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Email of the Day: Youth Team Sports Are Not Daycare

By Dr. Laura on December 5, 2023
Little boy sits in stadium stands with a soccer ball on his lap and his fist resting on forehead

As a volunteer coach to youth team sports, I have seen many young kids come through the sports programs. Some kids are athletic and love sports. Others are the "non-sporty" kids. Here is my point of view as a youth coach regarding kids quitting.


1. If the child is miserable, let them quit. It’s important for a child to try a sport, but if they don't like it, they don't like it. In most cases, it's the parent who signs their child up either because the parent was once "a great athlete" or they want their child "to be active." "Non-sporty" kids usually don't want to play sports.
2. The coach is miserable. As a coach, it is not easy to teach a child a sport they don’t like or know nothing about. It is challenging, and most of the time, impossible. Nothing irritates me more than when a parent tells me, "I signed Johnny up because he needs to be active." I want to scream, "Then go buy him a bike or buy him a puppy and take it on walks!" Team sports are not day care and coaches are not personal trainers. 99% of youth coaches are volunteers, so kids who want to be there are their motivation.
3. The team is miserable. Kids know when someone doesn't want to participate. That child brings the entire team down. The saying β€œone bad apple spoils the basket” applies to team sports. So, what should a parent do who wants their child to be physically active in a sport or be a part of a team? There are team sports with individual competition: golf, tennis, bowling, track and field, and many more. The child will know the fun and work ethic of a team sport while competing at his or her own athletic ability.
There is a time and a place to teach your child that quitting is not the best option, but when it comes to youth sports, especially youth team sports, it's not the hill to die on.


Coach Val

Youth Team Sports Are Not Daycare


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