Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Tomahawk Talk: Unwarranted pressure killing youth sports

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

Attempts to persuade or the use of intimidation can often be associated with the word ‘pressure.’
Many of today’s athletes are experiencing it at a young age. It starts when they are in youth sports and continues through middle and high school athletics.
Unfortunately, a great deal of today’s pressure comes from parents. Many of the ones doing it don’t care or don’t want to admit it.
And it’s not just aimed at their child. A target is placed on the coach’s back or anyone else who they feel like has wronged them.
Parents flood social media with their videos, statistics or anything else that they think will bring attention to their child for the wrong reasons.
Team accomplishments, friendships built and other things that should matter most are often lost in the shuffle as the pressures get worse.
Some parents take to telling the coach who they should play and who they shouldn’t, and we sportswriters are not exempt either.
We are often told who we should write about and whose pictures we should put in the paper. These statements are not fabricated either.
Let’s look at the whole picture.
Every child is an exceptional athlete in their parent’s eyes, but not all of them can be the team’s best player. Some can’t be a starter nor fill the stat charts and it might be an accomplishment for a few to just make the team but each one is important.
They can play a vital role in their team’s success but don’t try and relay this to the parents in the stands, and here’s why.
Some already know how to make out the lineup card and who should be playing where along with knowing which kids did what and they stress to their child that individual stats are much more important than team accomplishments.
They try to sway the coach on their decision making, and some will go to any extreme to make sure that their child is compensated even if it means seeing that he or she is dismissed.
A parent’s evaluation of their child’s ability might differ from what the coach sees in games or practices. It does not affect how he or she feels about your child.
They should play the best players who excel in games and at practices but that don’t mean your child is not essential to the team.
When does one step back and be realistic about their child’s true athletic abilities and potential to become better? Or do we move forward and step on anyone who might have a different opinion than their own.
It’s time parents step back and let the coaches do their jobs. They’re not perfect, and sometimes they make mistakes just like you.
Stress to your child the benefits of being in a team setting, the importance of attending practice, working hard to get better and putting the team before self.
Administrators are urged to rid off unwarranted complaints. Don’t let parents dictate who coaches their child and who don’t.
Sometimes a change is warranted, and other times it can be corrected.
Unfortunately, many of today’s young athletes are caught up in trying to please their parents and make them proud. They feel intimidated.
It’s called “pressure.”
Tim Chambers is the sports editor at the Tomahawk. He can be reached by email at [email protected]