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In 1939, Little League was born when Carl Stotz of Williamsport, Pennsylvania founded an organization that gave children the opportunity to play organized baseball. Youth football began in 1929, youth soccer in 1964, junior hockey in 1999, and general school sports in 1903. Each was founded with children in mind, to teach young athletes the ideals of the game, fair play, and teamwork. And all through something the kids could enjoy.
Fast forward to 2019: Youth sports seem to focus on something other than the joy of the game. Parents push and push, kids get stressed about their performance, and coaches get obsessed with winning. When you watch your own child play, do you see them feeling joy for the game?
“We all seek things that we enjoy doing, and avoid things we do not,” says John O’Sullivan from Changing the Game Projects. “Why would kids be any different?”
The shouldn’t be. Here’s why sports should be a joy for your child:
- They are making new friends and playing with old ones.
- They learn a sport that they’ve watched others play on TV.
- They work hard and feel good about seeing the rewards of that hard work.
- They sometimes get to win.
- They learn from their mistakes when they don’t win.
- They get a sense of satisfaction from learning something new.
- They build good friendships with their coaches.
To keep kids playing, they have to experience the joy of the game. Parents and coaches: Let’s commit to helping our athletes find joy in youth sports.
Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.