Let’s Make Sport Fun Again!
Long-term participation in sport has incredible benefits to kids. Aside from the obvious health benefits, it teaches kids teamwork, discipline, focus, leadership and social skills and helps build character & self-confidence. It’s great for teaching how to manage stress and emotions.
And research shows that Kids who participate in sport do better in school and ultimately are more successful in adult life. Sport is a great “ecole de vie”.
And yet – 70% of kids drop out of organised sport by the time they hit puberty. The statistics for girls is even worse.
Why is this happening?
There are a variety of reasons, yet overwhelmingly, research shows that the #1 reason is that it stops being fun. And a big part of the missing fun – is related to coaching and the pressures that clubs, coaches and parents are putting on kids at a very young age. Furthermore, kids are being encouraged – sometimes forced – to specialize in one sport, at a very young age. This has the effect of taking the enjoyment out of sport, reducing kids all around movement literacy & coordination and increases the potential for overuse injuries.
It’s a vicious cycle. Clubs want to attract players and participants, so they want to show success. Coaches are under pressure to win and have good results, so they only play the best players, yell at kids for making mistakes, punish kids by giving them repetitive drills for losing or not playing ‘hard enough’. Coaches are also “selecting” the best players before kids have even gone through puberty, which means many kids who may have gone on to be talented after their growth spurt, have already been pushed aside.
What do kids want?
And yet when asked, most kids say they would rather have fun and play on a losing team than sit on the bench or get yelled at by coach on a winning team. A research study conducted in the USA with over 300 young kids, asked kids why they play on a sports team. Winning did not make the top 10 reasons – it didn’t even make the top 25. Kids play sport to have fun, be with friends, travel to games, be a part of “something”,
We put coaches, with almost no experience, or formal coaching education on a field with kids at their most vulnerable age. Coaches are led to believe that if they win or get good results – they are doing a good job – regardless of the human cartilage. Coaches have an incredible influence on a young athlete – but it can be positive or negative depending on how they wield that influence. They have the ability to inspire and motivate, or to crush and destroy a future young athlete.
We need to break the cycle and put the fun back in sport.
Coaches need education, support and continuous learning.
By being a part of the INSIDE GAME you are helping educate and inspire coaches – and more importantly, you’ll help put the fun back in sport for young kids.
Let’s make sport fun again and keep kids active, healthy and inspired!
A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.