Experts: Parents Focused Too Much on Sports Excellence, Instead of Promoting Fun
The number of kids playing sports is falling fast and a report by the Washington Post is shedding light on why.
A survey by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association found the number of children playing sports plunged 10% between 2009 and 2014, and less kids are playing team sports like baseball and touch football.
Experts say parents have become too focused on excellence and specialization – largely in pursuit of the slim chance that their child will one day earn a college scholarship from their sport – while neglecting fun.
And they say a shift over the past two decades towards elite competition like travel teams has left recreational leagues to languish along with children’s interest in playing. Seventy percent of kids quit sports by age 13, the Post says.
Professor Mark Hyman of George Washington University says a system “designed to meet the needs of the most talented kids” is driving out those who can’t keep up. “We no longer value participation. We value excellence.”
The “Outnumbered” gang took up the issue, with Sandra Smith calling the report “astonishing” and contrary to everything she believed about the trend in sports participation.
Lou Dobbs said parents and families are stretching themselves thin by trying to be involved in everything all day.
“Parents should think twice about how many sports they let their kids get into,” Dobbs said. “It’s such a demand on their time, the kids’ time and the family’s time.”
Let us know what you think: are overbearing parents ruining the fun for kids?