The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 21, 2000


Expert sheds light on role of coaches in youth sports

An inspiring talk on coaching sports was presented on Tuesday, April 11 at Concord-Carlisle High School by Art Taylor, director of youth sports at Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society. Taylor presented interesting views on how to improve the quality of children's sports programs.

Coaches, parents, and fans should realize that the most important thing in youth sports is that kids have fun and learn how to "win and lose with class," Taylor said. Coaches are teachers, mentors, protectors, and role modelsthey should focus on life skills as well as sports skills. Their challenge is to promote sportsmanship and ethics, and to encourage diversity and acceptance of all races and genders. More female coaches are needed, he pointed out.

Taylor said that, ideally, kids should be introduced to ten sports by the age of ten. Good activities for young children include swimming, running (try to make it fun), soccer, martial arts (for discipline), kickball, wiffle-ball and kite-flying. He suggested that students should not concentrate exclusively on one sport, which can cause burn-out or injuries. Taylor believes that traveling teams are unnecessary until the age of 12-14, when kids seek more competition. He pointed out that parents often put too much pressure on kids to play.

Only one in 50,000 high school athletes make it to the pro leagues. Taylor recommended that coaches encourage sports as a process instead of as a goal. Motivate a talented youth athlete by saying that, with practice, he/she might be able to play in college, and even be eligible for a scholarship.

For more information, call the sponsor of the talk, Center for Parents and Teachers, at 318-1510 ext.145.

Dan Scholten is a Carlisle parent who coaches recreational soccer.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito