The Purpose of Youth Sports
I am a medical professional so there is a duty to talk about “problems” and “pain.” After enough years I would like to approach it with two different “P” words: purpose and progress.
I have written a hundred plus articles on the topics of injury prevention, rehab, and sports performance but have not fully addressed something more profound…that youth sports are great.
Problems exist, and we talk about them a lot. Massive increases in over training injuries and dropping out of sports by 8th grade are at an all-time high. Also, the number of crazy parents and coaches doing embarrassing things seems to be growing daily.
But what is the purpose of youth sports? Some could say, to develop top notch athletes but more economist types would say to support a growing multi-billion-dollar industry.
I say it is about fun.
Youth Sports is Not a Job
Fun, determination, hard-work, success, failure, big highs, disastrous lows, and all the rest that goes into building strong character. Sports is only a good paying job for an infinitely small part of the population and at those levels, it still is a job.
Youth sports is not a job—it is an opportunity to participate in something a child loves.
The whole purpose is to give our children a chance to experience greatness for themselves, in whatever tiny amount, which in turn can carry on to so many other things. Opportunity for success and risk of failure is what sports is all about.
As we live in a crazy interconnected world, let’s take a moment and appreciate what you do. You show up day and night to provide children with the opportunity to live out their dreams, their fun and their chances at glory.
In these moments, we can watch fun unfold.
If you are reading this article, perhaps you have been visiting the IYCA for some period of time in the hopes of learning. Learning how to make youth sports better, safer and smarter. Learning how to maximize the fun and minimize all the other stuff.
So just take a moment and appreciate yourself, that you care about the well-being of children, and that you are a coach.
That sounds like a purpose. That feels like progress. So thank you.
Dr. Keith Cronin, DPT
About the Author: Keith J. Cronin
Keith J. Cronin is a physical therapist and owner of Sports and Healthcare Solutions, LLC. Keith currently supports US Operations for Dynamic Tape®, the “Original” Biomechanical Tape®, providing guidance for education, research, and distribution. He graduated with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from Belmont University in 2008 and later earned his Orthopedic Certification Specialist (OCS).
Prior to graduate school, Keith was a collegiate baseball player and top-level high school cross country runner. He also had the opportunity to work as a personal trainer (CSCS) prior to his career in physical therapy, providing a very balanced approached to educating fitness and rehabilitation. Keith has focused his career on the evaluation, treatment, injury prevention, and sports conditioning strategies for athletes, with particular attention to youth sports. He currently lives in the St. Louis, MO area with his wife and two daughters, Ella and Shelby.