The Biggest Problem In Youth Sports
Here is an audio clip from an interview with Bob Bigelow. Bob Bigelow is a former NBA player and current youth development expert. Bob also is featured in the DVDs Coaching Youth Basketball The Right Way and Coaching Middle School Basketball.

The Biggest Problem In Youth Sports

Bob brought up many great points throughout this audio interview. Here are a few of the main ones:

The biggest challenge is to get the adult ego out of youth sports.

When the adults' needs of winning trumps the children's needs of playing, competing, and having fun, it's not a good scenario. The structures and infrastructures revolves around the adult's need to win and this leads to many other problems such as parents fighting, kids getting burned out, etc.

Solutions to getting the adult ego out of youth sports.

Silent sidelines for parents where you could not yell at the children. A Norther Ohio girls soccer league decided to start silent sidelines about 10 years ago.

Silent sidelines for coaches. Annapolis, MD then instituted this for the parents and the coaches. Kids can not hear nor process most of the coaching instruction anyways.

Take the score off of the scoreboard.

If everybody can see the score, the natural adult tendency is to coach the score, rather than the process. All great coaches will tell you to coach the process, not the outcome. If you think the score is important, let the kids keep score.

Sometimes, you will win by 2 points against a very bad team and lose by 2 points to a far superior team. And you're most upset about the game you lost. So you're happy when you play poorly and mad when you played great.

What do you think about the lessons and advice shared? Please leave your thoughts and opinion below...

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varsity coach and father says:
8/30/2011 at 5:35:38 AM

this guy is what is wrong with youth sports.that is why we are losing the battle on a global scale. a little constructive criticism does not kill anyone. his method creates a kid with a soft son is a freshman playing on the varsity level,and has always been coached hard, by several different coaches. And he enjoys the challenge. Parents talk to your kids teach them when they are being challenged and help them through it, watch your bond strengthen.


AAU Girls Basketball Coach says:
8/30/2011 at 6:34:22 AM

Disagree with varsity coach comments agree is part with bob on both points - the real point is that adults are too involved with overly type A adult organized youth sports programs - kids are not learning the game on their own these days and many don't have fun. why are european kids better shooters in basketball? why are kids from otehr contries better soccer players generally? - cause they play a lot of pick up on their own unsupervised by adults. how many school yards or fields do you see kids playing pick up games - hoops, touch football (some kids dont even know what touch football is!) after school and really learning the game, how to make up teams, set their rules etc .. with no adults present, no scoreboards, etc. and he is so right on the score issue. I have been coaching youth sports for well over ten years - first most kids forget the game/score within 30 seconds after the game - second, most of the league etc games we coach do not ahve anything significant "on the line"; third only when you get to serious regional/distrcit and national championships does it matter. the 4 teams i coach are ten year + projects for these athletes, success is measured in character development, self-confidence, mental and phsycial fitness (not couch potatoes), how to work in a team environment and maybe players making middle school and high school varsity teams, and maybe the less than 1% chance one of the players may play in college.. ask yourself - why are you coaching? what do you care about the result of saturday's game? are you making a difference in the athletes knowledge, skills and abilities to compete in life, or are you doing it to promote yourself so you will get a paid coaching job? it is for the kids not for you as a coach or as a parent.


Youth Coach says:
8/30/2011 at 7:51:08 AM

I completely agree that adult ego is a big problem, both with coaches and parents.
However I do not agree with a silent coaches sideline and I really do not agree that kids do not take instruction during the game. They may not take it all in, but they take a lot and having a silent coaches sidelines provides no guidance to these kids. I understand their is always practice to teach but there are valuable lessons to be learned during a game and the kids look to their coaches (and fathers) during games for direction.

