Video games, big screen televisions, iPhones, iPads. The list of stimuli today's youth are exposed to is not exhaustive. Obviously long gone are the days of kick the can. Have kids even heard of wiffle ball? As technology advances, the desire for kids to go outside decreases. This has been a challenge for coaches since Atari was introduced to American households. These are obvious hurdles. There are other hidden hurdles coaches and sport programs are facing, and if we don't adjust to them, we will continue to have a rapid decline in youth sports.
One of the goals of every youth program is to attract as many players as possible. It's no secret inner-city sports programs have been on a steady decline for a long time. Some of the cause for the decline is lack of players, and some of the decline is due to lack of funding. How do we get our youth back into our sports programs, and how can we fund them?
There seems to be a generation who have a sense of entitlement even if it is not yet earned. College graduates think they deserve to start just below the CEO instead of the mail room. How do we teach humility, dedication, and hard work. If coaches are too hard on a young athlete, will they return for another game or season? If an athlete doesn't get as much playing time either they or their parents think they should be getting, will they return?
I will explore these and other topics regarding youth sports programs. The goal is to identify some of the causes for the decrease in participation in athletic programs, from tee-ball to Friday night lights. There is little argument of the benefits athletic programs provide youth. If we allow sports programs to deteriorate we are doing a disservice to our youth, and weakening our future work- force and leadership.