Play Ball!

by MoJo JoJo on February 9, 2015 - 10:31pm

Whether they are playing an organized sport in an amateur league or just playing with friends on an empty field, children everywhere enjoy playing different sports. The memories made and the lessons learned last a lifetime. However, recently a growing problem is interfering with children's desire to play: adult pressure. Parents constantly push their kids to do better in hopes that they would one day reach the “big leagues”. The constant pressures that a child faces lead to a disinterest in sport. Also, the widespread of children rankings and cuttings has lead to many heartbroken athletes abandoning sports altogether. Reports are showing that more and more kids are “retiring” from athletics before the age of 15. Adults have forgotten the purpose of amateur leagues. These extracurricular activities are supposed to allow children to have fun while learning a new skill. Although coaches and parents alike constantly remind their young athletes that the main goal is to have fun, they forget about it themselves. Children simply want to enjoy the game while their parents want to win.

As a football player myself, I have witnessed firsthand the effects of adult pressure on young athletes. Many of my teammates have quit playing sports due to the lack of fun they experienced. Coaches are constantly pushing their players to do better. They forget that it is an amateur game and not a national championship. The game should be played for the fun of it and not for the victory. Also, since some players get favored over others, many kids feel rejected and dislike sports altogether. Their parents compare them to others and rank them. They feel lessened to their parents eyes as they cannot perform up to expectations. All these factors have ruined youth sports as we know it. Instead of creating a stress free environment where children could play together, amateur leagues have turned into competitive sports where winning is more important than having fun.

The original article written by Jay Atkinson, "How Parents are Ruining Youth Sportswas published in the Boston Globe on the 4th of May 2014. To learn more about this topic or to simply read the whole article, go to the following link:


I really appreciated the personal perspective you presented on this issue. I myself have felt the pressure to quit amateur leagues because I was not good enough. I felt constantly analysed and compared. My coach's goal was no longer to have fun but to win the season trophy. All I wanted to do when I played soccer was have fun, push myself a little and make friends. I really like that you included what you have witnessed first-hand in this post. It gave me something I could instantly connect to because I have lived through similar scenarios. This made your post more meaningful to me.