School Sports, the Positive and the Negative

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! We finally have decent weather and I was able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. As I watched my kids play in the yard, I thought about what sports they would participate in when they reached Jr. High and High school.

It made me think back to my own High school career and the sports that I participated in. I ran cross country and played softball.  I was the top runner for the girls on our cross country team. When I look back, I laugh because my biggest motivation was fear. That’s right, I was afraid of coming in last. So, I made sure I didn’t.  It never occurred to me that I would come in first, until it happened.

That’s when I felt the pressure to perform. Now, that I had achieved first place the fear of coming in last was replaced by the fear of someone else taking first place.

I wonder if all teens feel this way or it was just my particular makeup.  As I look back I remember the anxiety I felt and how I pushed myself. How I would only eat one piece of toast before an invitational so that I wouldn’t be weighed down with excess food.

I remember the second year I didn’t go out for the team. I kept asking myself; did I have fun? Was all the pressure worth it? I had answered no, until the cross country coach came knocking on my door. He wanted me to run. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to and I hadn’t trained with the team, but I was so flattered that he thought I was good enough that I joined the team again. My second year wasn’t quite as stellar as my first year to say the least. 🙂

I realize now, why it wasn’t. Aside from the fact that I missed the first two weeks of training, I wasn’t committed to it. I was doing it for the wrong reason. I didn’t want to disappoint the coach.

I should have been participating because I wanted to run. I should have been doing it just for the sheer joy of running. It shouldn’t have mattered where I placed. That’s the main reason any kid should get involved in a sport, just because they like it.

Being involved in sports does have a positive effect on kids. In fact, a Canadian Council for Social Development study showed that participating in structured recreation positively influenced young people’s physical and social development, as well as their civic behavior and skills.

A 2003 Sport Canada survey of 1005 Canadian youth, aged 12 to 21, found that their involvement in sports:

ƒ Improved their health (99 per cent);

ƒ Helped them make friends (87 per cent);

ƒ Improved their feelings about themselves (85 per cent);

ƒ Helped them succeed at school (58 per cent);

ƒ Helped them become more active with their family (54 per cent).

****I got these statistics from this site. Click here for more information. http://www.letkidsplay.ca/docs/LKPPositiveImpactSports.pdf

However, I feel very strongly that it should be the child’s choice. They have to participate because they want to, or they won’t enjoy it. And they probably won’t excel in that sport. They may even feel resentful because they were pushed into it.

I’ve also found that when a coach has his/her own agenda they can pressure kids too much. An example of this is Laura Yochelson, who’s cross country coach’s obsession with empty calories led her down the road to Anorexia Nervosa. Click here to read her interview. https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/please-welcome-back-laura-yochelson-anorexia-nervosa-survivor/

So when our kids get involved with sports lets make sure it’s for the right reason. Let’s make sure it’s what they really want to do and we need to stay involved. We need to make sure the coach is coaching to benefit the kids and not pursuing his own agenda. Thanks so much for stopping by today! Leave a comment and share some of your experiences! I’d love to hear from you!

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About Lisa Orchard

I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.
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10 Responses to School Sports, the Positive and the Negative

  1. Great advice here! Physical activity is so important for every person, and starting young is the best way to keep at it as we age. Sports are great and kids should have an opportunity to try out any and all that they are interested in. It’s sad how some well meaning adults push too hard and litteraly ruin a child’s future. Thanks so much for sharing Lisa.

  2. sharonledwith says:

    Great and informative post, Lisa! I loved sports as a teen, and enjoyed being part of a team. You’re right, kids should never feel pressured to join a sport. Do it because it feels good! Cheers!

  3. Lisa, great post! As a former player and now a high school coach, I think you’re right on. I never beg an athlete to continue to play. If their heart’s not in it, then I don’t think they should be on my team. I was blessed to coach middle school age girls in volleyball this club season and I wanted to share my goals:
    Player will:
    1. Have fun
    2. Enjoy competition
    3. Learn fundamental skills
    4. Create positive memories on/off the court
    Coach will:
    1. Keep it positive (have fun, show enthusiasm)
    2. Improve individual fundamental skills
    3. Communicate team concept (build relationships)
    I want my players to be passionate about the sport, and to do that they must have fun.
    Thanks again for the post. Sorry this is long winded. 🙂

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thanks for stopping by Jennifer and I love your list of goals! I love it that have fun is number one! I bet your a great coach and teacher! Keep up the good work! 🙂

  4. Sara Stinson says:

    What a wonderful blog! I enjoyed reading the coaches list too! Great job!
    Sara 🙂

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