Developing youth athletes is not a simple process. There are many challenges for coaches and parents to overcome. Unfortunately, children's experience of sport has become a race to the end line of college or professional sport, despite the fact that 99% of young athletes will not be either college or professional athletes. This has created a problematic experience for children with wide ranging and damaging results.
|Children's experience of sport
- Too early specialization in late specialization sports.
- Too much training at too young an age
- Too much emphasis on winning over skill development at a young age.
- Lack of qualified and experienced coaches, particularly in the younger age groups.
- Parental fears of children being 'left behind' if they don't engage in the current youth sport set-up.
- Focus is on college and pro success while the reality is 99% of young athletes will not reach this level.
- High dropout rate. 75% of young athletes have dropped out of organized sport by 13 years of age.
- Increase in childhood obesity and related conditions. Obesity now affects 17% of US children and adolescents. Triple the rate of one generation ago.
- Lack of creativity. Children are afraid of making mistakes for fear of being benched, cut, and shouted out, so they play safe.
- Diminishing US national sport success. For example, in the 2004 Olympic Games, medals per citizen ranked the US 39th in the world with 0.34 gold medals per million population. For comparison, Australia ranked second with 2.46 gold medals per million population.
- Incidence of overuse injuries has rapidly increased. Up to 50% of all injuries seen in pediatric sports medicine are related to overuse.
At SPG our mission and work is dedicated to tackling these issues of the current youth sports environment. Our approach, CARE™ environment, and training methods are designed to ensure all youth athletes have a positive experience in sport regardless of their ability. This includes helping parents navigate the sports experience, and helping coaches and youth organizations improve their practices and delivery to ultimately ensure all children have the opportunity to develop in an appropriate learning environment.