Life360 Inc.


When Are Competitive Sports Dangerous for Kids?

competitive_sports_dangerousWe’ve all been to a kid’s soccer game and seen the parents who take it too seriously. They’re like cliches out of bad movies, and yet, they scream and yell inappropriately from the sideline, unaware that they’re making the whole experience less fun for spectators and the athletes. But what factors contribute to these parents taking sports too seriously?

According to Mark Hyman, author of Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids, it’s the dreams of professional athletic glory and college scholarships, as well as parents living vicariously through their kids. These parents push their kids to the point where sports are doing more harm than good. The American Academy of Pediatrics says there is also a rising trend of sports injuries, thanks to pressures of year-round sports seasons. The group recommends that young athletes take at least one or two days off from playing, practicing, and training each week, and that each child should only play one sport per season.

All in all, it’s perhaps not so bad being that loud, raucous parent cheering on the sideline — as long as the enthusiasm doesn’t translate into unsurmountable and dangerous athletic pressures for your child.

How do know when competitive sports are too competitive? Where do you draw that line?

From Strollerderby. Photo by K.W. Sanders.

11 Responses to “When Are Competitive Sports Dangerous for Kids?”

  1. shen

    i feel like even the soccer teams who may very well be friendly and fun can be too much for a child (and parent!). some of my daughter's friends have practice twice a week, and games every weekend. that seems like a huge commitment of time and energy. then there is no time for anything else. my daughter's school has an intraschool, coed basketball league. they don't even keep score at the games. it's a lot of fun, and the kids don't have to be superstars to play.

  2. Dixie

    FYI: Only about 1 in 13,000 high school athletes go on to play professionally.

  3. Tiffany Pettey

    i think its dangerous when the kids are extremely aggressive and also the parents are those types that push their kids too hard which stresses the kids out and they tend to lose focus maybe causing injury

  4. Jay

    If the parents are pushing too hard, then yes, I think it is starting to become dangerous. The question is, what is too hard? I believe that if the child doesn't want to be pushed any further, then that's when it gets too far.

  5. Beth Warren

    I draw the line when the parents and coach care more about winning than about the kids having fun. My brother used to do travel soccer but quit because the parents got so overinvolved and cared only about winning – they only wanted the best players to play and wanted the not as good players to get benched more. It ended up hurting kids self-esteem. I think that's when you draw the line (before it gets that bad). He never did competitive sports in high school and I wonder if it was due to his earlier experiences.

  6. Haidy

    May be because I have girls, it does not really come to me that they could be competitive athletes in sports like soccer. Kids should play for the purpose of playing and having fun and when talent is there, it will rise and shine.

  7. Barbara

    I do not think that sports, though competitive, can be dangerous for children, especially beliefs depend on the coaches and athletic trainers.

  8. Refugia Drummey

    Naturally I like your website, however you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very silly to inform you. On the other hand Ill surely come back again!


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)