Playing organized sports can be one of the best experiences for any young person with an interest in sports. A player can improve his skills, make friends and learn how to be part of a team. But the experience is not always beneficial. Young athletes can get hooked up with a coach who is more interested in his ego than helping a young person. Instead of forming friendships, a young person might feel isolated. Injuries can also result from tough competition.
The coach of a youth sports team has the ability to make the experience an enjoyable or miserable one for a young athlete. If a coach is in it to win games and championships rather than emphasize learning and enjoyment, then he is not the right kind of person to lead young people. Some coaches will act warm and friendly to young players when they perform well but then act like they barely know the youngster when they go into a slump. This can ruin a young person’s attitude and make the experience painful.
Organized youth sports take steps to keep young people from getting hurt while playing. But sports are not risk-free and even with the right techniques, players are going to get injured. This is particularly true when they play contact sports such as football, hockey and soccer. Injuries can also occur in basketball, baseball, volleyball and tennis. Youngsters who suffer serious injuries (knee, shoulder, back and neck) might be hesitant to take the field in competitive situations again.
Sometimes the parents of athletes put undue pressure on young performers. Some might be blatant and provide specific expectations. “I expect you to get at least two hits tonight,” a father might say because he hopes to bring out a good performance. Others might indicate that the family name is on the line and issue a threat. “You better not do anything to embarrass me,” could be a parent’s last words before their child takes the field. Those are harmful words. Even if the child does perform well after hearing those words, all he might feel is relief. He won’t feel any of the joy that these sports are designed to promote.