The prevailing thought trend in youth sports today is that kids should be having fun or they should not be playing. To a certain extent, that is a healthy and worthy philosophy, but it also brings up another dilemma: what does “fun” look like in youth sports?
- Is it a coach who makes your child laugh?
- A team full of great friends?
- The after-game pizza party and yummy snacks?
- Awards and trophies?
Fun in youth sports may mean different things to different kids. So when parents and coaches say children should be having fun, they are casting a very wide net. Perhaps it would be wise to define fun in youth sports with these guidelines. Fun in youth sports should mean that…
- Kids make friends
- Kids learn and see improvement in their skills
- Kids experience the joy of reaching a goal
- Kids celebrate all victories, big and small
- Kids realize that exercise and hard work are tough, but they yield results
- Kids enjoy the support, encouragement and challenge of a caring coach
- Kids don’t have to be controlled, humiliated and manipulated by pushy parents
- Kids learn the joy of a hard fought battle, win or lose
- Kids learn to stress effort, not just results
- Coaches build up and instruct, not demean