What Happened to Being in Shape in Youth Sports?

Coach, we didn’t sign up our son for all this running! The exact words that were said to me my first year coaching after finishing my professional career. Are you kidding me? That was my first thought. But I bit my tongue and responded with “I am not quite sure what you mean.screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-8-58-08-am

Having coached youth baseball for the last 5 years I have noticed that being in shape is not a priority on parents lists. Every team that I have coached or coached against has had at least three players who are out of shape. Out of shape to me is being any of the following; over weight, not flexible, gets tired quickly, lack quickness and agility, and cant catch their breath in a relatively short time.

As a coach its our responsibility to make sure our players are getting in game shape when they are with us at practice. Too many times I watch youth practices with limited running involved. I don’t see any sprints after practices, there is very limited base-running drills, and a lot of standing around. Hardly do I ever see teams stretch. How can we expect players to be loose and in shape if they don’t stretch? I’m sorry but if your child is 10 or older and cant bend over and touch their toes, there is a major problem.

img_0132What happened to agility, speed and conditioning workouts? What happened to 10-15 sprints after practicing working on stealing and getting reads off the pitcher? What happened to playing outside until the street lights come on? What happened to begging your parents to stay outside longer? What happened to making your child do something active everyday? What happened!!!!!

What I don’t think parents realize, or they just fail to accept it, is that playing outside two-three times per week isn’t going to keep your child in shape to play sports. Schools do not provide enough physical activities anymore to keep kids active. And with the lack of available fields, at least in our area, teams can’t get on the field to practice or play 5-6 days per week anymore. Its up to us as parents get our kids active.p1-bo943_youths_ns_20140130181504

Maybe technology is fueling this epidemic? But in reality it all comes back to the parents, who allow their child to be on technology ALL day when at home. I think it is time to kick kids out of the house like the old days and make them play. Sign them up for activities even if they don’t want to do them. Make them play a sport every season and get them active again! This older statistic just drives home my point. How can 20% of the U.S youth be involved in no physical activity? Too much freedom for the youth in the land of the free.

It’s time for us as coaches and responsible parents to get our youth in shape. Be hard on them and make them be active. Its only going to benefit them in the long run.


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