Research has always touted the benefits of youth sports both physically and mentally. Sports can be a great way to promote socialization and teamwork as well as improve confidence and resilience. A child may meet their best friend that they share all their secrets with on the soccer field. Or they may land their gymnastic routine and begin to portray a new level of confidence. A child may even bounce back in the last five minutes of a championship game to take the lead. These are the little things that add up to make youth sports so beneficial and rewarding.
But when and how does it become too much on our young children? When do these healthy benefits begin to take a turn for the worse and have negative effects on our children? Is it the pressure from the sport itself or is it outside pressure from Parents and Coaches that are just simply too much for our children?
Research shows that, 70% of kids quit playing league sports by age 13, which is a pivotal age for confidence, self esteem and the need for a peer group. The number one reason kids are dropping out is because it is no longer fun. There is much more of an emphasis placed on winning at this age rather than fun. We as parents are unable to change the cultural around youth sports but we can certainly help shape the cultural we place around youth sports within our homes. We can begin by identifying unhealthy sporting environments for our children, that are invested with coaches who are present for the wrong reasons; we as Parents can focus on enjoyment of the sport rather that discussing results and scores immediately following competition, we can coordinate pick up games or street games that are just for FUN. To hear more about youth sports from a Certified Sports Psychology Coach be sure to check out my website www.swfltherapy.com.