In response to Sentinel-Times comment “Why are fewer kids playing footy?” A reason not mentioned but often raised among parents is the “win at all cost” and elitist culture promoted by many sporting clubs.
I have experienced the results of this attitude though participation of my own children in local sport and am aware of several other families experiencing similar circumstances, which have influenced their children to opt out of sport.
Shouldn’t our priority be to encourage and develop player skills and lifelong enjoyment of sport? Central to this ideal is giving players the opportunity to actually play the game rather than spending the majority of games sitting on the bench, watching their most talented peers perform and receive all the accolades for their prowess.
Why do coaches so often persist in developing a select few players to the detriment of other team members who are destined to remain on the bench for extended periods?
The reason children play sport is to actually get on the field, or court, and be given opportunity to compete.
Do coaches consider a child’s emotional trauma and isolation, which accompanies being continually overlooked in these circumstances?
So often I have witnessed children and spoken to parents, who express disappointment and frustration that their child has become disillusioned with a particular sport due to spending excessive amounts of time not actually playing.
Until coaches and clubs prioritise development of all players above merely winning games of sport, I believe children will continue to seek alternate activities. Activities where they are afforded opportunity to flourish, develop and feel like a valued member of a team, as opposed to merely watching a select few continue to dominate and be set on a pedestal by clubs and overzealous coaches and parents eager to notch up another victory.
There are a select few winners in this scenario resulting in fewer juniors in which to develop our clubs and their continuing love of sport.
Adrian Condron, Wonthaggi.