So there I was at the Baltimore airport on my way to my 4th of July weekend vacation. I look at my phone and there's a message from an area code that I wasn't used to seeing. So on my way to the baggage claim I decided out of curiosity to call the number. Oh how I wish I hadn't.
Perhaps these questions will help ensure that your child will have a positive experience in a league that meets their needs and interests, rather than a negative experience in a league that doesn't suit them.
A few years ago, I was asked by the ABC television news show 20/20 to be interviewed about issues involving safety in youth sports. They were doing a report on the heartbreaking story of a child who began playing baseball in the first grade.
I don't think that competition is either good or bad. It just is. Rather it is how we think about it and cope with it makes it good or bad. How much we stress the importance of competition that gives it a larger space in our lives than it deserves.
Sports for kids would be a great experience if parents could control their emotions, but that is like asking a person who has never been skiing before to just relax as they look straight down from the top of the mountain. Relaxing just isn't in the cards.
All too often these days, sports are not a positive, rewarding experience for our children. There are numerous kids for whom early sport specialization and inappropriate adult-centered environments lead not to elite athletic performance, but to physical and emotional scars that may last a lifetime.
When parents place their kids in organized sports early on, they start with the right reasons. They hope their kids become more physically fit. They often want their kids to meet friends or learn to be part of a team. But eventually their kids' participation in sports morphs into other motives.
We've been hearing for years that youth sports build character, persistence and teamwork. I'd like to get a bit deeper and explain nine very specific reasons why I am glad my three 20-something kids played sports from preschool through college.
If parents keep reinforcing to their child that her pursuit of excellence in a sport is a sacrifice their child is making instead of a decision she is making, what effect is that likely to have on the child's attitude?
As a whole, our youth sports system is broken. As the country's performance culture increasingly focuses on the development of elite athletes at the youth sports level, our kids are burning out emotionally at a greater clip and at an earlier age.
I was asked recently by a sports parent, "What does it take to make a champion?" I thought for a moment and then responded with three words: "Genes, motivation, and support." So let's explore these three essential components to athletic success.