Youth Competitive Athletics: Is the Appeal to 'Just Have Fun' Realistic?
Parents whose schedules are controlled by your 4 or 5 year old children's sport practices and games, this discussion is for you.
Parents whose children are approaching 14 and are worried that your child is not going to be the next superstar on the court or field, this discussion is also for you.
Our coaches panel is A2Ethics.org's first extended consideration of the contested value and consequences of going along with a society that puts your children on the playing field as soon as they can walk. Our panel, organized by A2Ethics.org founding Board member, Barney Maloy, features three university and high school team coaches and a university sport faculty member and psychologist with an expertise in teaching coaches.
What we found out was that all of these very successful coaches would rather talk about changing sport so that its practices and traditions offer enduring values for lifelong learning, than the learning we define sport success by today: through the number of wins we have.
If these coaches were not winners would they be on our panel? Yes. There are many more ways to define winning than we have complacently accepted. And many of these alternative ways are not new. As a society, we only need to have the will and perseverance (both sport values) to make some pretty drastic changes. Not for the adults in our society. But for our kids.
(From left to right: Bart Bund, Brian Townsend, Jim Richardson, Barney Maloy, Tom George, Jane Nixon)
Please feel free to extend the discussion in our forum on sport ethics by commenting on the many ideas for redesigning youth sport offered by our panelists: Tom George, University of Michigan School of Kinesiology faculty member; Jane Nixon, Ann Arbor Public Schools special education teacher and Pioneer High School women's field hockey coach; Jim Richardson, University of Michigan women's swimming coach; and Brian Townsend, University of Michigan, director of operations, men's basketball team.
Below are approximate times for each general subject discussed during the podcast. To skip to a specific section, click the button on the moving bar and slide it to the correct time.
If you'd like to read more about this panel discussion, Pete Cunningham wrote a piece about it for AnnArbor.com.