On child sports burnout, we must stop blaming parents and start equipping them

www.christianpost.com | 9/21/2019 | Staff
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A recent survey by Utah State University and the Aspen Institute found that the average child today spends less than three years playing a sport and quits by age 11. One of the reasons? Kids just aren’t having fun in sports anymore.

Problem - Sports - Faith - Ability - Children

That’s a major problem when sports, like faith, has the incredible ability to advance our children’s moral, emotional and holistic development.

It’s not the first time youth sports burnout has gotten media attention. In 2018, The New York Times noted that, “the concept of free play has since yielded to… hopes for glory among many of today’s parents” and quoted a medical professional who said that “parental influence on sports specialization can be profound.” A 2015 Huffington Post article linked burnout with “achievement by proxy syndrome,” blaming parents for “living vicariously through the exploits of their children.” Other headlines are asking, “Have parents ruined sports for kids?” and blaming youth sports burnout on “overbearing parents,” and “pushing too hard too young.”

Interview - ESPN - Kobe - Bryant - Trend

In an interview with ESPN, even Kobe Bryant commented on the trend: “Sports used to be something that kids go out and do for fun,” he said. “But now, it's become so regimented, where parents are starting to inject their own experiences, or past failures if you will, onto their children.”

Youth burnout is often linked to an increase in parental pressure. But whatever the reason for it, one thing is clear: If we want our kids to stay in sports, we have to make sports fun again. And that has to start with a compassionate, empathetic mindset focused on supporting parents instead of blaming them.

Director - Youth - Sports - Organization - Parents

As the executive director of a Christian youth sports organization, I can tell you that most parents’ hearts are in the right place. Most of the parents being blamed...
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