Did You Know? Youth Sports Help Promote Employment

It’s obvious that employers have certain skill-level expectations from their employees; however, it’s not all about experience. Employers often look for competitive, hard-working leaders and team players to fill their positions.

While specialized experience can be developed over time with training, many of these “soft skills” and personality traits cannot be taught, making them extremely important. Studies have shown that many of these assets can be learned through youth sports.

Ethics, attitude, and communication are all relevant both in sports and in the work place. Sports teams expose children to these ideas at a young age and allow them to develop the “soft skills” that are vital in the working world. 

For example, according to the Huffington Post, sports “foster social inclusion” and prevent anti-social behavior and domestic violence. Sports also promote school attendance and encourage citizenship. These key values teach young children how to interact appropriately with others and set goals for themselves both on and off the field.

Additionally, playing sports establishes a sense of confidence in young children. Their ability to learn and perfect new skills also influences the way that they perceive their strengths, weaknesses, and improvements.

Several groups have advocated for sports development and youth employment programs in areas all around the world, but some have been more successful than others.

Regardless, there’s no denying how much youth sports have to offer when it comes to entering the “real world.” What do you think – have you and/or children benefitted from their involvement in sports?

Sportsmanship Survey Shows Disappointing Results

A recent survey of 2,000 parents and coaches by Liberty Mutual displayed some disappointing results:

  • 50% of parents & coaches believe sportsmanship has worsened since they were growing up.
  • 60% witnessed or participated in negative or abusive sideline behavior.

The complete infographic with additional insight and statistics is below.

What do you think? Do these results match up with your experiences?

2014 Sportsmanship Survey

Exposure To New Cultures From Youth Sports

An immigrant from Guinea coaching a youth soccer team.
Image courtesy The Oregonian.

Youth sports can be incredibly impactful and stories like these are why many trumpet the benefits of participating.

In Wilsonville, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, a team of third grade girls has an unlikely coach – an immigrant from Guinea.

The Oregonian tells the story of Kalil Konate, a former semi-pro player who moved to America two years ago to be with his wife Alicia. He promotes a philosophy of “peace through soccer” and both players and parents have taken to him.

These unique enrichment opportunities are rarely found in the classroom and these players are certainly fortunate to have Mr. Konate as their coach.

Are there any similar stories in your organization? Let us know in the comments below!

Semantics in Youth Sports – ‘Cutting Players’

Tryouts

An intriguing article was posted recently in the Coloradoan about a local youth soccer club ‘cutting players younger.’

The article mentions two local clubs and team formation practices centered around competitive teams. In one situation, there’s even a competitive ‘non-tryout’ process for teams as young as Under 9. In those situations, they don’t ‘cut’ players, but players can be ‘inactive’ for games.

The semantics are important – both in the ‘non-tryout’ situation and as far as how the article is framed.

In soccer organizations (and sports) nationwide, there is an increasing push to field competitive Travel teams that contend for championships.

That said, there are almost always Recreational opportunities that exist in those same organizations. The organizations realize that a vibrant Recreational department is a terrific feeder system for kids ready, able, and interested in playing for competitive Travel teams.

The responsibility falls to the parents to evaluate these opportunities properly. The article spends time talking about the psychological implications for a young child of not making a team, but with proper framing and opportunity, this seems to be a non-issue.

What do you think? Are organizations really ‘cutting players younger’ or is this article just highlighting a worst-case scenario?