Aug 22

Catalini: Culture of youth sports has to change

VENTURA COUNTY STAR
AUGUST 22, 2015
JON CATALINI

baseball_stock

Picture By DAVID YAMAMOTO

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison caused a stir last week after revealing he was making his kids return participation trophies.

Harrison believed his boys, 6 and 8 years old, had to learn that “sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better.” He also posted on his Instagram account: “While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy.”

Harrison’s diatribe struck a cord with the old-school crowd who think modern parents have become too easy on their kids while instilling a sense of entitlement.

Harrison has the right to raise his children the best way he sees fit, but participation trophies aren’t the problem with youth sports.

Getting kids to participate at all has become a growing concern.

In a recent article by Sports Business Daily, citing a study by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, inactivity among American children (ages 6-17) has risen for six straight years and was close to 20 percent in 2014. The study also found the average number of team sports played per participant has dropped 5.9 percent, falling from 2.14 to 2.01.

Adding more trophies and certificates isn’t the answer.

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