The problem I see is that too many coaches make it all about winning for their own ego. Youth Sports should be a development first approach so they learn at a young age how to play the game the right way. Of course we try to win every game we play, but the big picture is always in mind and we seek to develop ALL of our kids, not just the players who are good now.


youth coach and parent says:
8/30/2011 at 8:45:49 AM

I agree that parents are too involved in youth sports, but the problem is what is being told to the kids-- i.e. that "scoring" is the most important thing. It is crazy. I have been so impressed with one of my child's coaches. After a lacrosse game (5th - 6th grade), she sat with the kids and identified each child and someone had to say something positive about that child. Then she said-- here are the things that I think are the most important things-- First, Kaitlin was the most unselfish player on the field. She was always looking for the open player. She was able to effectively move the ball up the field with great passes. Her vision and passing allowed us to score most of our goals. Mary played great defense. She was always looking to help when someone got beaten and she often cut off the player and saved a goal. Susie always hustled and had such a positive attitude. If there was a ground ball near her, she was the first one to it. If we can all do these things we will succeed as a team. This coach also sent a page long email to the parents every week explaining what the kids were working on-- often in great detail. For instance - she would explain how she did not want the girls to run the full length of the field and try to score. She wanted to move the ball up the field with passed so that they might get into a numbers up position. Then she wanted them to look for a good scoring opportunity-- but this meant pulling the goalie to one side and looking for the girl cutting and making the pass so the goalie is out of position. In this way she is telling the girls what she thinks is most important and explaining to the parents what she wants and expects from the girls. It was incredible to see how much the girls improved in a year.

I do think that parents and kids do not understand that sports is not necessarily about scoring. Coaches at any level are not looking for a player who is selfish and can't or won't pass. They are looking for someone who is a team player who can see the field/court and who makes those players around him/her better. This kid will score but more importantly, they will ultimately become the kind of athlete most of these parents want their kids to be. This is the kid that will turn college coaches heads-- they have the complete package. Kids should be told how important it is to pass to the open player and to be honest they should be pulled if they repeatedly try to do it on their own. The selfish mentality typically comes from the parent who does not understand how to develop a player.


CoachV says:
8/30/2011 at 9:06:45 AM

I too agree with the the adult ego issue but having a silent sideline is taking things to far. The people on the sidelines should be allowed to encourage and cheer on the young players because that helps them in their enjoyment of the game. So as long as the noise from the sideline is positive then let them make as much noise as they like.
Also quite often youth coaches are wasting their time yelling out instructions from the sideline Firstly the players usually don't hear them and second it distracts the players from what they should be doing. Players need to learn to make decisions for themselves from a very young age so that they learn to play the game rather than relying on someone to tell them what to do.
If coaches need to talk to their players then call a time out or sub off the players that need some instructions. I have found this far more productive than constantly trying to yell out instructions from the sidline. The other bonus is the players appreciate that I trust them and allow them to play the game.


Youth Coach says:
8/30/2011 at 10:21:15 AM

Your view of this issue is going to be based on your experiences and what you want for your kid.

Personally, I've coached youth bball for several years and realize that my pushing my own children or any other kids will not do much for their development. The Jordan's or Bryant's all have a personality trait that forces them to push themselves. Kids either have it or they don't - and you can't do much to force that trait into them.

Over the past few years I've come to realize that youth sports is bigger than the sport these kids are playing. It's about learning some fundamental concepts that will very likely lead to the development of skills that may help them later in life. Learning how to work as a team. Learning how to sacrifice for a common cause. Learning how to be responsible for your part of something. These are the skills that are critical in our society today - whether you work as a teacher, a corporate exec., or an IT professional. These are the skills that the American society has always been better at than societies in China or Japan. MBA students who study GE's success under Jack Welch understand this point. These skills also make for better friendships, marriages, and citizens later in life.

Coaches that try to win will inevitably put the responsibility and the ball in the hands of the one or two "stars" on their team. These kids learn selfishness and egotism. The non-star's begin to learn resentment.

Just my personal opinion. When you really look at your youth program - take a look at how many of those kids in the past 20 years have had Div 1 scholarships. Our programs view is that Div 1 scholarship kids are not our customers.


