szpak & Brown, 1994) • Increased use of other substances (Collingwood, Reynolds, Kohl, Smith, & Sloan, 1991) • An emphasis being placed on competitive success has caused more youth to begin high intensity training at younger ages, which can lead to both overuse injuries and burnout (DiFiori, Benjamin, et. al, 2014)

Overuse Injuries Defined • “Overuse injuries are a consequence of repeated micro-trauma in a tendon, muscle, or bone associated with chronic repetition of specific sport activities-tennis serving, baseball pitching, gymnastic routines, running, and shoulder action in swimming, for example.” (American Academy of Pediatrics, Council of Sports Medicine and Fitness, 2007)

What Age Before the Child is Too Young?

Reality Check Necessary Realistic Expectations

Unattainable Expectations

Reasons Athletes Drop Out of Sport • • • • • • • • • • •

Lack of necessary skills for the activity Limited opportunities to play (Playing time) Not allowed to play desired position Team cuts Specialize Lack of control over own games Lack of intrinsic motivation Changing interests (Another sport or activity) Pressure from parents and coaches to win Lack of positive reinforcement Lack of enjoyment

Parental Involvement • Allowing Children to Try New Things

• Sacrifices Made by Parents • Helping Children Reach Their Full Potential

Crossing the Boundary • Living in Their Child’s Footsteps • Dreams of Pro Sports • Improper Training • Out of Control Parents

Aspirations of Turning Pro • Fisher et al. (1996) found that many high school athletes believed that they would likely receive a college athletic scholarship. Specifically, 52% of the males surveyed and 20% of the females. • NCAA conducted a survey to determine the number of high school athletes who go on to compete at the college level and then the pro level. In 2004, 983,000 students participated in high school football in U.S. Only 56,000 of these individuals went on to play college football and just 0.9% of the 983,000 students ended up making it to the professional level. Same held true for other sports as well: 0.03% in basketball, 0.05% in baseball, and 0.08% in men’s soccer (Knox, 2007).

Winning at All Costs • Enormous Time Commitment • Absence of Fun • Overly Competitive Coaches and Parents

• Emergence of Lower Moral Standards

Specialization Does it help youth sports? • Reaching Elite Status • College Athletic Scholarships

All Part of the Equation

Are Youth Sports Out of Control?

Symptoms of Burnout • • • • • • • • •

Increased muscle soreness Increased sleep loss Decreased self-esteem Increased heart rate and blood pressure Increased occurrence to both cold and allergy issues Decreased body weight Decreased libido and appetite Increased mood disturbances Increased perception of physical, mental, & emotional exhaustion • Negative changes in the way one interacts with others

Reasons Athletes Burnout in Sports • • • • • • • • • •

Overuse and fatigue Overtraining Recurrent injuries Overspecialization Poorly qualified coaches Conflicts in values Overemphasis on winning Loss of intrinsic motivation Changing interests Demand for improved performance

Strategies • • • • • • • • • • •

Focusing on fun will help the children play better Youth who are controlled by their fear of failure will play tentatively Focus on what the child did well during the game Help them “Let go of” mistakes Be careful what you are saying before, during, and after to the children Understand what makes sports fun for the child and then support that Never force a child to participate in an activity but encourage the activity if it seems a correct fit for the child If a child is not connecting with a particular sport, then allow them to choose a different activity that is a better fit Remember that children’s interests vary and may be different than yours By making changes to the way adults view youth sports, there is a better chance children will enjoy themselves and develop a love for the game Encourage good sportsmanship by demonstrating positive support for all players, including the opponents

Defining Competition • The word “compete” comes from the Latin words “com” and “petere”, which mean together and seeking respectively. • Thus, the true definition of competition is seeking together where your opponent is your partner, not your enemy. • The better your opponent performs, then the more likely you will display peak performance. • The greater the challenge the better the opportunity for you to go beyond your limits.

Teaching Success/Failure • Encourage children to challenge themselves and attempt to continually improve. • Teach children winning in sports is about doing the best you can do, which is separate from the outcome of the game or your opponent. • One of the main purposes of youth sports is for the child to develop skill acquisition and mastery. • If adults define success and failure in terms of winning and losing, then we are promoting a dangerous game.

Maintaining the Fire • The environment in which sport participation occurs, either intensely competitive or recreational, is neither positive or negative by itself. The environment along with the people involved with the sport experience determine the outcomes (Danish, Petitpas, & Hale, 1990).

• Thank you for your attention and interest in this topic. • If you have future questions or would like more information, feel free to contact me at: Dylan Naeger HSS Department University of Louisville Crawford Gym, Room 112 Louisville, KY 40292 502-852-5050 [email protected]

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