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Monday, January 9, 2017

Children and Sports

An excerpt for discussion from John Rosemond's "The New! 6-Point Plan for Raising Healthy, Happy Children."

     "Organized sports would seem to be an ideal complement to the needs of this age (6 - 10 y/o), the perfect medium in which to nurture both the inner and outer self. Not so. The primary problem is adult involvement. Adults organize these programs, raise the money to fund them, and draw up the playing schedule. Adults pick the teams, coach them, referee them, decide who plays and who doesn't, give out awards, and make up the biggest share of the audience."

     "I'm aware that children rarely play pickup games anymore. Somewhere along the line, someone (big business) got the brilliant idea that sports would be more of a meaningful learning experience for children if the games were managed by adults. The adults could see to it that rules were followed, that play was fair, that the children's skills improved through proper coaching, and that conflicts were resolved properly. The end result of all this well-intentioned meddling is that children don't have the opportunity to discover and work these issues out on their own.
     I voice my objections, but people respond by saying things like, "I know, I know, but, John, sports are so competitive these days that if you don't start the kids out young, they won't e able to  make the teams when they get to high school." Hogwash! The same lame argument is used to justify teaching reading skills to pre-school children. Studies show that the earlier you push reading at children, the less joy they bring to the task and the less successful they ultimately are. I suspect the same may be true of organized children's sports. Let's face it. Joy, not parental pressure, is the essence of success, whether that success is in the classroom or on the athletic field.
     I say let the kids have their games back."

(Parenthesis and emphasis is mine.)

Organized sports for children younger than 10  y/o benefits no one other than big business. Big business supplies the uniforms, equipment, water bottles, snacks, fuel, transportation. Small children grow out of all the equipment before it is barely even used. Many children who are joyfully playing soccer at 10  y/o drop out by 13 y/o because they are burned out. I've even read accounts of a year-round soccer 13 y/o soccer player headed for the high school varsity team his freshman year who dropped out to take up snowboarding because his dad couldn't yell at him from the sidelines when he's on the slopes.

Let the children be children. Allow them to play their own games at the park, in your backyard, even at the rec center. They can't learn how to manage themselves and their relationships if the adults are always in the way.

What do you think?

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