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Travel Sports Coaches - rant

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The problem is that most of the former seasonal sports are becoming almost year round. 

 

This is very true. Add to that everyone making their sport/club/event mandatory, and you have the makings of a mess. I disagree with the notion that all these various interests are making our kids well rounded. It makes the parents' ability to manage their kid's schedule better, but from my experience it is not the kids that manage anything. The kids simply hop in the car and mom shuttles them to the next event.

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Thinking out loud.... is scouting really that different?

 

We too require a certain level of commitment in order to do certain things. A scout who rarely, if ever, camps is not going to make patrol leader. They aren't going to progress through many of the awards. I personally insist that a scout has passed emergency aid stage 3 before they can do their expedition challenge. Again a scout who misses multiple thursday nights will probably end up missing out. 

 

The problem is that kids these days have an awful lot more choices than even when I was there age 25 years ago and compared to what one of my assistant leaders had, who is now 73, it's more or less a different world.

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Adults are deluded in believing that these hyper focused adult led sports, etc... will lead to pro-careers or even college scholarships. Those kids who will make it will showcase their talent on even the worst teams, clubs, etc... It is big business to get parents to pay big money in an attempt to buy their way into scholarships or pro sports. Too bad it doesnt work.

I think this hits it on the head. The coaches get away with the all-consuming practice and training schedules because the parents allow it, encourage it and sometimes even demand it. When I was a kid messing around clumsily with organized baseball, my parents encouraged it because they wanted me to have fun, get some exercise, learn teamwork and other social skills (that doesn't actually work when you aren't very good, but that's life), and maybe develop some athletic ability. Now, many parents have stars in their eyes about their fifth-grade son getting into the pros or at least getting a "free ride" through college on a scholarship. (Notice my "order" is the reverse of DuctTape's, there are many more college scholarships than there are spots on professional teams. I know of many kids from our high school who have gotten various kinds of scholarships, but of all the thousands of students that have graduated from the school over the 50+ years it has been there, I am aware of one (1) who became a major-league athlete (NBA.)) Scouting, and other things, get pushed aside fairly easily when a parent is focused on little Johnny making the pros so he (and his parents) will be set for life.

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Thinking out loud.... is scouting really that different?

 

We too require a certain level of commitment in order to do certain things. A scout who rarely, if ever, camps is not going to make patrol leader. They aren't going to progress through many of the awards. I personally insist that a scout has passed emergency aid stage 3 before they can do their expedition challenge. Again a scout who misses multiple thursday nights will probably end up missing out. 

 

The problem is that kids these days have an awful lot more choices than even when I was there age 25 years ago and compared to what one of my assistant leaders had, who is now 73, it's more or less a different world.

 

Yes, it's different because scouting is not schedule driven like sports.  Scouting does not have a firm timeline.  You could take 2 years to make Eagle or 7 years.  There's no set order that you have to earn your merit badges in. 

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My friend is a soccer scout. He works for an international firm that scouts all across the US and central America. He often tells me he knows which kids he wants for the clubs he works for by age 13-15 so he can get them in to their academies overseas. He rarely if ever picks up any kids above 15 and rarely attends show case tournaments. Those, he says, are for colleges to pick players and even then about 4% of the players get money. Select sports is a great way to separate people from their money if they expect their kid to make the pros that way...at least in soccer.

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Waaaaay back when, I was in a Cub Scout softball league. We played two days a week, practiced catch and hit after school sometimes with whatever dad was available. I remember we had red tshirts with out Pack number ironed on by one of the moms (it was a Saturday afternoon activity! In a basement rec room, us Cubs helped with organizing and holding and such. It was a multi-Den meeting).

Our games were regulated, but there were many time outs for helping someone adjust his glasses, or trade off a glove for a different one that fit better. We had a bag of gloves to choose from if we didn't have our own.

My dad , as I remember, impressed folks because he had played semi-pro softball in his younger days, as a one handed catcher (!).

I played right field and first base and center field as I remember.

It fit right in with Cub Scouts, we had sports awards, and it fit some of the Wolf and Bear requirements.

When I went on to Boy Scouts, I knew I wasn't going to be a sports player. I marched in the Band and did lots of other things outside of Scouts.

But Scouts was always something I enjoyed and did well in. My parents , I see, followed Harry Truman's advice, and when they found something I liked and enjoyed and showed talent in, they encourage me there. Baseball? Track? not so much. Stage and drama? Scout camping? Band and music? They helped and drove me, but insisted that I "Do My Best" (where have I heard that again?). The only complaints I heard from them was how they could help me do better, not so much punishment for not succeeding, but how to do it better.

I find myself often speaking of the "soccer syndrome". Parents take their progeny to practice, drop off and two hours later come back, expecting the coach or teacher to "create" their child. When the child has no connection with the parent(s) or they have a child that seems to have no moral compass, the parent doesn't wonder "what did I do wrong" but "how can the school be improved".

The kid isn't going to be a pro sport legend, he MIGHT be a good, honest plumber or farmer or architect. If he or she becomes a community leader (even POTUS?) , how can one ever see pro sports as a basis for that?

Edited by SSScout

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A lot of this depends on a number of different dynamics.

 

I had one situation where all three of these came together and blew up in my face.

 

I was a minister at the time.  Wednesday nights were set aside by the school district as "Church Night"  Homework was less, sports didn't practice, no after school or evening events planned by the school.

