Children Need To Play Not Compete By Jessica Statsky

1030 Words 4 Pages
Jessica Statsky, the writer of the essay, “Children Need To Play, Not Compete,” describes how children’s sports have been changing in recent times. She speaks of how the parents and coaches near fanatical criteria being imposed are negatively affecting many of the children involved with the sports. The concerns she feels derive from the potential dangers that children in the age ranges of six to twelve are exposed to in all organized sports activities. The dangers she covers are the physical well-being, mental health and anxiety, drop-out rate, and the stresses created by the adults involved in the sport. Statsky’s first observation is the physical risks that young, growing children are being exposed too in sports programs. Some of these …show more content…
She refers to a work published by Smith, Smith, and Smoll, speaking on the inappropriate emphasis being placed on the level of the competition and training in sports:
The primary goal of a professional athlete-winning-is not appropriate for children. Their goals should be having fun, learning, and being with friends. Although winning does add to the fun, too many adults lose sight of what matters and make winning the most important goal.
These goals and expectations, though important, are being placed on the children before they are fully capable of dealing with them, which leads directly to her point of the steep drop-out rate. She states that these stresses can lead to negative self-esteem if the child feels they do not meet the standards expected and results in about eight in ten quitting their teams by age sixteen. Statsky further contends that working with the children to develop their athletic abilities could improve their skill and feelings of worth, which could have influenced their having stayed with the sport and potentially having become
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The possible injuries that could leave a child with a persistent injury from playing a game is frightening. Lingering pain and the inability to do certain types of everyday tasks could limit their choices in careers and hobbies, something that no one at that age could fully comprehend or appreciate. This concern is shared by several professional athletes, who have stated during interviews that as a parent they would not let their children play in the sports they have made a career of playing for fear of those injuries. Some athletes have even said that if they had fully understood those risks themselves when younger, they wouldn’t have started playing when they had. Statements like these, coming from people who spend years in those sports seeing and dealing with severe injuries should carry considerable weight in helping shape the future of these sports

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