ERIC Number: ED360267
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993
Overview of Youth Sports Programs in the United States.
Seefeldt, Vern; And Others
This overview focuses on two out of the six categories of organized youth sports; namely, agency-sponsored and interscholastic athletics. The discussion of the current status and proposed future direction of organized athletics for youth includes seven components of the problem: the role of youth sports in American culture; the role of athletic competition in youth development; education of youth sport coaches; injury prevention and safety in youth sports; patterns of participation and attrition in sports by adolescents; issues of gender in youth sports; and effectiveness of sports programs for adolescents. The discussion focuses on adolescents, especially those who live in high-risk environments. Programs that seem to be meeting specific objectives have been identified as a resource for those who seek models of effectiveness. Responses of youth to a survey about their experiences in organized sports are summarized. Among the findings are: progress toward true equality in sports opportunities regardless of gender has been made, but participation rates for boys continue to be much higher than those for girls; a commitment to provide progams for specific populations, such as low-income or minority groups, is absent from the mission, goals, and objectives of many national governing agencies; the potential benefits of competition are acknowledged, but whether these benefits are actually experienced by a significant number of participants depends largely on the quality of adult leadership; and competitive sports have the potential to produce negative effects, such as the disintegration of moral development. The paper concludes with 23 recommendations, divided among the following topics: Organization of Sports Programs (11 recommendations); Scheduling of Practice and Games (3 recommendations); Quality of Adult Leadership (9 recommendations). Three appendixes provide information on two publications ("Guidelines for Coaching Education: Youth Sports," and "Coaching Certification: A Position Paper") and an address list of representatives of national youth sports governing agencies. Contains 78 references. (AMH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, Washington, DC.