Term Paper: Sports Injuries Competitive Sports Participation

Pages: 9 (2348 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Therefore, adults should take a positive approach, set reasonable expectations of their children's physical and psychosocial abilities and learn to control their emotions.

It is imperative for parents to remember and emphasize children's motives for sport participation (having fun, being with friends, learning skills, improving health and fitness, etc.) and not to substitute them with their own motives (winning, earning social prestige, pursuing sport career, etc.)

Organization / Administration

Sport administrators should have a thorough understanding of structural and functional differences that exist between children and adults and design sport programs that are safe in both training and competition.

Special education / certification programs (clinics, seminars) have to be organized and systematically implemented for coaches working with the children of the defined age group.

Not every child is going to be an elite athlete, but every child deserves to have an opportunity to participate. There should be a variety of programs within the sport to make sure that the needs of the vast majority of the children will not be sacrificed for the highly skilled minority.

Organizational and administrative policies should support coaches who emphasize skill improvement rather than winning, as long as the coaches provide a good atmosphere for their athletes to succeed. Sport administrators have to control participation in two respects: 1) costs - to make it affordable for young athletes and their parents, no matter their economic standing, and 2) intensity -- the balance of participation and competition must be such that it does not interfere with the young athlete and his/her family's social lives (Seefeldt 1987).

Competition

The effective team competition should:

* provide the opportunity to participate in sports for the sake of participation, enjoyment and fun without external pressure and overemphasis on winning;

* provide equal opportunity and playing time for all participants;

* promote a healthy spirit of competition, physical fitness, cooperation and sports behavior;

* provide a safe competitive environment;

* modify the nature of the game, equipment (weight and size of the ball), the size of the court, rules, number of players, time of the game and number of games per season;

*control the process of grouping athletes for competition that should be based on children's age, weight, physical and social maturity, body size, playing experience and skill level;

* establish individual and team reward systems based on the quality of performance and efforts shown by young athletes rather than on their participation only; and * allow participation only after completion of a pre-competition medical examination.

(Weiss 208)

Conclusion

Children under 10 years of age do not need national level competition to enjoy the sport. Elite championships are highly stressful events with a great emphasis on winning at all costs. Coaches and parents often are anxious to have their children compete without understanding all of the specifics of young children's physical and psychosocial development. As a result, they promote improper values and set unrealistic expectations for youngsters who are vulnerable at this age, both physically and emotionally.

The higher the level of competition, the greater the emphasis on winning. Going to tournaments, championships, travel and attainment of external rewards assess winning at top levels. For some adults, this becomes paramount in their quest for success. They set new objectives of training and competition that may not reflect the interests of children (play for fun, improve skills, be with friends).

There are only a few spots available for individuals who are good enough to play at the national level. The selection process may leave the rest of the children with no program to participate in. Budget and facility scheduling may cause elimination of sport programs in which children simply have fun and improve their skills.

The elementary school years should be the time when the basic skills are learned, when children have the opportunity to engage in a broad range of activities. Children of this age are not yet ready for specialization and the pressure of intense competition. It does not mean, however, that young children should not experience competition. Competition is an essential part of training, but should not be the focus. Children will benefit from modified, well-organized, less formal team competitions. They will gain some positive competitive experience that will help them strive for excellence in the future.

Works Cited

AAP. "Organized Athletics for Preadolescent Children." Pediatrics 84, 1989:583-4.

Ad Hoc Committee on Sports and Children of the FIMS Education Commission. Sports and children. Position stand of the International Federation of Sports Medicine and World Health Organization on "Organized Sport for Children." Olympic Coach, Summer 1997: 6-8.

Backx, F. "Injuries in persons and high-risk sports; a longitudinal study of 1,818 school

Children." The American Journal of Sports Medicine 19, 1991:124-30.

Burnett, D. Youth, Sports and Self-Esteem: A Guide for Parents. Masters Press, 1993.

Foster, W. "Cooperation in the game and sport structure of children: one dimension of psychosocial development." Education 105-1980.

Misheli, L. & Jenkins, M. Sportwise: an essential guide for young athletes, parents, and coaches. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990.

Petlichkoff, L. "Youth sport participation and withdrawal: is it… [END OF PREVIEW]

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