It is always wonderful to see the faces of children when they meet their heroes.
An interesting study of 300 youth athletes between 8 and 14 found some interesting things:
- When asked their #1 reason for playing sports, 56% say to have fun.
- 84% wish they had more fun when playing sports
- 84% say at one time they quit a team or wanted to quit. Why? 47% say because “it wasn’t any fun.” 29% say some teammates were mean. 23% say there were too many practices that interfered with other activities.
- 31% wished adults weren’t watching their games – they say mostly because adults yell too much, are too distracting, make players nervous and put pressure on them to play better and win.
- When asked how they feel if their team loses, 63% say they still have fun.
- 1 in 5 children witnessed a physical fight between players.
- 59% have seen a verbal fight between players
- 36% have seen a verbal fight between parents
- 61% say they or their team mates have been called “not so nice” names while playing.
- When asked who called them names, 69% say it was someone on the other team. 35% say it was a teammate. 12% say it was someone else’s parent.
I am still looking for a link to the actual survey. But here is a link to a story about it.
There is a lot of talk about concussions in both professional and youth sports. Doctors have learned a lot more about these injuries than they knew when I was a kid. Based on this, a lot of new resources have been created to help parents, coaches and athletes.
One that I recently found is SportsConcussions.org. I encourage you to check it out.
This column was in the Baltimore Sun. I was really struke by it. I have written on many occassions about safety and health issues for youth athletes. Here the author argues that we should train the athletes mothers on what to look out for and what to do and let them lead the fight. Certainly worth thinking about.
From the article:
Data collected from 100 American high schools during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 academic years showed that while recuperation time is similar for both sexes, males reported more cognitive symptoms (feeling “slowed down” or “in a fog,” difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering) while females reported more neurobehavioral (sleeping more than usual, drowsiness, fatigue, nervousness) and somatic (headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, and balance problems) symptoms.
- As athletes specialize earlier and train harder, overuse injuries are on the rise. Fifty percent of pediatric sports injuries are now the result of overuse, according to a 2007 article by members of the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness published in Pediatrics.
- Cross-training and proper stretching also can help prevent overuse injuries
- only 2 percent of high school athletes received college athletic scholarships, the National Collegiate Athletic Association reports.
I saw this story on CNN earlier. A basketball coach at Murrah High School in Jackson, Mississippi got upset about kids messing up a play in practice. To make his point, he apparently whipped the player with what appears to be a weightlifting belt. Someone caught it on video with a cell phone and witnesses say that is was not an isolated incident.
Here’s the CNN story.
Interesting story from the ABC affiliate in Tampa, FL. Seems obvious but there isn’t a lot of talk about this: as a result of nutrition and health care, genetics, early sports training and conditioning, kids are bigger than the used to be at the same age.
This leads to lots of different things – including the potential for more injuries on the field. They also report some interesting information about the lack of support in some communities. According to the article, only about a third of the nation’s high schools with a sports program have a full time athletic trainer – mainly because of cost. In addition, professional medical help for youth sports in a community often follows the availability of certified trainers in the local schools.
Sometimes we forget how good we really do have it here in Fairfax County.
There was another interesting nugget buried in the story: Researchers found that about 9% fewer 7 to 17 year olds were taking part in the top five sports in 2007 than in 1997.
There’s nothing that explains this in the research. Are kids dropping out and/or not starting a sport? Or are there so many different sports options that they are doing something other than a top five sport? At first glance I assumed there were more choices. But I wonder if there really are that many choices in communities that can’t even afford a full time athletic trainer.
When is a team too good to play for the championship? Apparently when you are the undefeated fifth grade football team.
These are the things that drive me nuts. Why can’t these coaches set a good example for the players? That said, why punish the players for the coaches’ dumb behavior?