 

I had one family of 4 boys.  The three older boys were all All-State Wrestlers and had all gone on to college with wrestling scholarships.  The youngest was my confirmation student.  I taught independent study and had open office hours on Wednesday for the kids to schedule time with me for their lessons.  3:30 pm - 9:30 pm was open.  The boy didn't schedule time and when he did, he didn't show up .  I finally asked him what's up, he hold me he had to practice wresting, the coach said so.

 

So I talked to the coach, (which was my mistake).  That's NOT what the coach said, he apologized profusely and kicked the boy off the team.  Obviously I took the full brunt of the blame and the family quit the church.  The coach went out of the way to make sure in the small town they knew that I was not to blame, but the boy himself was.  That wasn't good enough for the family.  That was a lose/lose/lose all the way around.

 

In today's world that would NEVER happen.  Cultural norms have changed and the definition of honesty and responsibility have bee modified.

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The kid isn't going to be a pro sport legend, he MIGHT be a good, honest plumber or farmer or architect.

The problem is that it takes a lot of parents too many years to accept that fact about their child, and in the meantime the youth misses out on some other things they would have done otherwise because they have obligations to the team six (maybe seven?) days a week.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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Too many posters here seem to be of the mindset that all parents are in some delusional state and view their son's sports participation with rose colored glasses. While that is true for many parents, believe it or not, there are actually scouts who do have real athletic ability, who have proven it and who have the stats and results to back up their performance and ability.

 

And as at least one other poster noted, yes, the Boy Scouts can be just as demanding, if not more so, of scouts when it comes to participation in meetings and camping trips as coaches can be of their athletes attending practices and games. 

 

That door swings both ways.

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Too many posters here seem to be of the mindset that all parents are in some delusional state and view their son's sports participation with rose colored glasses. While that is true for many parents, believe it or not, there are actually scouts who do have real athletic ability, who have proven it and who have the stats and results to back up their performance and ability.

 

And as at least one other poster noted, yes, the Boy Scouts can be just as demanding, if not more so, of scouts when it comes to participation in meetings and camping trips as coaches can be of their athletes attending practices and games. 

 

That door swings both ways.

 

And even if those kids are not elite talents, there's still much to be gained from sports participation.  I'll never begrudge a kid who wants to compete, strive to be his best, and make a commitment to something (the team) that is greater than himself.

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One of the down sides of all this hyper-competitive youth sports, is that kids are showing up with sports injuries that used to only show up in professional athletes. We have child athletes needing knee and elbow surgery. There is growing concern within the medical community about the detrimental health effects of overtraining and the rise of overuse injuries in youth sports. Basically, a lot of this stuff is unhealthy.

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One of the down sides of all this hyper-competitive youth sports, is that kids are showing up with sports injuries that used to only show up in professional athletes. We have child athletes needing knee and elbow surgery. There is growing concern within the medical community about the detrimental health effects of overtraining and the rise of overuse injuries in youth sports. Basically, a lot of this stuff is unhealthy.

To be clear, this is really a different issue.  There are 2 things that are separate but often intertwined. 

 

1) Coaches who demand complete commitment to the sport (what I think the OP was getting at).

2) Early specialization and year round training which is what leads to the overuse injuries.

 

You can have #1 without #2.  And you can also have #2 without #1.

Edited by SlowDerbyRacer
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Yes, it's different because scouting is not schedule driven like sports.  Scouting does not have a firm timeline.  You could take 2 years to make Eagle or 7 years.  There's no set order that you have to earn your merit badges in. 

 

I think you misunderstand me.

 

I know that scouting doesn't have the same schedule issue as sport does, but just like sport it requires a level of commitment to achieve what a given scout wants to achieve.

 

I bet you could find an internet forum somewhere where right now a soccer coach is typing about this 14 year old boy who has lots of talent but who has been told that if he doesn't come on more campouts or hikes he won't make PL or if he doesn't get through certain badges he won't make eagle. So that boy is missing practice sessions and matches or has possibly quit altogether in favour of scouts.

 

It really isn't that different.

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Too many posters here seem to be of the mindset that all parents are in some delusional state and view their son's sports participation with rose colored glasses. While that is true for many parents, believe it or not, there are actually scouts who do have real athletic ability, who have proven it and who have the stats and results to back up their performance and ability.

The delusion, if you wish to call it that, is not so much about the youth's athletic ability. Of course there are Scouts with great athletic ability. The delusion is about how far that ability is likely to take him, and whether it is worth completely crowding out all other activities with a singular focus just on a sport. That is what I am seeing. On the other hand, I think most troops will welcome the Scout back after the three-month break for the sports season. Of course that season may be followed right away by a season of a different sport. I think it's natural that after those kinds of interruptions, some Scouts will lose interest and not come back. I have seen it happen. (Or, since the time of crossing over from Cubs to Boy Scouts is right at the same age when the sports frenzy is beginning, the Scout may never even make it to his first troop meeting. I have seen that happen too.)

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Disagree 100%.  Travel sports may create better players, but in the grand scheme of things travel sports create individuals who are able to work toward a goal, practice teamwork, balance time, and a whole myriad of other benefits.  Seeing sports as only creating players is extremely shortsighted.

 

After seeing sports and Scouts, I don't see anything really character-based or even teamwork based being  taught to kids in sports (and my sons played soccer their elementary years, both were in middle school sports, and the oldest in high school sports).  I don't see much being taught besides how to play the sport (and yes, that does involve teamwork, but it's not led by the kids, it's led by adults shouting at them). 

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