Monday, August 30, 2010

In The Heartland, the troubled state of kids' sports

Today the Columbus Dispatch published Day Two of its series, Little League, Big Costs. It's an impressive package of stories on the plight of youth sports. All the usual topics addressed by Dispatch reporters Mike Wagner, Todd Jones and Jill Riepenhoff but with a depth and thoroughness that you rarely see in such coverage.

Sunday, the Dispatch shared results of a poll pegged to these stories. The newspaper canvassed 1,000 Ohio high-school students and 218 coaches and came up with a pretty interesting (though not surprising) picture of the youth sports world.

According to the survey:
50 percent began playing between the ages of 6 and 9
31 percent of athletes paid more than $1,500 a year to participate
26 percent of those hurt while playing youth sports said the injury affected their ability to play any sports
20 percent said their parents pressured them to play youth sports.

The package also includes a few videos and I'm recommending that you definitely have a look at one found here (See "Little leagues, Big passions"), in which a no doubt well-intended dad admits to at least six cardinal sins of sports parenting in one breath. Not sure, but I believe that's a record.

Thank you, Jay Weiner

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