Organized sports and adult involvement
The number of children enrolled in organized sports has increased drastically. This growth in participation is due to the obsession that parents have for seeing their children succeed in athletics events. During the 20th Century, sports were part of every child's life and it consisted mainly in sports that were played in the neighborhood without too much adult supervision (AAP, 2001). Children at the time had the freedom to participate in any sport that they liked without the fear of being criticized by adults or anyone else. However, times have changed and we are living in a very competitive society where the only focus is to win. Organized sports began to form at the end of the 20th century, when adults felt the necessity to gather teams with the finality to teach children about sportsmanship. Sportsmanship is defined as the golden rule for sports, because it teaches children to respect their team as well as to their opponents (Jaff, nd). In addition, before organized sports were part of American society children did not have a lot of supervision from adults. There were several benefits of organizing sports for children, including coaching, adult supervision, safety rules, and the use of proper equipment (AAP, 2001). As time passed, parent's focus of teaching children respect and teamwork shifted and organized sports evolved into a highly competitive arena. Nowadays, parents are in control of their children's sports, and they are the ones who setup team and parent meetings. Parents also encourage children to put forth every effort possible to be the best without paying attention to the mental and physical readiness of the children. In other words, the goals for sport events are no longer child-oriented, bringing negative consequences such as children losing interest in these activities because parents are taking away the fun of the sport, and making it more of a technical and stressing event. There is speculation of whether the involvement of parents and coaches actually brings positive or negative effects to children on the field. Many people believe that parents on the sideline can encourage children and give them confidence on the field. Children need their parent's support and recognition to maintain their self-esteem high. The positive encouragement that parents offer also helps the children to engage in all kinds of activities. Studies have shown that parents who show up at the children's games or practices are more confident and therefore perform better on the field (Santrock, 2005). Furthermore, sports can maintain the family together as it involves all family members, not only the child as part of a team. The family also has an opportunity to become more physically active because parents are making sure that the children have the necessary gear to perform well in sports, as well as cheering and running around with them during practice or other play times related to the sport. Additionally, children are socializing more, maintaining a healthy body and keeping their minds on something productive rather than staying at home playing video games or watching television. Studies also indicate that regular physical activity helps to reduce the risk of many adult health problems including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease (AAP, 2001). Moreover, children who participate in sports can develop a healthy passion for sports, which can help them develop into focused adults. Parents are not the only adults who are in contact with the children during sport events. Coaches and assistants are the authority figures that spend their time training the children and teaching them how to behave on and off the field. Coaches play a very important role on the children's personal and athletic development because they are the ones who can make the game fun and at the same time provide a great learning experience (Gower, 2005). However, as much as the coaches and parents can have...
References: American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness (2001). Organized sports for children and preadolescents [Electronic Version]. Pediatrics. Vol. 107 No.6 June 2001.
Binks, G., (n.d). For the love of the game. Retrieved from http://umanitoba.fitdv.com/new/articles/article.html?artid=36&print_art=1 on November 8, 2005.
Gower, T., (2005). Sporting behavior [Electronic Version]. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: May 16, 2005. Pg F.1
Jaff, R., (nd). Sticks and stones may break my bones. Retrieved from www.journalism.ryerson.ca/online/scribe/familysense/rjaff.htm on November 30, 2005.
Santrock, J., (2005). Physical development in infancy. Sugarman, M. (Ed.) Children (168-200). New York, NY: Mac Graw-Hill
Wendel, T., (2005). When smiles leave the game [Electronic Version]. USA Today. McLean, Va.: Aug 23, 2005. Pg A.13
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