Before moving to Austin, I had no idea the importance of youth sports organizations to the surrounding community and to the children of the community. It was great to see so much passion behind offering recreational sports to kids who just want to come out and play. A few months into my job I realized there was a multi-sport league offered for kids with disabilities and the opportunity for other children ages 11-18 to volunteer their time as a “buddy” to assist the league players. “Wow! What a great idea!” An opportunity, not only for the players but what a way to get our youth involved at such an early age in something that will truly make an impact! For some it can be a daily challenge to participate in a mainstream sport. Kids with disabilities often struggle with acceptance, rejection, and the fear of not succeeding. What a child learns from playing team sports can be used in everyday situations and build self confidence. It is important for all kids to be physically active, learn discipline, gain leadership skills, and set goals for themselves. Every child regardless of their different abilities and disabilities should be able to reap these benefits and they can through organized sports. I want to share this article that I found with you about some graduate students who saw a need in a community and created a solution. A soccer program built around children with special needs. It’s a heart-warming story that focuses on individual motor skills, how to play as a team, and the importance of being included.
As a past Program Director of girls youth sports, I know the importance of having volunteers. There’s nothing like working your tail off to create teams and the end result, not enough volunteers. There’s excitement in the fact that in one volleyball season we have 15 teams but the downside, no one is willing to coach. So… here go the phone calls to parents, begging someone to step up not only for your daughter but the 9 other players on their team. Is it really that hard? We should want to be involved in that little piece of their life that they get so much joy out of. Coming from a parent of a 13 year old I would be the first to say “I’m sorry, I just don’t have the time. I work full time, I go to school. Thanks, but I’ll have to pass.” That is pretty much how all my conversations go. So let’s look at the time commitment. Practice once a week and games once a week. On any given game day you can expect to be there no longer than an hour and that’s stretching it and then there’s practice rolled up in to an 8 week season, that’s a grand total of 16 hours in two months. That’s not too bad but who are you telling? I’m one of those parents who needs convincing:).
This article has great information and shows the many different ways that volunteers make a difference.
Are you willing to put in some much needed volunteer work?
I heard through the grapevine that parents are holding their children back, boys in particular, in school to be better at sports. At first, I thought no way! What are the benefits and how does that even make sense? So I did a bit of research and apparently it is happening and more often that not. This topic sparked my interest immediately.
My son happens to be in Pre-K so let’s just use him as an example. For the sake of this blog we will change his name and call him “Adam”. So, yesterday, my husband and I met with his teacher for our parent/teacher conference. Adam has a late summer birthday and happens to be the youngest in the class. We went over her assessment of him and then the question “have you ever discussed holding him back?” was asked. We both looked at each other and said “yes, it has crossed our minds” but certainly not for the reason of playing sports and we whole-heartedly know that is not what she was implying. Since Adam is the youngest, he has the tendency to follow others, not stand up for himself, and just lacks the confidence factor that we normally see in little boys. I’m not saying he’s not progressing along with the other students, because he is but if we send him in to kindergarten with that lack of confidence we could be setting him up for failure. Our reasons for holding back are simple. We want him to succeed!!
So when did it become “the new thing” to hold your kids back simply because you want them to be better at sports? I call that crazy! How is that fair to the other children who don’t get held back and are placed on a team of players who are a year older, stronger, more skilled, and bigger than the rest? If we think our youth needs that additional year for academic, social, confidence growth then, yes but not for the unfair advantage they will have against the younger ones in sports. I’d like to take this time to ask your opinion. How do you feel about this growing trend called “Redshirting”
In today’s world we tend to lose sight of the real reason kids play sports. For me, I was not the competitive type nor did I think winning was everything. It was more about being a part of something and having a purpose but for others it’s the complete opposite. There used to be a time when kids waited in anticipation for sign ups at the local sporting goods store and now they worry they aren’t good enough to make the team. A time when sports were about having fun and playing with your friends without the added pressure of being the best, their chance to be a part of something and at the same time have FUN!
A sophomore at Fairfield Prep surveyed athletes in the town of Darien, Conn. asking ”Why do you play sports?” This article is a breath of fresh air. I’m glad to see so many kids are becoming involved out of the pure joy they get from playing sports. I believe this survey should be anywhere youth sports are offered. It would be interesting to see the outcome. Has it made it to your town? Why shouldn’t we have fun while doing something we enjoy? Read this article and don’t forget to hit the back button to come right back to us!
For the past 5 years I’ve worked for a non-profit sports youth organization. I’ve seen anywhere from the occasional crazed parent on the sidelines yelling at their kids “Do this, do that!” to a community coming together to offer a fun and safe environment for kids to play. I come from a small town and never knew how serious people actually were about youth sports and I’m not taking about the players. Parents are becoming too involved and our kids suffer from it. What are we teaching the younger generation? That the win at all cost mentality is okay? Here is an article by Heather Borden Herve that gives her view on youth sports and crazed parents in her hometown. She certainly has an interesting look in to what goes on “behind the scenes.” Thank you Heather for a wonderfully written article!