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Three Lies in Youth Sports

By Joe Crispin, 02/19/19, 11:15AM EST

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Three lies are everywhere in youth sports. As a parent or a coach, ask yourself if you are guilty of believing them. 

1) More is better. 

I understand why we believe this, but we have to be careful how far we take it. It seems to me that most people are convinced that in order to keep up with others or maximize potential, our kids must do more, more, more! Especially when it comes to organized activities.

The business of youth sports convinces us of this, but it's not true. There is often a point of diminishing return. Rest and rejuvenation is needed. Time for free play. The extra day or two a week may not make them improve as much as you think. In fact, it may make them worse in the end. More isn't always better. 

2) Bigger (or farther away)  is better. 

The bigger the tournament or the longer the distance, the better it is. Or the bigger the program name or sponsor, the better it is. Nope. Not even close. If you aren't dominating things locally, why travel a few extra hours and pay more money to get beat? I just don't get it. Bigger isn't always better. In fact, it is often worse. It costs more and gives you less. Maximize the small opportunities in front of you and you may be surprised how far you can go. 

3) We need to get there faster. 

This may be the worst one. We need our kids to get better now, dominate now, work harder now, be the best on the team now. But why? What are we after? If it's a marathon, who cares who is in the lead in the first 3 miles? Or 8 Miles? Or 12 miles? Or more? 

I just don't get this. I see constant descriptions for youth camps that promise they are going to change your kid's jump shot or his game or his confidence. In what? A week? A season? That's ridiculous. It's a borderline lie. That is not how development works. I may adopt a new description for every season program we have. It goes like this...

"You kid will get a little bit better and should enjoy the game a little bit more." 

How's that sell for you? So life-altering, I know, but it's true. That's how it works. No dramatic, crazy steps. Just a step or two ahead in their development. That's all. And that should always be enough. 

Stop believing these lies. They are everywhere today. Our kids need us to believe the truth and to enjoy the process day-by-day.