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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Is “fun” a dirty word in youth sports?

We came across an worthwhile piece a few days ago on the subject of “fun” in youth sports.

Now, we all say that youth sports should be “about the kids”.  Who would argue with that premise?  No one would, at least not publicly.

And further, we make the claim that kids should be having fun—otherwise, why would they turn to activities like swimming, baseball, soccer and gymnastics for recreation?

If something really isn’t fun-because of the attitude of coaches or parents, or because youngsters simply feel “pressure”- chances are they will gravitate away from sports and seek other options (sometimes less healthy) as to how to spend their time.

So while we all will stand up and say “it’s about the kids”, and we have to make sure they are having “fun”, that’s not always what happens in the day-to-day world of youth sports.

Former Canadian National soccer team captain Jason De Vos takes it once step further in his piece on attitudes in youth sport.  (Here’s the link http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/jasondevos/2011/09/fun-shouldnt-be-considered-foul-language-in-canadian-soccer.html  )

It’s a piece that should be reflected upon—and discussed.  We agree with De Vos’ conclusion:  you can, in fact,  develop young athletes well and properly (so some can in fact go on to play at the highest levels of their chosen sport) and still have fun, and enjoy the youth sports experience.

So much, though, is up to coaches—and all of us, as parents.

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