Youth Sports Manifesto

Last week I did a short presentation on child to champion that made think about the issues that face youth sport. Everyday I read the local sports page or get emails or phone calls on the issue of what should we do with youth sports. Here are my thoughts, some certainly will not be popular, but in my opinion these are things that must be done.


Chronological age dominates training and competition from ages 11 to 16

“Critical Periods” are not always recognized by coaches

Low training to competition ratio in early training ages

Adult competition schedule is imposed on children

Competitive calendar governed by tradition rather than growth and development and pedagogy

Adult training programs are imposed on children

Male programs are imposed on females

Very little sport science, sports medicine input in youth training programs


Training at the beginning level focuses on winning rather than the process

Young developmental athletes over compete and under train

Fundamental motor skills are under emphasized and ultimately limit sport skill

Damage done at early developmental ages cannot be corrected


Reinstitute mandatory Physical Education in the schools K through 12

Give the games back to the kids – Minimize adult and parental involvement

Put play back into play – every kid will not win a

Scholarship or sign a pro contract

Final Thoughts

Participate in a variety of sports and activities

Do NOT try to ‘hurry up’ the developmental process

Do NOT specialize too early

Don’t lose sight of long-term objectives

What is the final goal?

Make sure good life skills taught


At 3/13/07, 9:10 PM, Anonymous tlanger said...


The key, from my perspective, is to allow kids to be kids and for natural patterns of movement to develop during fun filled activities. I watch my little ones learn new movements all the time and it's astounding how happens without intervention and while they are simply exploring. The world needs more trainers like you and less glory hounds looking to make names for themselves...keep up the great work!

Yours in health,

Todd Langer


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