CoachK says:
8/30/2011 at 10:45:29 AM

There are lots of challenges in youth sports [up to high school] but I agree that coaches [often parent/coaches] put too much emphasis on winning instead of learning solid fundamentals, team-play, etc. I've coached football, baseball, soccer and basketball in a typical affluent suburban setting. Most park district and YMCA programs are well-balanced here and participation is high. The programs are fundamentals-based and competitive. Despite this fact, club teams in virtually every sport are doing gangbuster business here telling parents their kids need to spend tons of money [including extra camps, clinics, one-on-one, etc.] in order to keep up. Labeling a team elite," "select" or "premier" is a license to print even more money and parents hand it over seemingly without thinking. We're talking $2000+ per player per season. And while the level of play is generally higher in club competition, I've seen little to no evidence that a well-rounded athlete can't join a team at age 10-14 having never played on a club team and get up to speed... whatever the game is. My sons play both school and club soccer and basketball and both will tell you they enjoyed their school teams more... despite going all the way to state championships with their clubs. Further, I've seen club coaches who are verbally abusive and berate and insult players while parents stand around seemingly approving. [I told one club football coach that if I saw him grab a [9-year-old] kid's face mask and shake his head again [while screaming at him] I'd have him arrested]. I've put my own son's [club] soccer coach on warning for suggesting [behind our backs] that my son stop playing basketball in lieu of indoor winter soccer. While we're committed to participating in club sports, we're watchful of the costs and the coaching and have no qualms about telling coaches when we disagree about what they emphasis. They seem to forget that kids are naturally competitive and don't need to be told to win... they need to be told to pass...


Jeff Haefner says:
8/30/2011 at 11:26:46 AM


This is the question and argument I commonly hear from parents and youth coaches. I can see why. I ask the same question myself, both as a parent and a coach. I understand the argument and the question is valid!

I do believe that in CERTAIN situations, at the right age, and at the right time, coaches can have an influence on the work ethic of a player. HOWEVER, someone above made a very good point that Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan had this work ethic built into their DNA. This is a good point...

Research shows that most "expert performers" like Jordan and Kobe, have families who demonstrate in their everyday lives the importance of hard work and always doing one's best. When a young child sees this example every day, these traits become part of the child's core values. And, these core values are present in almost any expert performer in almost any endeavor. Nobody reaches the top of his profession without hard work.

This is where work ethic is learned. It's learned at home. Sure a good coach can have influence. But a coach needs to know when the player is ready. If you work a 9 year old until they puke, then they might not develop that love and passion for the game. It's all about timing. Without developing a love for the game, forget about it. That player will never become great. It must come from with in.

Lastly, I want to say how great these comments are on this thread. EVERYONE SHOULD READ the previous comments.


AL V. says:
8/30/2011 at 11:56:33 AM

The only thing I have to add is that keeping score is important. I see leagues that don't keep score (but the kids know what the score is). I think that by keeping score the kids learn how to bounce back from defeat/ not all things are fair/ even though we do our best we don't always win/ but we can still do our best to comptete. A really great pamphlet that I think all parents should read is by Bruce Brown and titled: "The Parents Role in Athletics". Keep things in perspective about a game and life people.


Tom says:
8/30/2011 at 1:36:11 PM

I coach and I find myself pushing my son harder than the other kids. We all do need to keep things in perspective. I do find that I spend more time with the weaker players because I want them all to improve over the course of the season. The earlier comments about pickup are true. Kids don't play as much as they once did. As for the comments about foreign players some are way off base. The US is far less intense with sports than most countries. I have lived abroad for many years. Believe me if you are seen as a stand out school boys rugby player in NZ you leave home and are shipped to an elite Rugby School. The emphasis is on the Rugby. In much of the world kids become property of the local socer club at an early age. In many countries 10-12 is the range where the elite players are sent to basketball academies and the drill for 5-7 hours a day. That is why the Euros are far better shooters than so many in the US. A top flight 10-12 year hoops player in the US may play for a club team that has 2 90 minute practices a week. As they get older they go to tournaments with coaches, I use that term loosely, that simply do not know much about the sport. They go with the clubs that recruit the best players. If you go over the basics with your kids for 10-15 minutes a day that give him more training than most "elite" age group programs. Teach them the basics and if they are driven then they will work themselves into ball players. They either have Mana or they do not.


