Tag Archives: Well-Being

Early Success in Sport is Not Everything: The Dangers of Pushing Kids To Perform

The Importance of Balancing Performance and Enjoyment in Youth Sports

Coaching young athletes is a complex task. It requires a delicate balance between fostering their natural abilities and instilling a love for the sport. However, many coaches and parents put too much emphasis on early success. This results in a dangerous trend of kids pushed to perform from a very young age. In this article, we will delve into why having success early on in sports can be misleading and pushing kids to perform is a cause for concern.

Misconceptions

One of the biggest misconceptions in youth sports is that early success is a predictor of future success. In reality, early success is just that – early success. It does not guarantee that the young athlete will continue to excel or even enjoy the sport in the long run. Many factors contribute to success in sports. These include physical ability, mental toughness, and love for the sport. Because a child excels at a young age does not mean they will continue to do so as they grow and mature.

Early success is just that – early success.

Problems

The pressure to succeed at a young age can have detrimental effects on a child’s well-being. Pushing for performance can lead to burnout, injury, and a loss of enjoyment for the sport. We should encourage children to participate in sports for the love of the game and to develop their physical abilities, not to achieve specific times or results.

Success in sports is not the only measure of a child’s worth. Focusing too much on early success in sports can give children the false impression that their worth is solely based on their athletic abilities. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

Learning and growing comes from exploration, experimentation and making mistakes. When the emphasis is only on achieving success, children may feel discouraged from trying new things or taking risks for fear of failing. This stifles their creativity and can lead to a lack of enjoyment of the sport.

Solutions

It’s important for coaches and parents to approach youth sports with a holistic perspective. The focus should be on creating a positive and supportive environment in which young athletes can thrive. By doing so, they can help foster a love for the sport, develop their abilities, and support their physical and mental well-being.

Early victories in athletics are not predictive of future success. Measure the true success of young athletes by their love for the sport, their physical and mental well-being, and their personal development. Coaches and parents should encourage young athletes to participate in sports for the love of it and to develop their abilities, not just to achieve results. Pushing kids to perform is a cause for concern and should not be the primary focus of youth sports. Let’s shift our focus to creating a positive and supportive environment for young athletes to thrive in, both on and off the field.

Summary

  • Early success in sports is not predictive of future success.
  • Focusing solely on performance can lead to burnout, injury, and loss of enjoyment for the sport.
  • Success in sports should not be the only measure of a child’s worth.
  • Encourage children to explore, experiment, and make mistakes to learn and grow.
  • Coaches and parents should approach youth sports with a holistic perspective, creating a positive and supportive environment.
  • Measure the true success of a young athlete by their love for the sport, physical and mental well-being, and personal development.

Further Reading

The Problems With Over-Training Young Athletes


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Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes, and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.

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