How do you see today's economy affecting the specialization of youth sports? I personally feel that we're taking this "all my eggs in one basket and I'll pay anything to get my 8yr old to college" approach to far. What are your thoughts?
I think kids nowadays especially athletic kids should focus more on there education then sports. There is only a small small number of people who go pro, and one day it will be up to them to run our businesses and economy.
Bottom line...it's expensive if your kids play sports. Park and Rec leagues are, typically, the most economical of all...they're also the least competitive. Great for the really little ones but when the kids get older and want to hone their skills, Park and Rec leagues aren't much good. The next step up is school-sponsored leagues -- and now your wallet's really gonna take a hit. There's a fee for everything and then there's even more. Higher level of competition but still probably enough to make the scouts take much notice. Next are club teams, which are highly competitive...they're also extremely expensive as a rule. A talented athlete can hone their skills and perfect areas that need work with a club team.
For a price.
In short, you want your 8-year-old to go to college? Teach him/her good study habits and get him/her in that way. Go the academic scholarship route. In the long run, the money that you're going to spend on sports through the years is probably going to come close to what you'd pay for tuition anyway.
I agree partially, I do think that the competitive nature of sports provides a solid foundation for our future business leaders. Teaching our youth about commitment, work ethic, confidence and how to compete fairly. But, you do nail it when you say "there is only a small number of people who will go pro" and Elisabeth also nails it when she says that the parents would be better off putting the lesson money towards college tuition.
I guess my point is that I've seen more and more specialization for kids at such a young age that I would encourage parents to let the kids be kids and gravitate to the sport of their choice as they mature. There's as much bad information out there as there is good, and as you both outlined keep them focused on being Student athletes. Maintaining strong grades is an important part of the college recruitment process.
There are many instances that a college will forget grades if someone who is good enough can fall in there mist. If a child can't keep up with grades in college, they will have them special tutored etc. Why? Because a person can always learn what they don't already know, but the talent comes at a cost no matter how hard you work at it you might never achieve it.
By all means...if a kid is interested in athletics, it should be encouraged but if I may offer a word of caution: I see so many parents who try to relive their high school sports glory days through their kids...they expect the kids to play and then they push them through. All too often, it stops being about the child (and stops being fun for the student) and becomes about the parent and the parent's investment, whether it's an emotional, competetive or financial investment. Many of these parents have an unrealistic expectation of what sports can (and should) do for their children and they're extremely disappointed when those expectations don't bear fruit. Disappointed almost to the point of making the child feel at fault. As though they've let their parent(s) down.
I work with high school athletes and have for several years and I've seen this scenario over and over and over...it's really sad because athletics are good for a student both physically and mentally -- if it's allowed to be.
This is a really controversial topic in today's society. Some parents yes, do push their children overboard with playing college sports in order to be drafted. In some cases, I know that the child that plays sports does not even want to play his or her sport in college, but the parents want them to play college athletics.
In my opinion, I believe that if a child is interested in playing sports that is all fine and dandy. However, if education is lacking due to the sports playing, then it is time for the parents to take action and bring the child's grades back up.
For some out there that do not belive that it is possible to maintain great grades while playing sports, there cannot be anything farther from the truth. Just because you play sports does not mean that the athlete can keep his or her grades up
I am playing college baseball and all through high school and my first semester of college I have maintained an "A" average.
I have known a few youth that were pushed by family into wrestling for the hopes of a scholarship and burned out on it quickly every year - their grades dropped and they ended up cut from the team each year. Adults should not do that to kids, imo.
My son is only 1 and he is very much into sports already. It's unbelievable. I will show him and teach him what it takes to be the best but by no means will be an obnoxious father over the top.
The wishes of the child should be taken into account, sport is for life and if a child shows a talent and a desire to be involved in sport then we as parents/coaches should be there to facilitate and provide the environment to support them.
I do understand the issue with pushy parents, there is a fine line, the other end of the spectrum is the domain of the indifferent parents perhaps an even greater threat to a child's development.
In a competitive environment our children learn that we can't always win, and if supported properly will understand that you never lose when the level of participation has been 100%.
Sport is so fundamental to our development and our continued well being into old age, that we owe it to the next generation to pass on our knowledge experience and guidance.
Having been involved in a flegling sport and watch it grow into a muti million pound industry, we may not have as much of a say as we might think when it comes to how will sport be affected during this downturn, e.g if little Johny (11) get's it into his little head that he want to be a snowboarder and nothing is going to stop him, what will you do will you support him or will you dash his dreams ?
Watched as an 11 year old kid turned up at a UK artificial snowboard slope then proceeded to become the best UK snowboarder by the age of 15 and now regularly appears in the world's top twenty rankings, still 15, his parents have supported him, kept his feet on the ground and basically did the right thing. If you kid has no talent there no point flogging a dead horse if your kid has talent then let it shine.
I don't think it will have a massive effect on Youth development within the two main British sports (Rugby and Football). In fact it might even have a positive effect on football, with clubs not having stupid money to blow on over rated foreigners they may wish to actually see what is available on their door step. Nurturing the best of British talent, which can only have a positive effect on the national sides.
I do think it will affect countries in the third world, however, in U.S the economical impact should not be so huge, I think.
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