Why Organized Sports Are Leaving Many Kids Age 11-15 Behind

Did you know that many children between the ages of 11 and 15 are missing out on the benefits of sports due to the way that organized sports teams pick their players? In this blog post, we'll explore why this trend is happening and the impact it has on children's physical and mental health.

One of the main reasons why some children are excluded from organized sports teams is because teams often prioritize picking the "best" players. This can mean that children who are less skilled or have less experience with a particular sport are left without opportunities to play. We have seen many times a 9-year-old kid wanting to try a new sport being told that they are "too late" ... they are 9!!

Did you know that according to a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, the average age at which professional athletes begin specializing in their sport is around 14 years old. This means that it is not until age 14 that many athletes have decided to focus their training on a single sport. 

This trend can be particularly damaging to children's self-esteem and confidence, as being excluded from a team can make them feel like they are not good enough. It can also create a vicious cycle, as children who do not have the opportunity to play may struggle to develop the skills and experience needed to improve.

Additionally, this trend can perpetuate inequalities in access to sports. Children who come from families with less financial resources may not be able to afford expensive coaching or training programs that could help them develop the skills needed to make it onto a team. This means that children who come from more privileged backgrounds are often the ones who have access to the best coaching and training, and are more likely to make it onto teams.

But the consequences of this trend are worrying. Lack of access to sports can lead to a host of health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and poor mental health. Additionally, playing sports is an important way for children to build social skills, develop self-confidence, and learn important life skills like teamwork, leadership, and communication.

So what can we do to address this issue and ensure that all children have opportunities to play sports? First, we need to work to create more opportunities for children to participate in sports, regardless of their skill level. This could involve creating more community-based programs and offering low-cost or free options for families who cannot afford expensive coaching or training.

Additionally, we need to work to change the way that organized sports teams select their players. This could involve creating more inclusive tryout processes that prioritize skills development and growth, rather than just picking the "best" players. It could also involve creating more opportunities for children to play in non-competitive environments, where the focus is on fun and participation, rather than winning.

In conclusion, the trend of organized sports teams picking only the "best" players is a problem that needs to be addressed. By recognizing the impact that this trend has on children's physical and mental health, and taking steps to create more opportunities for all children to play sports, we can help ensure that all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, active lives. So let's get out there and play!

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