Elizabeth says:
8/30/2011 at 1:48:33 PM

I agree with much of what has been said about parents who become too involved in their child’s sports ambitions. Often we are trying to live our dreams through them. I also understand how hard it is not to say anything when you have been a competitor yourself. I played basketball and softball with a lot of intensity. My daughter is a very good basketball player. She actually made her varsity team as a freshman. She is much better than I was when I was her age. However, she plays on cruise control and rarely with any intensity which is hard for me to take, but I eventually learned that it’s just not in her nature. In her early years, I would really get on her and I just made her miserable and myself miserable as well. However, because of my competitive nature it is just too difficult for me to watch her play, so I have excused myself from attending her games because I feel like a pressure cooker. Some might say, why don’t you just be there for support and encouragement. I can’t because I eventually end up finding something to criticize her for. I want my daughter to enjoy the sport and I don’t want to make her hate it.


Louis says:
8/30/2011 at 6:12:15 PM

I agree with adult ego being a problem, just not to the degree that we should have silent sidelines. I think the first true problem is the youth teams that recruit (steal) players from other developing teams. These kids sometimes spend a few years developing a bond with their coach and team, just to have another coach lie and corrupt kids with their recruiting tactics. These coaches CANT coach, just recruit. Once a coach goes that route, the players already on his/her team dont have the secure feeling of loyalty. What results? Kids jumping from team to team and coaches always looking to upgrade as if it were a professional team. I talk to my 8th graders daily about "sticking together", even if something were to happen to me (God forbid), I would want to know that they stayed together. Its the lack of these principles that stunt developement in youth sports, IMO.


LeVale says:
8/31/2011 at 2:00:58 AM

Reading all the comments, I really respect and see all perspectives of them. I have a 8yo son who I have to pull him back a bit from what I think could turn to burn out in bb. I do work with him and we drill about 4 times a week for 2hrs a day. If it was up to him he would want 4 or 6 hrs a day. He is a great student and loves to read I dont stop that though. I think it is relative, the globalization of the world economy, puts pressure on everywhere you turn. My son loves basketball and his energy is very high, he loves the fact that I am spending extra time with him. I really appreciate everyone who made comments, to me this shows you all care that's the most important thing for your kids. FYI, this summer was my son's first bb camp and won 5 awards and already has youth AAU coaches trying to get him to play. But no go for him right now, fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals...GOD BLESS U ALL. LV


James Dossett says:
8/31/2011 at 11:01:41 AM

Youth Sports programs should be about providing an exposure to many different types of games (territory, striking,net/wall and target) as well as teaching multiple skill sets and "tactics" necessary to become successful at these games. As an Elementary P.E. Specialist and youth coach for 34 years, I am not worried about "traveling or elite" teams or feeding the high school basketball team. I could care less how we compare to other countries! My hope is to help kids find activities they can be successful with and continue to stay involved with so that we can break the trend of 70% of them dropping out of any kind of activity by age 13. Youth Sport programs need to be developmentally smart and provide small sided games, use smaller fields and equipment and change the rules so that kids move more, get more hits, make more passes, etc. and learn to understand tactics. Kids can solve basic problems presented in games if given the opportunities and guidance. I very much support Bob Bigelow and his youth sport suggestions. His ideas provide a better "process" for youth sport coaching, teaching and learning.


