Youth Sports Culture...Something Needs to Change

by Justin Sayban

If you ask the biggest names in youth sports (The Jr. NBA, TeamSnap, US Youth Soccer, US Lacrosse, National Alliance for Youth Sports) what their most pressing challenge is, they will all say “Changing the Culture of Youth Sports” in one form or another.  I know this because I have asked people at the top of these organizations that very question.  Their biggest challenges are not “finding the next Lebron” or “putting together our next olympic team” or “getting athletes to peak performance".  Rather, they are trying to rein in sports parents and coaches so we can get the focus of youth sports back on kids.  (Disclaimer:  I am a youth sport parent and coach who was “that crazy sideline parent” before I was reformed)

What has happened in the last 10 years? 

The youth sports industry has exploded in the last ten years.  But unfortunately, when people think of youth sports, the first images that come to mind are out-of-control sideline parents and the brawls between coaches and refs we see in viral videos.  But underneath that is the wholesome experience that our kids long for….an experience they share with friends that keeps them active, healthy, confident, supported and happy.

Why is this important?