SHOULD EXECPTIONALLY TALENTED YOUNG ATHLETES BE ALLOWED TO PLAY PROFESSIONAL SPORTS WHEN THEY ARE STILL IN THEIR EARLY TEENS EVEN IF THEY HAVE TO MOVE AWAY FROM HOME AND LEAVE SCHOOL?
Many believe that all of the hard work starts early. Like the saying says “he early bird gets the worm.” But is that all that sport is really about? I use to think that the answer to that question was yes! I feel that there are more disadvantages to sport specialization than there are advantages. Do you realize that sports affect us all in one way or another Whether or not you like sports has nothing to do with the whether or not it affects you. It's one thing for kids to dream of Olympic gold medals or Super Bowl rings and to work toward those goals. But it's another matter if parents are pushing their kids to do something they don't want or pressuring them to succeed in a way that’s hurtful. They may have to sacrifice other interests and give up most of the down time that allows them to just be kids. Not only are these youngsters at risk for emotional burnout, they may also develop injuries that plague them for a lifetime. Kids are going into sports way too young, sometimes starting to learn the basics as soon as motor skills are developed, at age 4 or 5. This is way too young for kids to have a schedule of practices and games, let alone be involved in a sport that places them against others that could break prospective friendships. Youth coaches these days are more and more concerned with winning than they are concerned with everyone having a good time, and learning how to love the sport. Now each has a coach, and an agent, and a father or brother, and a fistful of sponsors separating them. Kids with a strong internal drive may thrive on the competition. But the pressure can be too much for others, particularly grade-schoolers who aren't as equipped to deal with the stress as older athletes. Many times today children get more upset about the outcome of the...
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