Youth Coach / parent says:
9/1/2011 at 11:41:46 PM

I agree to a certain degree, I have witnessed parents in the stands of a basketball game act unruly and have heard unbecoming comments about the way the team is being if they were professional coaches. It''s o.k. to disagree with the decisions a coach makes but to voice it publicly during a game only serves to divide the team and makes it difficult for a coach to command the respect needed to lead and teach the team. Making derrogatory comments of team members during a game also divides the parents when these comments are made and are heard by other parents or family members. I believe it is important to address these issues through "parent meetings" before the season opener and have them sign an agreement that states they will make every effort to make only positive statements about the team (coaches included) members during a game....or make no statement at all. This agreement should also include a clause that states any concerns or feedback about the game will be addressed after the game and away from team members. Document should also advise the parents that any disruptive behavior will be cause for termination of their childs involvement with the team.


Coach Kent says:
9/4/2011 at 9:19:40 AM

I've been coaching youth sports for 10 years -- YMCA local level through state championships. Positive Coaching Alliance, ( is the best leadership training for coaches (and parents) that I've seen. They remind us that participation in youth sports has two goals -- winning and teaching life lessons through sports. The provide a methodology to coach 'process' vs focusing entirely on 'outcomes' (winning). They have numerous free on-line resources (including audio podcasts) as well as training for coaches through the high school level. Check them out at


Dee Danielson says:
9/15/2011 at 5:27:50 AM

Thank you for the wonderful advices that you guys provided.

I'm a youth coach, (Mini Basketball ) and I teach children of ages, 8-12, I'm living in Tsandi- Namibia.

It's unfortunate that we do not have basketball background in this society, but I as a coach have a very good sport background, I founded the children's team last year in June.

There are a lot of hardship in getting things together more especially in getting the disired outcomes at the end of the day.

1. Support from the parents - this only comes in as compliments after having won or achieved something greater. I realized, parents do not Appreciate the process but the results.
2. Home chores in ruler areas- Many children want to take part in the training sessions and learning. I always looked back to the society in which I found myself, ( rular and poverty, orphans and single parenthood as well as lower level of civilization) I cannot personally encouraged childre. Positively or in other ways to take part in sports, while they were suppose to get back home and look after their I'll family family members, (nobody else cares) do the home chores (fetching water, collecting firewoods and other work) "A child coming to do sports and sleep with a squeaking stomach is not fair and positive.
3. Parents do not understand SPORTS due to a lower or no background of sports-Its hard to convince parents who did never enjoyed spots nor benefited from sports even once in their lifetime. It's crucial we start incorporating sports positivity when addressing general community meeting so that we can help in getting parents to the right level of understanding. I believe that, if CHURCH will talk about sport s in the preaching, it's not a sin. It's positive and building the nation.

Lastly, I would want to thank you so much for rhe good advices that I always get from Breakthroughbasketball.


Dee Danielson


scott says:
1/13/2013 at 8:31:03 AM

I am now in my 4th year of coaching youth sports and I understand the concerns that a lot of you have expressed. I see less problems with the coaches and more problems with the way the leagues are being run. Most of us want to teach the kids and also win occasionally. The leagues are allowing too many stacked teams with kids that are beyond the age limit of the league. I currently coach a 12u team in a ymca league. The league has allowed a private middle school to bring in two teams to play and there are many kids that are above the age limit(13-15 year olds). My team is made up of mostly 10-11 year old kids that have never played. My son is 9 and move up based on his ability. We only have 1 hour a week to practice and try to develop these kids. We would get beat no matter what we did, but it would be nice to have more practice time to be able to develop the new kids. I admit my son becomes a ball hog in the games out of frustration because he is the only one who can score. The first few games i insisted that he always make passes and let the other kids try to score, but after the kids turn the ball over repeatedly he takes it upon himself to create. I have a wonderful group of kids, but the size difference and skill level difference compared to older kids on a middle school team is too great for them to learn. Myself and my assistants are now basically just forgetting about the games and focusing our 1 hour a week to the most basic skill development and some fun drills(games) just to create a good environment for the kids. If we had more practice time i think we could really teach these kids something!!
I wonder what the league or the other coaches think the kids are getting out of this league. The older kids who play together 5 days a week at school certainly are not learning anything either by beating small kids with no experience. If children do not have a parent or older sibling at home to teach them i would dare say most don't have a chance in the current system.


