Youth sports have come a long way in the last few decades. What was once nothing more than a few kids gathering to play a fun but (usually) rather unorganized game has become serious business. Today’s youth sports are highly competitive, well-coached, and just really top-of-the-line. Here, we examine some of the big changes we’ve seen and what they say about the future of youth sports.
Today’s Sports are Serious Business
In the past, youth sports were not taken very seriously. They were just something to keep kids busy and give their parents a little peace of mind. Nowadays, however, youth sports are a big deal. Many parents have dreams of their kids becoming professional athletes, and, even those who don’t, often still want their kids to have high level, high quality experiences. Kids spend more time practicing and playing than they ever did before which might mean a better, brighter crop of professional athletes in the years to come. However, it might also mean more kids burnt out on sports at an early age if you’re not careful, so make sure you balance the seriousness of today’s youth sports with a healthy dose of fun.
Attention to Diet
“Calories,” “protein,” and “carbs” used to be foreign terms to kids. Nowadays, however, more parents realize the importance of getting the right mix of foods in order to make their athletes as healthy as possible, to prevent injury, and to increase energy and stamina. While parents should steer clear of putting growing kids on restrictive diets, the trend toward whole, organic, and natural foods is definitely a good thing. If the healthy eating trend keeps up, young athletes should grow into healthier adults, whether they continue playing sports or not, and that’s certainly a great thing.
A Focus on Winning
While many things have been gained in recent years, some things have also been lost. In the past, for example, youth sports tended to be about having fun, making friends, and developing skills and qualities that would last a lifetime. Unfortunately, nowadays, many of those truly wonderful benefits get overshadowed by a focus on winning, and so does the plain and simple joy of playing a sport for the fun of it. Remember, no matter how high the aspirations you have for your young athlete, that it’s not about whether you win or lose but about how you play the game (and how much you enjoy it).