By Ken Reed
The latest from youth sports world: A youth football league was forced to cancel its season due to violent threats against league officials.
Nice. It’s always great when adults provide such good role models for 12-year-olds.
Earlier this month ammunition shells were placed at the front gate to the youth football field. The shells had league officers names printed in permanent marker on them. A prior game was rescheduled due to violent threats and a fight between parents broke out at a game this season as well.
Increasingly aggressive — and sometimes violent — parental behavior is just part of the problem in today’s youth sports world.
Another troubling trend is that fewer kids are participating in youth sports these days. The reason? Kids don’t like the pressure adults (parents, coaches) put on them in this ultra competitive youth sports scene — a situation marked by elite club travel teams and one-sport specialization at the expense of recreational leagues for all young people.
The number of total youth sports played by children plummeted 10 percent in the five years between 2009 and 2014.
In a well-done article by the Washington Post’s Michael S. Rosenwald, youth sports author Mark Hyman, a sports management professor at George Washington University, summarizes the situation nicely.
“The system is now designed to meet the needs of the most talented kids,” says Hyman.
“We no longer value participation. We value excellence. The adults have won. If we wiped the slate clean and reinvented youth sports from scratch by putting the physical and emotional needs of kids first, how different would it look? Nothing would be recognizable.”
There’s too much “adult” in youth sports and it’s hurting our kids.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – The guest is Gary McCoy, a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations. Our focus is the injury pandemic in baseball, what’s causing it and how it can be fixed.
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Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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