Good Sports Organized Games Can Build a Child's Self-Esteem, or They Can Generate Anxiety and Doubt. It All Depends on the Adults Involved

By Miner, Lisa Friedman | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 16, 1997 | Go to article overview

Good Sports Organized Games Can Build a Child's Self-Esteem, or They Can Generate Anxiety and Doubt. It All Depends on the Adults Involved


Miner, Lisa Friedman, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Lisa Friedman Miner Daily Herald Staff Writer

Let's just say Rick Wolff has run his share of bases.

He played two seasons as a second baseman for the Detroit Tigers' minor league system. He coached college baseball. He worked five years as a "roving psychological coach" for the Cleveland Indians, helping players with the mental aspects of their game.

And these days, he's devoting some of his energy to the littlest athletes - the pint-size batters and pitchers who fill parks and school yards each spring for the start of youth baseball.

Wolff is a believer in the power of sports, and he's quick to point out the positives of organized team play. But, he argues, some overzealous parents and coaches are spoiling America's pastime for its youngest players.

A father of three, Wolff is the author of "Good Sports: The Concerned Parent's Guide to Competitive Youth Sports."

In his book (Coaches Choice, $12.95), he highlights the best and worst of the youth sports experience. He offers examples of coaches stacking their teams with the best players and of a New Jersey attorney who makes a good living representing youth umpires and refs who've been attacked by angry parents.

Wolff also cites studies and statistics that should give parents and coaches pause:

- Thirty-seven percent of kids said they would rather no parents watched them play, according to a USA Today poll.

- Studies indicate that children would rather play for a losing team than sit on the bench for a winning one.

- Evidence suggests that children form lifelong attitudes about sports by the time they're 10.

- About 80 percent of kids drop out of sports by age 12.

"Sports today for kids is very intense," Wolff says. "I often wonder whether this is how it should be."

In a phone interview from his office in New York, Wolff talked about his concerns for youth sports in the '90s and how parents can help turn things around.

Here is an edited transcript.

Daily Herald: You state in the preface of your book that "worrisome" signals are coming out of the youth sports programs of the '90s. What do you mean by that?

Wolff: First of all, there seems to be sort of a contradiction of some in the goals that parents have for their kids in terms of youth sports. In other words, the last thing any mom or dad says to their child before they go out to a baseball game is, "Go out and have fun."

But it's very clear, no matter where you go in this country, that once the game is over and the child is back in the family station wagon, usually Mom or Dad begins what I call a post-game analysis and says, "How come you made that error in the third inning?" The kid starts getting cross-examined as though they're somebody on a professional level who's being interviewed by the media.

It becomes very clear to the child early on that this is more than just having fun. There are uniforms, there's a scoreboard, there's an umpire, there are parents cheering on the sidelines. By the time children get to be 9, 10, 11, 12, they get a sense that they're out there to live up to certain expectations. Sometimes the kids just say, "You know, I'd rather not do this anymore."

The reason why kids play sports is, of course, for physical fitness. But there is also a sense of feeling good about oneself. And if a child is always held to a little higher standard or a sense of expectations from their parents that they aren't doing well enough, after a while the child begins to have a lower sense of self-esteem. And that's where problems can really erupt.

DH: What has changed in that regard over the years?

Wolff: I'm in my 40s. When I was growing up playing ball as a kid, back in the '50s and '60s, it was rare that you had parental involvement. If my buddies and I played ball after school, we always just took the six or eight or 10 kids there, quickly divided into what we perceived as two equally strong teams and went about our business. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Good Sports Organized Games Can Build a Child's Self-Esteem, or They Can Generate Anxiety and Doubt. It All Depends on the Adults Involved
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.