Playing sports is considered a requirement when growing up in our society. It is one of the key ingredients in order to be a well-rounded teenager on a journey to adulthood. Whether it be playing hockey, lacrosse, soccer, baseball or all of the above, being an athlete is very much encouraged for high school aged students. With this being said, it is often rare to see someone our age be a competitive athlete on top of doing well in school and also having a social life; all of which are very other important ingredients.
Competitive sports, however, force teenagers to dedicate their lives to the sport itself, making a big part of their identity the sport. Generally, when reaching the teen years, coaches and parents advise their athletes to start focusing on only one sport, contradicting widespread thoughts to be a multisport athlete. Research has shown that specialization of one sport can “burn out” young athletes, making them feel too pressured and overwhelmed. According to Offspring, 70% of children drop out of their specialized sports by the time they reach age 13. Having kids be multi-sport athletes for less competitive teams lets kids have fun, stay healthy and worry about more important issues in your teenage life.
Also, the competitive nature of sports requires you starting very young. Joining a sport for fun at an age like 15 or 16 is almost impossible because if you are not “up to speed” with kids your age by the time you are in high school, you get left in the dust with no teams to play for.
High school sports teams are usually known to prove the school’s superiority over other schools by stacking their teams with the best club players that they can get their hands on. You might as well not even attend the grade nine volleyball tryouts if you haven’t bumped, set and spiked a few hundred times before through club play. With this mentality, hundreds of kids are missing out on finding their passion, meeting new people or even just having a fun way to get exercise. High school teams should be dedicated to introducing students to sports that they maybe can’t afford and or don’t have time for, instead of only being reserved for the already superstar players. Leave the club players to the club or at least let others have an equal chance with making the team.
For many children, sports are an escape from school, work or from your usual friends that you see every day in class. Teenagers quit sports every year because they have lost that once fun and excitement feeling they had before every game. It’s all about competition between other teams and even other players on your teams. Not to mention, the politics that come along with playing high level sports can be very stressful for teenagers to deal with. Parents treat teenage sports like the professional league, or even the Olympics! If their kid isn’t treated as the best or doesn’t get as much playing time as the child beside them, conflicts absolutely happen. They even go as far as taking their athlete off the team, or worse, getting kicked off. This can put a lot of unnecessary stress on a teenager, often making the sport not worth playing for some.
Can’t we go back to when sports were fun?
Photo courtesy of http://www.faithandathletics.com/why-your-kids-should-not-play-sports/