Sports And Children

.. at many parents display at games is on the rise (Spaid 1997). Parents often yell at coaches for not recognizing talent, other parents, referees and sometime the child herself. They are believed to behave this way because they see in their children the embodiment of their own unfulfilled expectations and goals (Tye 1997). Children do not need this burden and stress; they are having enough trouble putting one foot in front of other without falling down. Too much stress can seriously affect a childs ability to focus on skills and performance and competition can be seen as a threat and not a challenge.

Some parents push their children so far in sports to a point where it is more work than fun. The child may begin to feel they are playing the sport for their parents instead of for themselves. Some parents even use guilt or bribery to keep the child involved (Tye 1997). Children cannot handle the parental pressure and stick with it to avoid disappointing these parents. Parents who over do themselves in sports make the mistake of punishing a child for a bad performance by withdrawing emotionally from him or her.

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The child may feel unloved because of this disgust and anger parents often portray (Sports Psychology). This can only ruin a relationship between parent and child. The field should be looked and respected as a classroom where kids are to learn and have fun. However; today peoples idea of baseball is what they see in the Major Leagues, children are expected to be a little Major League player. They lose interest because they are not ready for this pressure and feel the sport to be the only thing in their life. Today clubs and travel teams are popular among children involved in sports.

In these very competitive teams there is no emphasis on character development and equal playing time. An all out blitz for competition is shown. The young children in these leagues are pushed harder and sooner. Most of these clubs and travel teams hold tryouts and often makes cuts. This can be very harmful for young children telling them they are failure basically. Some children would do anything to be a part of this high level team, but then finds out they are not ready.

Their self-esteem decreases as they spend time on the bench. Supporters say that they are giving kids what they want an opportunity to improve skills. Sociologist David Hunt opposes this view. He believes these travel teams lead children down a path where few succeed giving them a distorted system of values. There is too much emphasis on something that ends up being only an entertaining part of their live. The emphasis on interpersonal relationships and academics is lost (Billie 1998). In addition to psychological adjustment issues children go through due to stress from sports, there is also physical injury.

Sports is now the leading cause of injury among adolescents, more and more young athletes are damaging their still growing muscles and bones (Krucoff 1998). In 1996, 201,000 Children under the age 14 suffered from basketball injuries that have landed them in the hospital. 167,000 suffered injuries from football 147,000 suffered injuries from baseball 69,000 from soccer (Johnson 1998) These injuries tend to fit the same profile. The children play on a competitive team practicing almost everyday on a year round basis. The duration and intensity is increased during training.

The injury starts off as a pain or an ache but coachs and players feel they can still be active in the game. These injuries tent to be over-use injuries such as stress fractures, tendinitis, and bursitis. Children are not given the time necessary for the body to recover. Coachs and parents both dont realize children have growth tissue that adults dont, leaving them more vulnerable. These injuries were first noticed and tend to be more susceptible in boys because they play in high-risk sports. Girls are also very susceptible to injury because of the increased body fat, decrease in muscle strength, and change in alignment of body (Johnson 1998) Children are not ready at young ages to be using their muscles for vigorous physical activity. In conclusion, sports can be beneficial to a childs self-esteem, confidence, health, and social life.

When a child is an athletic environment that boosts his self-esteem, he will learn faster, enjoy himself more and perform better under competitive pressure. Competition if not used in the wrong way can be a very good thing for children. The word comes from the Latin words com and petere which mean together and seeking respectively. Competition is seeking together where your opponent is your partner, not the enemy. World records are broken all of the time because the best athletes are seeking together and challenging each other to superior performance. Athletes usually in higher level grades do better academically as well.

Parents need to get children off the couches and away from the television set starting when they are young. Parents also need to know their role as a parent on their childs athletic team. They are to be the childs best fan and leave the coaching and instructing to the coach. When a child stops having fun and dreads going to practices and games, a parent should realize they have gone to far. The child that continues to play long after the fun is gone will soon be a drop out statistic.

If they have their own reasons and goals for participating, they will be more motivated to excel and be more successful. References Billie, K. (1998, December). What I Learned in Gym. Psychology Today, p.18. Gobeau, D. (1998, January 23).

Building character in sports. National Catholic Reporter (on-line) p.21. Hellmich, N. (1997, July 1). Few kids get daily exercise. USA Today (on-line), p. D, 1:6. Http://

Johnson, K. (1998, June 2). Very Young, and Very Competitive Beyond Play. Christian Science Monitor p.1. Krucoff, C. (1998, September 29). Encouraging kids to participate in sports.

The Washington Post (on-line), p. Z20. Http:// Picon, D. Making the best out of youth sports. (on-line), p. 1-5. Http:// Spaid, E.

(1997, June 3). Good sportsmanship declines on the sidelines amid rising tempers, leagues, and parks are insisting on parental cool. Christian Science Monitor (on-line), p. 1:3. Http:// stress, anxiety, and energy. Sports Psychology (on-line), p. 1-4. Http://stad.dsl.n1/coach/stresscn.html.

Tye, L. (1997, September 30). Injured at an early age. Boston Globe (on-line), p. A, 1:1. Http:// Editorial Parents, practice sportsmanship. (1998, May 11). The Atlanta Constitution (on-line), p.

A; 08. Http:// Education Essays.


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