By Ken Reed

For a few decades now, ranking high school athletes and teams has been a ubiquitous reality. AAU basketball, the growth of club sports, travel teams, showcase tournaments, and college recruiting have all contributed to this phenomenon. Both individual players and teams are constantly being given a number. Players and coaches tend to judge themselves on these rankings, even when the people making the rankings have rarely seen all the players and teams listed in their own rankings.

It’s not a healthy environment for holistically developing young athletes. Unfortunately, the rankings game has filtered down to youth athletes as young as eight years old in recent years.

“Rankings create this culture of playing for the short-term wins, instead of focusing on the long-term plan to help kids develop and reach their potential,” says Amanda Stanec, Ph.D., founder and owner of MOVE + LIVE + LEARN, a sport and physical education development organization. “Focusing on winning rather than developing all the athletes is also more likely to hinder team chemistry.”

Stanec believes there aren’t any positives to ranking young athletes, even teen athletes at the high school level.

“There don’t seem to be positives to ranking youth athletes, other than serving adult egos,” says Stanec. “… rankings are adult constructs that we’re putting on kids when it is not age or developmentally appropriate to do so.”

Rankings. Just one more example of there being too much adult in youth sports these days.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.