Children are being pushed to specialize in a single sport, writes teacher Patrick Welsh in USA Today. The pressure may start in elementary school.
Take the situation with youth basketball. Fifth- and sixth-grade kids playing in recreation leagues are being scouted by Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) coaches with connections to sneaker companies.
Coaches from prestigious private schools have their street-dude surrogates hanging around recreation centers using sneakers and promises of scholarships to entice the best players. Once kids are in the clutches of these coaches, they are encouraged to play in year-round leagues.
. . . Now kids are made to feel like second-class underachievers unless they make a city’s “traveling” or All-Star team. Some kids even refuse to play on their high school teams because they say that their club teams are more competitive and that their club coaches have better contacts with college recruiters.
Via Donald Sensing, father of athletes. I’m the mother of the only child in Palo Alto who never played soccer. She said she’d heard it involved running. I’d heard it involved parents waking up early on Saturday morning.