Most research on the topics of sociology in sport surrounds professional, semi-professional or collegiate athletes and teams. However, many of the issues discovered with those populations stem from ideas and values instilled in children playing sports that are carried too far as the athlete continues their development through sport. This happens as a result of the pressures put on children to reach top levels of performance at a young age and, ultimately, reach the professional level.
The number one reason why children begin playing sports is that it’s fun and the number one reason children drop out of sports is that it’s not fun anymore. So how as parents, coaches and fan, do we make sure that kids are still having fun? This issue has a very simple solution, the problem is that a lot of people have to buy into a different perspective of children’s sports.
Anyone who has worked with children has likely noticed that children are a group of people who are very vocal about what they do and do not believe is fun. Many times when adults teach children the proper way to play sports as we have determined to be culturally correct, it actually takes away from the child’s valuable and unique sport experience. Children are creative beings and, if left with minimal instructions in practices, they will eventually find a way to make drills and games run smoothly . This ‘learn by doing’ approach develops not only sport-specific skills and overall athletic skills, but also social and teamwork skills as well.
So as a parent or coach, you must reconsider your definition of success. If you truly want your children to succeed in sports, does success have to mean a professional career or can it mean that your child has developed a love for sport and physical activity, along with positive habits to carry with them for rest of their lives?