Youth Baseball – sports in general – teach us many valuable lessons: teamwork, hard work, and dealing with success. So it should come as no surprise that a multitude of studies have shown that kids who play sports succeed in the classroom. They have higher test scores, they go on to college, they earn higher incomes later in life, and, of course, there are the physical and emotional benefits of playing on a team. So why is the number of kids playing youth sports declining? Over the past five years, this number has dropped nearly 10 percent, and some experts are blaming increasing Parental Pressure.
The Consequences of Parental Pressure in Youth Sports
“Parents are getting increasingly competitive about show that their kids are number one in everything and sports is just another example,” says Yahoo Parenting editorial director Lindsay Powers.
A George Washington University survey of more than 150 children uncovered some pretty interesting things about what children find most fun and entertaining about youth sports. Things like team dynamics, trying hard, and learning topped the list of 81 factors. Winning, meanwhile, came in all the way down at number 48.
“When there is such an over-emphasis on winning, it takes away the enjoyment and fun experience from the kids, says Amanda J. Visek, PhD, an associate professor at George Washington University.
Today, 75 percent of American families with school-aged children have at least one child playing an organized sport – roughly 45 million children nationwide. Now, by the time these children reach the age of 15, 80 percent will quit youth sports. The No. 1 reason they quit – they don’t find youth sports fun anymore.
“Adult expectations are the number one problem,” says Boston Globe writer Jay Atkinson. “Too much money, too much parent involvement, and too many brokenhearted 6-year-olds.”
Parents simply put too much pressure on their children.
“Parents should take a step back and really listen to what their kids want,” says Powers. “For overly-competitive parents, it’s never too late to make a change.”
Remember, only 1% of high school athletes will even receive a Division 1 scholarship. So the odds of your son playing college baseball are slim. Professional baseball is even slimmer. So let your son enjoy youth baseball without unneeded pressure. Most importantly, let him be a kid!
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