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Character Development in Youth Sports Essay

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I saw in his eyes sheer delight and the joy of accomplishment. He had successfully faced a pitcher older and bigger and had fought off pitch after pitch before knocking a single into left field. His base hit drove in a run, continued an inning and fueled a rally which brought the team a victory from what looked like a certain defeat. He was willing to be taught and was willing to try. Success was secondary to the life skills he was mastering. Character traits will certainly be developed as one participates in team sports, but to attain positive character traits will require deliberate efforts by parents, adults, teammates and even leaders of the organization itself.
Positive character development has been assumed by parents as they sign their children up for belonging to teams in youth sports. Yet, there are examples described by Peter Cary in an article about Fred Engh, a founder of the National Alliance for Youth Sports. In these examples, Engh relates some of the ugliest episodes of adult interactions such as coaches yelling at and belittling players into tears, parents physically assaulting umpires and officials in the full view of kids, adults intimidating or threatening young players because of perceived on-field failures (par. 1).
Carey continues by relating stories of coaches using ‘loopholes’ to cheat in order to ‘win-at-all-costs’. In this illustration, players are told not to swing as an opposing pitcher is unable to throw strikes, resulting in the bases becoming loaded on walks. As the wild pitching continues and the aggressive base running persist the result is a game which no longer resembles baseball (par. 2).
Parents have long had a belief their child participating in team sports would develop pos...


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...ts behaving badly? The relationship between the sportsmanship behaviors of adults and athletes in youth basketball games. Journal of Sport Behavior, 32(1), 3-18.

Carey, Peter, with Randy Dotinga, and Avery Comarow. "FIXING KIDS' SPORTS." U.S. News & World Report136.20 (2004): 44-53. Business Source Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3 June 2011.
Docheff, Dennis M., and James H. Conn. "It's No Longer a Spectator Sport." Parks & Recreation 39.3 (2004): 62-70. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 13 June 2011.
Zaichkowsky, L. D., R. Hedstom, T. Herzog, and L. Igel. "Parental Misconduct in Youth Sports." NASN School Nurse 16.5 (2001): 4. Print.

Engh, F. (2002). Why Johnny hates Sports; Why organized youth sports are failing our children and what we can do about it. Garden City Park, NY: Square One

Lynch, Jerry. Creative Coaching. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2001. Print.


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