Youth Sport Myths Abound

by Admin User | Aug 30, 2012

Every game you go to you will hear people use sport clichés such as “It ain’t over until it is over”. In the same way many assumptions of what youth sport should be have been proliferated across the United States between coaches and coaches, parents and parents, coaches and parents, as well as the media. Which of these assumptions is actually based on fact?

Coaches and scouts know how to and should find talented athletes at young ages.

The earlier you become an expert the better, you will have the upper hand and improve your chances of making collegiate and professional sport.

10 years, 10,000 hours to become an expertise – get them as soon as possible.

A champion at age 12 is going to be a champion at age 18 because they know how to win.

You have to have a crazy, over involved parent to develop a champion athlete.

Kids need to pick a sport and train with dedication to that one sport at an early age.

Losing often will destroy a player’s confidence; we need to make sure we protect our children’s self-esteem.

These kids are not motivated. You have to stay on them to motivate them.

Youth today only play for themselves, if they play sport at all. They are less interested in team than we were back in the day.

Many myths exist about developing athletic talent, motivating youth and getting the most of the youth sport experience. The purpose of this blog is to give you the facts based on science; not on popular opinion and surely not because a sports announcer said it was so! This blog will bust youth sport myths.

Every month I will grapple with a tough youth sport issue and shed light on what we know based on research, theory, and best practices. In the end I will provide the best recommendations possible and, at times, leave you with questions to reflect upon.

For example, do you know when your youth sport athlete should specialize in one sport and stop participating in other sports? The answer is not as simple as the age of the athlete, but recent thought has been not before ages 14-15 as well meeting several other criteria (don’t worry this will be the focus of a future post).

This blog is not about how you develop a youth sport champion. While I will provide strategies for enhancing performance, my focus will be more on how the adults involved in youth sport can keep their involvement in perspective. What does this mean? Coaches and parents have a healthy, age-appropriate philosophy of involvement in sport.

So, please come back to this blog as we grapple with some of the toughest youth sport issues and provide answers that you can take back to your local community and share. And, thanks to the National Wrestling Coaches Association for this opportunity. Until the next post – be an informed coach and parent!

Larry Lauer, Ph D

Director of Coaching Education and Development

Institute for the Study of Youth Sports

Michigan State University


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