Tired of reading about all that is wrong in youth sports? So are we! TeamSnap and I have teamed up for the Make It Right Campaign this fall to share stories with you of people who are doing what they can to Make It Right in youth sports.
There are lots of folks out there who are doing something to Make It Right in youth sports and today I want you to meet another one.
Emily Cohen is the mother of two young athletes. Her son started sports when he was 5 or 6 and is now playing baseball in college. Her daughter, a high school sophomore, plays soccer and tennis. After being around the youth sports scene for so many years, Emily has seen the ugly side of youth sports.
“It no longer is enough for youth to participate and gain the invaluable lessons of teamwork, pride, focus and personal accomplishment. The entire system has gone haywire and it feels like we are on a runaway train,” says Emily.
Emily has seen parents push a son to play in two summer baseball leagues as a pitcher, without regard for his arm health, in order to ‘be seen’ by as many college coaches as possible—even though the stress on his arm may result in him getting injured and not playing at all.
She’s observed club sports and travel ball teams for kids as young as 6 or 7—and parents thinking it’s wrong and too early but doing it anyway because “everyone else is doing it.”
What is Emily Cohen Doing To Make It Right in Youth Sports?
Tired of a youth sports culture gone crazy, Emily has decided to initiate a conversation through a podcast that focuses on “making youth sports safer and more fun one podcast at a time.”
Emily’s podcasts are an outgrowth of the blogging she’s done for TeamSnap for the last 5 years. As a frequent team manager for her kids’ teams, Emily was an early user of TeamSnap, and eventually began blogging for them about team manager issues.
“The youth sports culture is no longer fun for most—the pressure is outrageous. And I’ll bet if you ask most of these high-intensity coaches who yell and berate, they’re not having fun either. So why are they doing it?” Emily asks. “All this pressure leads kids (and parents) to making unsafe decisions for their kids, in terms of overspecialization and over-use.”
Emily’s podcasts allow her to be a voice that shares about the many people who are doing good things in youth sports. She encourages discussion about issues that are important to sports parents and coaches. Emily is Making It Right in youth sports by promoting positive and productive conversation that will help the youth sports culture begin to heal itself.
“Speak up! “ Emily says to sports parents.
“Don’t let yourself be bullied into silence by other parents or coaches who make you feel like if you don’t ‘fall into line’ your child will be left out or behind. “It’s ok to say ‘this isn’t right for our family.’ Just because it works for others doesn’t mean it works for yours, and you are the decision-maker, not a coach and not another parent. Oftentimes, I think the youth sports culture forgets that our children are STUDENT-athletes, and the student should come first.”
“Get involved if you see a safety issue. Let your voice be heard if you see a coach berating athletes or making them feel like they aren’t ‘good enough’. Too many people just walk away and think they can’t make a difference. The more people speak up, the more we can ALL Make It Right in youth sports.”
What are you doing to Make It Right in youth sports? It can be a simple as being a positive voice in a negative conversation or as big as stepping up to coach your child’s team.
You can help Make It Right. And I am here to help you do that. My sports parenting and coach’s wife experience has taught me some invaluable lessons that I believe will help you.
Listen to my Sports Parenting podcasts where I talk with youth sports experts about issues your child faces every day in sports.
Get one of my Sports Parenting Survival Guides. They are jam packed with practical insights and tips to help you maneuver the crazy world of youth sports.
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