The debate on whether age should be used to determine when people should join sports seems not to end soon. Just like skin color, height, nationality, and sex, age is a characteristic that one cannot change or modify to suit the current needs. Regardless of the reasons, limiting a personal involvement in the sport because of age is unfair because age does not directly reflect an individual's capability to perform in sports. An institution like NBA requires a minimum age threshold before joining to be 18 years old while other like NHL, PGA and LPGA have consideration for those who are younger than 18 years and have the potential to participate in sports and turn into pros (Bianchi, 2006). The NFL, on the other hand, does not allow teenagers to turn into pro immediately after they finish high school with the main reasons being that young athletes can suffer from physical injury and that is still not emotionally developed (Teetzel, 2010). Those who agree with the age limit claim that the life of the professional athletes can be too much for the teenagers mainly because of fame and the expectations that come with the nature of the sport. However, as the eligibility limit continue to dominate, some skilled youths end up giving up their dreams in the sport as the journey to becoming pro is significantly extended.
Youths spend a significant part of their time playing sports (Woods, 2015). Kids should, therefore, be allowed to become pro and earn just like other athletes. Sport is a lucrative industry that children can benefit from concerning paying for their school fees, other expenses or even have a chance to take care of their families. Moreover, the reason that different sports give for having age limits is not always satisfactory. Being young does not guarantee that an individual is weak emotionally or physically. The bible says "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12 New International Version). Age should not be a barrier for any young person desiring to become a pro, but they should be given a chance to play and compete with their older counterparts.
Age limits in sports do not necessarily improve sport in general or benefit the young athletes. The most successful and influential athletics bodies are the ones who help as they turn to make a profit at the expense of the young athletes (Bianchi, 2006). Lessons should be learned on how beneficial it can be to allow different ages to join a sport like how the world soccer governing body FIFA has done.
Strategies to Keep Kids Involved In Sports
Majority of youths are usually encouraged to at least try and participate in different sports, but many of them do not stick to these sports as they mature. About 70 percent of kids below the age of 13 quits playing their favorite sports game and the worst is that sometimes the best athletes and players are the ones who quit (Fryer, 2015). The best way to find a solution for these children and to make them love sports is to understand why they usually leave in the first place. In the year 2014 study for George Washington University showed that many young adults, teens and little children participate in sports because it is fun (Coakley, 2011). So the first strategy is to ensure that the youths enjoy the sport they are participating in and ensure they have a passion for that particular sport. Some teenagers find themselves in the wrong sport meaning that they do not have the drive and power to make it to pro. It is essential to encourage the youth to love their sport just like Michael Jordan's slogan says "love of the game" it is critical for teenagers to enjoy what they do.
Moreover, it is essential to treat all youths as equal regardless of the talent level. Some children end up quitting sports because of lack of enough attention where some are regarded as stars hence given more notice while others receive little to no attention. The coaches should encourage the youths that they can make it just like the bible says "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31 New International Version).Another strategy is to make them not afraid of making mistakes. Some youths quit the sport because they are scared of making mistakes. Some teenagers are worried about yelled at, benched and criticized by the parents and their coach not to forget their fellow teammates. Parents, as well as coaches, should create conducive environments whereby they tolerate the mistakes since it is the only ingredient that is required during the whole process of development as far as success is concerned. They should find a better style of addressing mistakes, in that the kids should feel appreciated for the efforts they are trying to put in the sports. All these strategies combined I believe it will keep the kids interest in the young period in the participation of sports and embrace their discovered hobby in the future date.
Changes to Be Made On Youth Sports Programs in Interactionism Point of View
Youth sports programs refer to practices and competition for youths and sometimes the children (Silva, Figueiredo, Elferink-Gemser & Malina, 2016). There are different youth sports program, and each has different layout and nature of working. Youth sports program is an area that changes to impact the lives of the youth effectively, and one way of achieving this is by taking the perspective of an interactionist theorist.
