Call To Action: Organized Sports Return to Your Roots

Call to action for Youth Sport Organizations- Return to your roots.

Focus on the development of character in children as they mature into adulthood to help them prepare for the modern world. 

Organized youth sports have a limited history as not much evidence is found of their presence until the boom associated with the industrialization during and following World War II.  Fraternal, religious, and civic organizations began to offer organized youth sports programs with the goal of helping boys become men.  Girls did not have many options until the 70’s to participate in youth sports programs. 

Organized and unorganized sports is where many in my and previous generation learned to lead, to follow, how to get back up, to become resilient, to be a good team mate, to sacrifice for the unknown, character wins over the long term, impulse control, to follow directions, perspective matters, and many other needs for the modern world.  We were tricked into learning while having fun.  This was out of design and we are better for it. 

Do you or your organization help or hinder children from learning life lessons while playing?  As we all know the ‘work of a child is play’ and due to many social changes children have less unstructured time to play than ever. 

·         How much adult involvement?  I believe ‘the more adults added to a child program makes it less a child program’.   Adults now solve more problems ‘to help’ and the children face less challenges. 

·         Do you or your club promote character development in its messaging?  Can define an expectation.

·         Do you or your organization offer free play time that allows the players to independently choose teams, make boundaries, enforce rules, solve conflict, and adjust to the dynamics of each situation?

·         Do you or your club message to all participants that each child must be an active participant?  Players who do not try close to their best on a regular basis take away from their team mates and opponents learning opportunity.

·         Are players held to realistic standards and expectation?  Do they run in when called or when late?

·         Does your club look to implement character development into each child’s experience through coach development?

·         Does your club put players in travel programs at ages that are not deemed appropriate by not just common-sense standards, but also by child development experts who are backed up by studies?  When is a child old enough to spend more time in the car than on the field?

It is time to act!  Challenge yourself and your organization!

This is why, we do

what we do

 at Soccer Source 360.

John Dingle

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