Issue 1 Side B
Sport presents significant benefits to participants. Participation in sports helps an individual to maintain wellness, enhance social skills, develop discipline and others skills. However, sport has become a highly commercialized activity that emphasizes on competition and winning. Large numbers of youths and being enrolled into competitive sporting activities. These activities are characterized by rigorous training, a lot of personal commitment and the pressure to win. Fun has been driven out of sporting activities. The consequence of this transformation is that many students are getting burnt out and are compelled to quit sports. In order to support continual participating of youths in sport, Youth sport should be organized to reflect the appropriate developmental stage of participants, with less emphasis on winning and competition and more emphasis on the players’ enjoyment.
Significance of Observation Developmental Stage
Different sporting activities demand varying levels of physical exertion. Outdoor activities such as baseball and basketball require a lot of running, and thus physical fitness is a vital requirement (Bailey, 2010). On the other hand, youths pass through a number of development stages before the reach maturity. At each of these levels, individual exhibit varying levels of physical capacity. For instance, a child below the age of 6 years cannot exhibit similar physical strength as 15 year old. Thus, sporting activity need to consider the physical development of children. Competitive sports, often emphasize on rigorous training and regular events. Children are pushed to work beyond what their physical limit can allow. This often results in injuries or even burn outs by the participants. Many youths end up dropping sporting activities before the attain maturity.
Children also undergo emotional development while growing up. At a young age, children have limited capacity to manage emotion (Baker, 2003). Organizational of sport needs to observe the emotional development of youth. At a young age, there is a need to emphasize on enjoyment rather than competitive sports. Competitive sports are characterized by a lot of pressure (Schupak, 2012). Athletes are required to participate in intense training and dedicate a substantial amount of time to the sport. Coaches push the athlete too hard to perform. This pressure may become too much for young children. Children tend to feel that their worth is dependent on how the perform in sports (Baker, 2003). They work too hard in training and put a lot of effort towards winning. They sacrifice other developmental activities and interests so as to improve their sporting skills. The emotional capacity of children may be overwhelmed by the pressure associated with competitive sports. The emotional level of a child may not enable the children to handle losses and competition. Some children end up developing low self esteem because they feel that they are judged according to the performance in sport.
Many children quit sports before they join high school (Malina, 2010). Most children state that the reason for quitting sport is that there is no fun in sports. Children are not equipped to deal with pressure of organized sports. Children want to have fun; learn new ones; meet new people and make new friends; exercise and be fit. Fun implies doing something that is not tedious, and that bring about excitement. Fun also means doing something that does not bring disappointment. Fun also means a high degree of autonomy among participants. Competitive sports do not give children the opportunity to realize these things as they place a lot of emphasis on winning. As a result, children are compelled to exert themselves in training. There is also a lot of disappointment when they do not win. Competitive sports also offer little autonomy to participants. According to a study conducted by Harris and Watson (2011), many youths quit sports because of the low level of autonomy associated with competitive sporting activities. Sport has numerous benefits on children. However, children fail to realize these benefits as they are forced to quit due to the pressure of competition.
Failure to observe the developmental stage of participants also denies them the opportunity to explore different sports (Schupak, 2012). Often, children are rushed into organized sporting activities at a young age. Most of these children have little conviction that the sport they get into is what they would like to do for the rest of their lives. Children get exited easily and also get bored easily. A child may today find interest in basket ball, and the following day he may prefer baseball. Sport should be organized to accommodate this essential trait. For youth between the age of 6 and 8 years, sport organization should emphasize of activities that focus on a broad range of movements and multiple skills. The child should specialize as he advances in age and as he areas of interest became elaborate. Before children are mature enough to decide the sport of interest, the organization of sport should allow them to explore different options.
Sport is an essential development activity. We need to stop commercializing the sport activities and start viewing it as an instrument for promoting healthy development of youth. Sport should take a holistic view of the youth. It not only needs to address the development of sporting skills but also the development of the youth as a whole person. It should consider the various factors that interact in order to create a successful person. Focus on sports as competition rather than a development activity will drive a significant portion of youths away from sports. The pressure associated with competitive sports wear down youths result in strong resentment for sports.
Bailey, Richard (2010). Participant Development in Sport. April 12, 2011. http://www.sportni.net/NR/rdonlyres/991FF96E-C6DB-4700-A900 F4DF2732E81A/0/ParticipantDevelopmentinSport.pdf
Baker J (2003). Early Specialization in Youth Sport. Journal of High Ability Studies. 14 (1): 85- 94
Harris, Brandon & Watson, Jack. (2011). Assessing Youth Burnout. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology. 5: 117- 133
Malina R. (2009). Children and Adolescents in the Sport Culture. Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness. 7 (2): 1- 10
Schupak, Marty (2012). How to Avoid Burnout in Young Athletes. April 12, 2011. http://www.active.com/soccer/Articles/How_to_Avoid_Burnout_in_Young_Athletes