One youth sports program that can be changed is the Agency-Sponsored Youth Sports Programs. It refers to the sponsored service of local sports programs; unlike school and other institutions including recreational sponsored programs, this is a purely service based sector program that is also an agency (Smoll, Cumming & Smith, 2011). It should increase the number of sports that are participated by the youths to encourage more teenagers to join. The agency and other similar agencies should also join national agencies and also get the affiliated with the national sponsors to increase the youth's exposure and expand their knowledge of interaction, in regional and even national level.
Another change in the youth sports program that can happen concerns the Club Sports Program which refers to the private sports programs that offer all-around competitive opportunities and practices. Such clubs should increase the professionalism concerning sponsorship to each youths participating in the sports. Different clubs should be established according to the age limit, and provide the chance for interaction and inclusion of every child interested in the sport.
Youth sports programs should also ensure there is increased youth participation in sport. Though the country has many youths actively participating in sports, some challenges still exist (Woods, 2015). Therefore, resources should be brought together to change this current situation. Community-based youth workers and volunteers should give additional assistance to the children and the youths assisting them to handle various challenges regarding health and social life.
Additionally, the school-Sponsored Intramural Programs need to be enhanced. This program dates back in the 1800s, and since then it has been part of the American school society (Smoll, Cumming & Smith, 2011). It begun with colleges and universities and currently is at high school and primary school levels. Now, a lot of schools offer the intramural programs to their students and pupils, changes that need to be adopted is to allow both private and public participation in this intramural programs. Discrimination in this program should be completely eliminated, and proper leadership should be put in place. Additionally, more resources should be allocated just like interscholastic programs so that they both compete favorably, for every child to get a chance in participation in the area they are active at. Even though it is not easy to achieve these changes it is vital to for the stakeholders involved to stay committed and encouraged since there is always a reward in determination "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness" (Hebrews 12:11 New International Version).
Standard, Certification, And Education for Prospective Coaches
Coaching has evolved over the few decades, it has become a serious professional, and now behind any successful sportsperson, there is a coach. Therefore, there is a need to increase the eligibility, ability, standards skills, and experience of the coaches to ensure our athletes are appropriately supported.
The local communities usually set the standards that coaches must meet and depending on the nature of the community organization, and coaches can be required to have coaching experience, certification and play experience (Woods, 2015). Moreover, according to Woods (2015), coaches are expected to meet the eight domains of competence and knowledge that are; evaluation, administration and organization, tactics and sports skills, communication and teaching, growth and development, physical conditioning, safety, and injury prevention and finally philosophy and ethics.
Coaching certification differs from program to program (Wankel & Kreisel, 1985). Becoming a coach has a process of its own considerable time taken in education and learning, Coaching does not necessarily requires one to have a degree but having one is an added advantage to the field of coaching since a personal development and well understanding of the people needs outside the area (Woods, 2015). There are steps required to get certified and include getting an education that is needed a minimum level diploma or college education, get trained on the field of coaching professionally, coaches to get educated through the programs offered by the institutions accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF). This certification allows coaches to attach professional credentials to their names. Other organizations such as National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA) do also offer certification service.
Coaches can continue expanding their knowledge even when they enter the coaching profession. Coaching methods keep on changing, and it is vital for coaches to be updated to ensure that they are not left behind when it comes to managing their athletes (Woods, 2015). Coaches can utilize various self-education resources to improve their skills. According to Woods (2015), various self-education resources that are available include; following social media sites related to coaching, watch educative videos online, buy videos and books related to coaching, assess information resources and subscribing to relevant newsletters and periodicals among others. Just like other professionals, coaches need work and be updated regarding issues that surround their field. The coaching profession keeps on changing where new techniques are developed, and if one does not familiarize with such developments, their career and that of their athletes will be at jeopardy. All is needed is for them to keep God first and all will be well "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you" (Psalm 32:8 New International Version).
Bianchi, G. (2006). Age requirement in professional sport. The Sports Journal, 9(2).Coakley, J. (2011). Youth sports: What counts as "positive development?". Journal of sport and social issues, 35(3), 306-324.
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