Ken Sartini says:
1/13/2013 at 12:55:36 PM

Scott -

I am just shaking my head.... why the heck would the league allow kids older that your group to play? THAT benefits no one!!

With only one hour a week, thats hard enough to teach the kids everything then know to play the game. The best thing you can do for your kids is to teach them some basics and let them have fun. Its a shame that you cant find some more practice time somewhere.

You should get the rest of the coaches together and go to the league director and let them know that THIS situation is NOT accceptable. Those older kids need to be playing kids of their age.... It is ruining the youngers kids chances to enjoy the game and get something out of it.

The older kids get absolutely nothing from playing with kids that much younger. They need to find a way to let them compete ... perhaps just against each other and let the younger kids play each other the way the league was organized.

This is a TERRIBLE learning situation at best..... and the worst thing that could happen is the younger kids NOT enjoying this, not developing a love for the game, let alone learning some skills. They might just say, "the heck with this" and quit.

Good luck, I hope you can find a way to solve this problem.... I guarantee you one thing... IF this was my son, I would be in the league directors office the next day... and all the coaches should feel the same way.


Mike says:
1/14/2013 at 9:54:45 AM

I can completely understand where Mr. Bigelow is coming from. I have 2 boys who both play football, basketball, baseball and even lacrosse. I dont ever see a coach whose out there soley for the kids and not out to prove he is a great competitor. Its like most of the coaches couldnt make it on the field as a player, so this is their redirecting their love for competition and trying to prove themselves by coaching. I have taken on coaching my 11 year olds basketball team, which for some reason consists of mostly 9 year olds. The church league we are in has a bantam division that spans 3 ages. The fourth graders are over matched out there against some of the sixth graders, and the sixth graders are not challenged often enough. I ve spoken to our director and expressed my concerns and hope to change the age breakdowns. I d rather they shut down the league than operate like this.
While winning isn't everything, I would like to see my kids be able to win a little , not always be losing by 15-20 pts. They look so excited when they are close in a game,, Id love to see them win, unfortunately they have become very accustomed to losing and that's not right either.


Ken Sartini says:
1/14/2013 at 10:04:53 AM

I think most people get into coaching becuase they love the game.... and they love working with kids, helping to them to become good players and develop into young adults.

We all want to win, players, parents and coaches. The problem I see is at the youth level, where winning is more important than teaching/coaching!

Your director needs to sit down with all the coaches and rearrange how it is set up. 4th graders should NOT be playing vs 6th graders, no one gets anything out of this. They should break them down more like this... 3/4 grades ... 5/6 grades ... This way the kids will have more FUN which should be your #! GOAL!

Good luck, I hope you can work this out.


Mike says:
1/14/2013 at 1:04:29 PM

I agree about the age brackets, and I see that some of the youth, non school , coaches do get into coaching for the same reasons you state. I did. I will keep discussing things with the league director and start to modify my practices like you suggest in the other blog.



Ken says:
1/14/2013 at 1:49:25 PM

Mike -

See if you can get the other coaches in on this ... a meeting would mean more then. Strength in numbers!

As far as your practices - do the best that you can with the 90 minutes - simplify things... hard to cover everything...... just make sure they have FUN at this age. :-)


