Recently, the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program released its latest Project Play report with a plan to revitalize the structure of youth sports and a goal of getting – and keeping – children in sports. This idea, that the current youth sports model does not make room for every child to be active through sports, is a complex topic and one that will require an exploration into the role of sports in our society.
For me, the most resonant part of the Project Play report was the need for more developmentally appropriate programming in youth sports. I think it is crucial to recognize that kids are kids – and to tailor their sports experiences accordingly.
In my opinion, children should not be worried about getting a spot on a year-round elite team; they should be playing, laughing, and developing a love for activity. Youth programming should prioritize participation, not prestige.
Just remember – Roma wasn’t built in a day! By recognizing what kids need to develop, and giving them the tools to grow as athletes and human beings, we can build healthy athletes for life.
What do you think? How can we help foster a love of sport and physical activity for all?