The panel: No Young Pros: Keeping Youth Sports Accessible
Date/time: Sunday, 3:30 p.m.
The panelists: Danielle Elliot, Vice Sports; Jeremy Goldberg, LeagueApps; Lawrence Cann, Street Soccer USA, Lisa Strasman, NCSA Atheltic Recruiting
The gist: With companies making millions of dollars off of youth sports, there’s no going back to good ol’ rec leagues. The panelists discussed how to work with those companies to make sure the ROI for children (and their health and fun) is still high for competitors. Goldberg said the dynamic of the privatization of youth sports has pushed out parents as coaches. The experience of kids being taught the game by a professional coach has caused added stress to competitors. The panelists agreed that the best way forward is more education to parents of children playing sports. They need to be taught that the most important part of youth under the age 11 playing sports is having fun. Focusing on the results of a game or match is detrimental to the development of athletes.
The takeaway: Youth sports have become too coach-centric, encouraging the results of a soccer match or a basketball game instead of focusing on children having fun. Giving kids a voice in the decision making process of youth sports leagues will keep them playing sports longer and encourage them to have fun.
Having children play many sports instead of specializing in one sport growing up will help them develop better as athletes and young adults.
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