Tom says:
3/5/2013 at 7:55:38 PM

Adult ego is not only the biggest problem in youth sports but the biggest problem in sports. Too much self-worth is derived from winning. The real problem is with the fans. Too many people invest too much of their self-worth into whether or not ‘their” team wins. We see examples of this in fan behavior at games. This demonstrates itself in brawls and arguments between, verbal abuse of participants, throwing things on the floor, team boosters supplying illegal benefits so that they can brag about their alma maters success (with which they really have nothing to do), over the top sports betting 9and the crime and cheating that go with it), threats to players and coaches, and other boorish behavior which now seems to be accepted in sports.
I have been deeply involved in sports my whole life. My father was a high school coach and I was at most of his games and practices. His players were like big brothers to me when I was young and I worshiped them and him and it hurt me deeply when big mouthed fans would citizen he or them when they had no right to do so. I became a coach and have coached at the grade school, middle school, high school and college levels. Sadly, right now I am deeply disillusioned with the way society uses and reacts to sports. I remember watching the first Super bowl (actually it wasn’t even called that back then) as an eight year old Packer fan because that previous summer I had gotten Bart Stars auto-graph. I no longer watch the game. I attended 16 straight Illinois High School Boys Basketball finals but no longer even watch those games. Why, because of our society’s sick view of sport and how it has changed sport.
That being said, the suggestions in this article and talk are a reaction that goes too far the other way. Even as an eight year old playing football in the back yard with my friends we were very conscious of the score. THAT”S WHAT MADE IT FUN!!! The greatest joy in sport is using competition (both against your opponent to better his score and against yourself to better what you have done before) as a catalyst to turn a simple game into an art form. Take away the score board is a merely symbolic gesture which will only be an inconvenience to the people who have the right perspective and it will not deter those twisted people who pervert sport into something that is ugly and unhealthy.
Silent sidelines are an even worse idea. First of all, having coached youth sports for many years I (along with the many GOOD youth coaches with whom I have been privileged to associate) do realize that there can be an overload of advice from the sidelines. However, good coaches (of whom there are many) realize this and while we may overdo it sometimes, more often are very effective in communicating with young athletes during the game. In fact, it is necessary for good and appropriate coaching from the sidelines for the kids to get the optimal benefit from the game. Also, there is nothing wrong with parents and fans making a ruckus on the sideline if it is positive and appropriate. If it isn’t, just kick those who aren’t being appropriate, kick the offenders out! I have actually done so myself.
These days it seems that any time there is a problem we over react and take actions that make things worse rather than rationally look at the problem, find the cause, and correct that, thus eliminating the problem. Let’s not do this with youth sports by enacting a bunch of impractical and potentially damaging rules and practices.


Youth Development & Conditioning Coach says:
9/16/2013 at 7:33:14 PM

I think a lot of people missed the point and should listen to the audio again. We're not talking about youth sports at ages 13-18, we're talking about 8 year olds who want to play and have fun. Coaching kids based on scores and wins at this age ruins the game for them, they begin to feel demotivated to play and begin to turn away from the game. At this age, kids just want to run around and have fun.

My outlook on this is that until kids become fundamentally sound in their field, they shouldn't be pushed to "win" or score a set amount of points. Until they start becoming competitive of their own accord, allow them to experience the fun side of sport, because when you think about it, that's why we all picked up a basketball, a football, a baseball bat etc. because it was fun. I've seen coaches push kids out of sport because at a young age they've been made to feel like winning is everything and when they don't win, they feel useless.


Ken Sartini says:
9/17/2013 at 11:48:39 AM

I couldn't have said this better!

Its very simple... young kids should be taught the fundamentals of the game and HAVE FUN while doing it.... good or bad coach.

IF you are a coach that wants to see your kids succeed and are proud of what they can do..... then teach them the game, and when they get to high school, you can watch them play. Then you will be proud of what you did for them.

The kids and their parents will be happy with what you did for them.


Garrett Murphy says:
9/21/2014 at 11:39:15 AM

I don't think I've seen it yet in the comments, but I regularly have 1-2 kids per season who have this problem:

They have no interest in the sport; their parents made them sign up for basketball to fulfill their own egos, get them out of the house or as a form of day care. If a kid has no interest in basketball, they shouldn't be put into basketball in the first place.

I agree and disagree with the silent sideline. I really, REALLY dislike when I'm trying to get a command out to my players (I totally disagree with kids not hearing commands or not understanding; that's true in some cases, but simple commands and play calls are easy to do after the first couple practices) and the entire sideline of parents is barking their own orders, in many cases completely contradicting yours. At the same time, though, the best thing for these players is to hear encouragement from their parents; that's the person they're most trying to impress.


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