What’s Wrong with Youth Sports Culture? (Hint: It’s Not the Players)


  1. I very much agree that Parents who are overly involved in their child’s athletic life do more damage than those who simply show up for the game and offer appropriate encouragement. This is mostly because we ruin the natural beauty of something when we try to over complicate it.

    1. Alex Kirkwood

      Thank you for your response, Jamie! We agree that positive involvement in our kids’ sports and activities is important in their development as athletes and as people. That is why we are very happy to partner with Changing the Game Project! The mission of the Changing the Game Project is to ensure that we return youth sports to our children, and put the “play” back in “play ball.” Changing the Game Project wants to provide the most influential adults in our children’s lives – their parents and coaches – with the information and resources they need to make sports a healthy, positive, and rewarding experience for their children, and their whole family.

      You can learn more about Changing the Game Project at its website and more about our programs for young athletes here.

  2. Fantastic article and it is true. The biggest challenge facing the parents of young athletes is to refrain from commenting on the results and overall performance. I see no other solution for culture than to put the child in a league focused on teaching the disadvantages of winning/losing.

  3. Tyler

    As a coach for almost 40 years at the high school, collegiate and international levels – there are some good and not so good things in this article. Age and focus is critical and not even touched on. Also, after recruiting thousands of athletes to the collegiate level I can tell you that “parents” are a HUGE part of an athletes development and not from a “let’s get a snack” angle. Toxicity in youth sports is far bigger than a dad talking to his child about the game. If the answer was as simple as smiling and buying ice cream it would have already been fixed.

    Quality coaching, athlete development, emotional concern, appropriate communication styles, age appropriate training and the list goes on which does include negative parent interaction. To simplify the youth sports problem to parents talking to their athlete about the most recent competition does a disservice to the real challenges that athletes, parents and coaches face.

  4. It’s a fantastic post, and it’s right. The most difficult task for parents of young athletes is to refrain from making judgments on their children’s outcomes and overall success. I don’t see any other way to change the child’s culture than to place him or her in a league that focuses on teaching the negatives of winning and losing.

  5. This is written fantastically. Parents coaching is undoubtedly dangerous for a child’s skills and sports growth. Instead of improving a child’s skill level, it can further damage.

  6. Hi there! It was great, thanks for sharing awesome blog. I really loved it. Thanks again.

  7. The ripple effects of Frosty Westering and the Pacific Lutheran Football program are a great example of changing lives and this nation through character lessons presented through sport.

  8. It’s okay sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself, because it shows how strong of a competitor and person that you really are, rather than just battle through it,

  9. I absolutely resonated with this blog post! As a parent, it’s vital for us to remember that our children’s sports involvement should be about their enjoyment and personal growth, rather than just the results. It’s a wonderful reminder to be supportive and positive, allowing our kids to thrive in their athletic endeavors. Let’s create a nurturing environment where they can flourish and truly love playing sports. Thank you for this insightful article!

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