Stockholm based coach developer, Mark O’Sullivan asks, are adult created norms contributing to the design of a system that no longer meets the needs of the child in sport?
The full and original article was written by Mark O’Sullivan and can be found at www.playerdevelopmentproject.com
In an interview with the Washington Post, Mark Hyman professor of Sports Management at George Washington University said “If we wiped the slate clean and reinvented youth sports from scratch by putting the physical and emotional needs of kids first, how different would it look? Nothing would be recognisable.”
Are adult created norms contributing to the design of a system that no longer meets the needs of the child in sport?
There is a an argument that I have heard many coaches and clubs using with regard to the child’s early organised sports environment. Basically it is saying that some kids want an environment driven by an early selection process where they get to play with the best players now. This I have heard been echoed by parents where they claim that their son/daughter needs to be in a more “serious” training environment to get the best start for their development. I have heard these comments in relation to children especially between the ages of seven (who possibly still believe in Santa Claus) and ten. Reflecting on this takes me back to some quotes from interviews I did with Lynn Kidman, Dr Martin Toms and Richard Bailey
“It is the societal expectation through professional sport that has screwed up the focus of learning and development of children in sport” – Lynn Kidman
“They see the sport and activity and how it is managed, coached and reflected in the club. Like their family backgrounds, they accept what they experience as the norm – so we need to ensure that the agendas and complexities of adults when ‘running’ clubs do not affect them” – Dr Martin Toms
“There is a significant conflict between how children learn and how elite programmes operate. Until very recently, talent development programmes were designed without any reference or consideration to healthy development, and treated children like mini adults. Let’s be honest, though, most elite sports programmes are not designed to meet children’s needs; they are designed entirely for adult ambitions”- Richard Bailey
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