ERIC Number: ED209203
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
Focus on Interscholastic Sports and the Middle School.
McEwin, C. Kenneth
There is a case for and a case against interscholastic sports programs below the senior high school level. Typical of concerns expressed is the fear that children under the age of thirteen are not mature enough for contact sports and risk permanent bone and joint damage. There is agreement that children need vigorous activity, but controversy exists over whether the values and benefits of competitive sports are great enough to outweigh the hazards of physical injury and emotional damage. Many believe that permanent emotional harm can be caused through the creation of "heroes" and "failures." Overemphasis on winning interferes with the school's physical education program for all children, and existing sports programs are too often designed to please parents and other spectators. Individuals intensely involved in athletic programs in their early years may tire of these activities before they reach an age where their full potential can be realized. Coaches are often preoccupied with winning extramural games, to the detriment of the general physical education program for all students. Too often the middle school team may serve as a resource pool for the senior high varsity team, diminishing opportunities for all students except those with high ability for the sport. The nature of the majority of physical education and sports programs at the middle and junior high school levels reflects an alarming gap between what is known about the characteristics and needs of these students and actual practice. (JD)
Descriptors: Adolescents, Athletic Coaches, Competition, Extramural Athletics, Individual Development, Injuries, Junior High Schools, Middle Schools, Parent Aspiration, Program Evaluation, Social Behavior, Student Characteristics, Team Sports
Michigan Association of Middle School Educators, Michigan State University, Erickson Hall 406, East Lansing, MI 48824 ($2.00).
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Michigan Association of Middle School Educators, East Lansing.