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shortridge

Youth soccer participation has fallen significantly - report

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Thanks Shortridge!

I agree, there are lessons for the BSA to draw from.

- High costs alienating many families

- Organizational myopia

- De-emphasizing competition

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One word that is missing from that article is "concussions".   In high school sports, concussions from soccer are about twice as likely as football to require 22 or more days of recovery.  This might be another reason why youth are leaving this sport.

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Talking with parents, concussions are definitely hurting football enrollment but not soccer.  Football in our area is having trouble fielding full teams.... 

Sports specialization is starting incredibly young.  When I was a kid you played rec sports until Junior High when travel would start.  Even then, you could be a multi sport athlete rather easily.

As a parent I have seen the changes.  Travel soccer starts at 6.  With my son I resisted the change (and he wasn’t that into soccer).  By 8 all of the talented players (and coaches) were in select and we were left with parents yelling at kids whose only focus is keeping score and they provided no instruction on how the game should be played (in part because soccer is not that popular as a professional sport).  He hated it and we dropped out.  The rec league pretty much ends at 10 anyway... since everyone drops by then.

We just signed our daughter up to a full year soccer select club ... at 6.  She likes soccer and the instructors are great.  Itis expensive and we are concerned with burnout; however, we know that keeping her in rec leads to no skill progress and dropout anyway.

While this is an issue the other issue is there is no way we can also sign her up for another sport as select soccer is all year.  In addition it competes with time for scouts, music and just open play.  

Scouts has some tough competition for kids’ time, but their program is unique.  They should focus on their volunteers and make sure they understand what they need to succeed.  

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I think MattR is on point here. I was at breakfast this morning with my wife, and we overheard (they were very loud) discussing youth soccer. These were coaches (possibly parent-coaches) .It was plainly obvious they were coaching kids like they are collegiate or pros without realizing the benefit of less structure, and playing the game. They were complaining about kids "not being committed to the sport" because they had other interests; athletic and otherwise. They fail to understand the benefit of the off-season, other sports, etc... 

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8 hours ago, MattR said:

... parents are taking the fun out of it. ..

Message to scouters would be keep it fun. ...

It's about understanding that play has its own benefits. ...

So true.  Too much focus on creating the best scouting program.  I swear 90% of the benefits of scouts is getting kids outside, camping and trying new things. There is benefit to having the perfect troop and the perfect boy-led implementation and strong advancement and good uniforming and ...  but I'm not sure it out weighs the damage of over zealous adults.

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Soccer is just one symptom of the larger situation that all the little league sports are seeing a decrease. My opinion is the parents are burning out from keeping their kids active. The kids are still getting involved in activities, but not several activities. 

Not that parents arent part of the problem, they are. I was a soccer coach for several years and being confronted by parents was scary as were opposing coaches. At least the team benches were across the field from each other, baseball is down right scary because the parents of both teams sit together.

Like scouting, parents struggle to approach their kids involvement in sports from a youth development perspective because it isn’t presented that way. The only goal they understand is winning. Their sons are dragged along with their emotional ride.

Barry

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Excellent points re enjoyment (or lack thereof) and burn out.

I think about this every time I drive down a certain turnpike in OK.  Along the way, on the outskirts of a town, there is a huge youth baseball/soccer complex.  Day and night, the parking lot is full.  All of the fields are in use.  Rarely do I see the place empty.

I reflect back to when my kids were young and involved in sports.  They wanted to sign up, but I never detected much joy on their part once the season started.  Endless practices.  Fees up front and then mandatory candy sales and other fundraisers during the season.  Long drives in the mini-van to games.  Cranky children doing homework and eating fast food in the back.  Weekends spent watching the children play half-heartedly.  Obnoxious parents.  Coaches acting like every game was the World Series/World Cup/etc.  You know the scene.

I believe many families are realizing that it isn't worth it.

When I was at camp a few weeks ago, I noticed that the gaga ball pit and the basketball court were always in use.  I found it interesting that the scouts were competing, definitely trying their best to win, but also having fun.   And there was zero adult or staff supervision.  The scouts were running their own show.  Resolving their own conflict.  Competing on their own, without parents and coaches orchestrating everything.  I'm sure the scouts benefited in many ways.

