Who are we doing this for?
Parents yelling on the sidelines, “Shoot!,” “Pass,!” “What’s wrong with you?”, “C’mon!”, “Kill that kid!”
This was a father to his son at a soccer game a few months ago, after our team tied the other at the buzzer and the boy was running on to the field to high five his teammates.
Dad finished the job with: “Don’t celebrate! You didn’t score.”
Coaches treating every game and practice as if they were heading into a World Cup Final. “Spread out!” “Oh c’mon ref, are you blind?,” “Seriously?” “Hey, you trying to cheat our guys?” “Ref you suck!”
Clubs and travel teams having meetings to feverishly focus on winning at all costs, how to up their power in the community, and most of all, ways to make money.
The attitude? “We’ll conquer the world!” or “We’ll take over the town!” and then the obligatory, “We do it for the kids!”—even as they allow and even encourage abusive coaches to run practices undisturbed.
They are the gate keepers of a system that’s failing.
A system that has put winning ahead of good sportsmanship
A system that has forgotten who we are doing this for … and the very real and traumatic toll it’s taking on these very real children, their families, and communities.
Our goal: To break the code of silence that everything is just fine.
Youth sports used to be about kids: fun, physical health, teamwork, and developing positive life skills. It is now all about winning, fame, wealth, and glory – often for the adults, including the parents.
It is now often fueled by grandiose delusions for their children, overzealous coaches, and a private training mega-industry selling college athletic scholarships and professional or Olympic fame to parents who have been seduced by the idea of winning.
A quick look at the news confirms it. Famous, wealthy parents are lying and buying their children’s “athletic achievements” to get them into choice colleges.
Have we stopped and asked the kids of today why they play team sports – and looked at some of the stark consequences?
*Children who are pushed to the limits and under incredible pressure to perform, ending up injuring themselves at alarming rates and out of sports by age 13, when over 70% of kids leave all competitions.
*Three out of four American families with school-aged children have at least one playing an organized sport — a total of about 45 million kids. By age 15, as many as 80 percent of these youngsters have quit, according to the Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine.
Everything is not fine. What kids truly want!
While the adults are in a flurry over “winning,” in a 2014 George Washington University study, 9 of 10 kids said “fun” is the main reason they participate. When asked to define fun, they offered up 81 reasons — and ranked “winning” at No. 48. Young girls gave it the lowest ratings.
When it’s no longer about fun … little egos are shredded, sometimes for life.
We intend to shed new light, perspective and expose the truth to insure that all those involved in youth sports can join hands and work as one to return youth sports to the children, so they can reap the many benefits we know can help them evolve into healthy adults, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Our mission is to provide an informed awareness of what’s behind this 15-billion-dollar industry. But more, under the guidance of smart and passionate people with a shared vision, an openness to change, and a spirit of collaboration we can create a new culture of innovation.
That starts with knowing who we are doing this for.
LET'S TALK! YOUTH SPORTS: A CONVERSATION
A Conversation with Louise Arsenault, Rachel Breton & Manu Appelius
Welcome to our new series! Today we spoke with three incredibly diverse coaches about the real life work they do, and their perspective on where we are in the world of youth soccer.
Coach Louise "Lou" Arsenault Coach Lou is from New Brunswick, Canada. She is a Speaker - Pro Soccer player - Author of an incredible book, "The Blackout: A Novel Inspired by True Events". You can find more information on her Instagram, her Juggling Program, and on Facebook.
Coach Rachel Breton Rachel is Professional Soccer Player; Videographer/Photographer; Media & Marketing Director; Sports Psych Guru; Trainer/Coach. You can find more information via Twitter & Instagram
Manu Appelius Manu is the Assistant Tech Dir / Head of Op @ Juventus Academy in Los Angeles
Conversation with Gordon Maclelland (Working With Parents in Sports)
Episode 2 of our hit series Let's Talk! Join Gordon Maclelland of @_WWPIS and I on a great conversation about the importance of a great relationship between parents and coaches! We need to include parents in what we do, not exclude them! We need to share with them, otherwise they do not know what you are doing, and trouble brews! Work with parents!
Gordon MacLelland set up ‘Working with Parents in Sport’ after 20 years as a teacher and as a coach to all age levels from 7 year olds to adults. He has a BA/Hons degree in Sports Science from University College Chester and a PGCE from Lancaster University. He is a qualified teacher and has been Director of Sport at an independent prep school in the UK for the last 10 years. He has worked in schools in both the UK and New Zealand for the last 16 years.
He is the author of two books, ‘Great Sports Parenting’ – A pocket guide for parents of children in sport and ‘Engage’ – A coaches guide to building positive relationships with parents. In recent times he has become a parent to two children and the early sporting experiences of his own children prompted him to set up the company as well as write the two books above. As a speaker he brings a wealth of experience to working with organisations, coaches and parents gathered through 20 years as a teacher and coach as well as a parent currently involved in children’s sport. Website: https://www.parentsinsport.co.uk/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/_WWPIS
Conversation with Dr. Rob Bell
Dr. Rob Bell and Producer/Director of the upcoming film "Where Our Children Play: The Challenge of Youth Sports" talk about how to help kids and parents navigate the world of youth sports and mental strength, and what it really means to be tough, competitive .
"Unfortunately, When it’s all said and done, more is said than done… and that is true when actually training your Mental Toughness. We like to talk about the mental game instead of taking action. But, that’s because there was NO PLAN in place. Mental Toughness means performing your best when it matters the most AND dealing with the adversity and setbacks that we will face. If performance is important in your life, then both of these are inevitable, so it isn’t a matter of “if”, but “when” mental toughness is needed.
The odd thing is that many people don’t actually need to be mentally tough in today’s society. These people are comfortable on the sidelines. I’m not sure about you, but we just survive in mediocrity, not thrive. Our goal is to be the BEST at getting BETTER." - Dr. Rob Bell
To connect with Dr. Rob Bell check him out at:
- Sports injuries accounted for 20 percent of all injury-related emergency department visits for children ages 6-19 – from National Athletic Trainer Association
- Whelan Jr., Tim Study: 70 percent of kids stop playing sports by 13 years old, USA Today High School Sports – April 19th, 2017.
Atkinson, Jay, How parents are ruining youth sports - Adults should remember what athletics are really about,” – Boston Globe - May 4th, 2014
The Aspen Institute – “The Play: Ask Kids What They Want”