I recently received an email from my brother-in-law that contained several video links.
“Tell me what you think.” My brother-in-law wrote.
I clicked and opened each link and watched my 8-year-old nephew goaltending a lacrosse goal. The video contained the coach’s commentary, superimposed video drawings, and slow motion point-by-point breakdown of his form.
“Wow! When I played that type of analysis and video work was only on ESPN,” I wrote back. I was shocked at the level of sophistication of the coaching analysis.
In the last 10-15 years, there has been an explosion in youth sports training, travel teams, artificial turf fields, video production, websites, private coaches, and “elite” sports teams. According to the news channel CNBC, youth sport travel is a $7 billion dollar industry. With the recent interest in forming “elite” youth athletes, parents are left paying for additional training and sacrificing family time to “elite” sports.
Growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, we kids played football, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, street hockey, and basketball. Some of us were on recreation teams and others were not. We tried all sorts of sports and leagues. We played because it was fun.
Now, as a father of three children, I cannot believe how much youth sports culture has changed. What was once a time of fun, team building, and exercise is now a billion dollar industry. Families spend the whole weekend carting around their kids to sport games or leagues. They spend 2-4 nights a week at practices. Their kid’s sports are their life.
It is not supposed to be this way.