 

 

Edited by desertrat77
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I came from the sand lot generation. I played sand lot baseball, football, Street hockey kickball. No parents or adult coaches, just us. The only thing our kids know about sand lot is the movie.

Barry

 

 

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"No parents or coaches, just us."

Then: outdoors...sandlot baseball, football,...patrol hikes, camping

Now: indoors (bedroom closed door) Xbox Live ...

:(

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13 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

Excellent points re enjoyment (or lack thereof) and burn out.

I think about this every time I drive down a certain turnpike in OK.  Along the way, on the outskirts of a town, there is a huge youth baseball/soccer complex.  Day and night, the parking lot is full.  All of the fields are in use.  Rarely do I see the place empty.

I reflect back to when my kids were young and involved in sports.  They wanted to sign up, but I never detected much joy on their part once the season started.  Endless practices.  Fees up front and then mandatory candy sales and other fundraisers during the season.  Long drives in the mini-van to games.  Cranky children doing homework and eating fast food in the back.  Weekends spent watching the children play half-heartedly.  Obnoxious parents.  Coaches acting like every game was the World Series/World Cup/etc.  You know the scene.

I believe many families are realizing that it isn't worth it.

When I was at camp a few weeks ago, I noticed that the gaga ball pit and the basketball court were always in use.  I found it interesting that the scouts were competing, definitely trying their best to win, but also having fun.   And there was zero adult or staff supervision.  The scouts were running their own show.  Resolving their own conflict.  Competing on their own, without parents and coaches orchestrating everything.  I'm sure the scouts benefited in many ways.

 

 

Well, I'm glad one of our former ASM's wasn't there. He would have wanted direct two deep leadership at the gaga pit/basketball court.  The Scouts would play field games for about 45 minutes each meeting, and mostly the adults worked with older Scouts who were working on merit badges. We  trusted the Scouts to run their field games and to do the right thing in an accident. They did for the few knee scrapes, etc. that happened.  This ASM thought we should have two adults watching the Scouts every minute.

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25 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

Well, I'm glad one of our former ASM's wasn't there. He would have wanted direct two deep leadership at the gaga pit/basketball court.  The Scouts would play field games for about 45 minutes each meeting, and mostly the adults worked with older Scouts who were working on merit badges. We  trusted the Scouts to run their field games and to do the right thing in an accident. They did for the few knee scrapes, etc. that happened.  This ASM thought we should have two adults watching the Scouts every minute.

I agree, Perdidochas, excellent point.  I wandered by the pit/court a few times each day.  Just passing through, listening and observing without being obvious.  The scouts picked their own teams, arbitrated as needed, laughed a lot, and went full speed to win everything.  From what I could tell, most of teams were a mix of scouts from several troops...teammates they had just met.  Rarely was the pit/court empty/quiet. 

ETA:  Many of these scouts were playing all hours of the day, it seemed. 

Unfortunately, your former ASM's MO is more common today than in years previous--the belief that all scouts, regardless of age, should be treated as cubs.  The scouts never get a chance to grow up, lead, have fun, or solve problems if there is always "adult supervision."  Then they go to college or join the military--culture shock!

Edited by desertrat77

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1 hour ago, perdidochas said:

Well, I'm glad one of our former ASM's wasn't there. He would have wanted direct two deep leadership at the gaga pit/basketball court.  The Scouts would play field games for about 45 minutes each meeting, and mostly the adults worked with older Scouts who were working on merit badges. We  trusted the Scouts to run their field games and to do the right thing in an accident. They did for the few knee scrapes, etc. that happened.  This ASM thought we should have two adults watching the Scouts every minute.

The gaga ball pit (sort of like Thunderdome...many enter but only one is left) is a great time.   Lot's of need for scouts to work things out.   One of the camps we attend asks that a leader be nearby and is responsible to check the ball in/out.  Also haul away the injured.  I was sitting there at a table maybe 50 ft away enjoying the afternoon and a tasty treat and was asked to mediate some point of the game, my response was "work it out".  The group asked a couple of times, I responded the same each time the same and they stopped asking and (shocked face) they worked it out

I did dutifully turn the ball in and luckily mended no scouts.  The afternoon progressed nicely

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