Put the ‘FUN’ back in sports….

Below is part of a recent article from the Vancouver Sun.  Worth a quick read and some reflection.

Youth Sports Need More Fun, Not Trophies

Fred Bowen

I think that it’s OK to give everyone a trophy or certificate for participating – up to eight or ten years old.  But kids are smart.  After a while, they realize if everyone gets a trophy, it isn’t much of a prize.

Still, I don’t think kids getting too many trophies is a big problem in youth sports.  The big problem is, according to the U.S. National Alliance for Youth Sports, 70 per cent of young athletes stop playing organized sports by age 13.

Most kids quit playing because given the pressure to win, the games and practices are no longer fun, and teams take only the best players – sending the message to most kids that they are not good enough to play.

That needs to stop.  Everyone – coaches, kids, and parents – needs to change the goals of youth sports.  We have to stop trying to find a few elite athletes, the kind who play for Walz (university coach cited earlier in the column), and start to encourage as many kids as possible to stay active and keep playing sports.

To do that, we don’t need more trophies, travel teams or expensive equipment.  And we don’t need coaches who act as if winning a game is the most important thing in the world.

Instead, we need to put more fun back in youth sports – or, in the words of the holiday season, more joy.

Fred Bowen is the author of 21 sports books on baseball, basketball, football and soccer for kids ages 7 to 12.