Coaching from the sidelines

Coaches Corner by Dave Gleason

Coaching from the Sidelines?

“Youth sports are big business selling big dreams. And, the denial runs deep among sports parents.” At least, that’s the word from Aisha Sultan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in an article that is garnering national attention.

If your children are involved in sports, you’ve probably seen this denial. It usually manifests itself as an angry parent yelling at his young child from the sidelines. This scene has become so common that hardly anybody pays attention anymore. And that’s alarming.

It’s not just that these parents are a distraction. They can be downright dangerous. We’ve all heard stories of parents getting into physical altercations with other parents, referees, umpires, and coaches. Other times, it is more subtle. There is a reason why doctors have been reporting more and more overuse injuries in younger and younger athletes.

While the reason for increased parent “participation” isn’t entirely clear, it may have to do with the notion that big businesses, such as year round travel leagues, have effectively sold the idea that they can make any child into a college or professional sports star. This is a lie.

“The notion that you can train your child to become a college athlete is unrealistic,” says Mark Hyman, the author of “Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession with Youth Sports and How it Harms our Kids.” Realistically, the percentage of high school athletes who go on to play college sports is about 5 percent. Far fewer get full rides, and very few of those scholarship athletes even make it to the pros.

“Unfortunately, the real reasons to involve children in sports have been lost among many parents,” said Timothy Ward, Operations Manager of Athletic Revolution International, a rapidly growing youth fitness franchise organization.

Those reasons would include physical and mental health and development, teaching youngsters how to work as a team, and developing leadership skills that are valuable throughout life. A pipe dream of a big fat paycheck from a professional sports organization isn’t on that list.

“Athletic Revolution was founded on sound scientific principles of growth and development.  Children are not professional athletes, neither physically nor emotionally, so we shouldn’t treat or train them like they are,” said Dave Gleason, owner of Athletic Revolution in Pembroke. So, please, when it comes to youth sports, let kids be kids.


For more information on effective coaching or training for young athletes, contact Dave Gleason, the head coach of Athletic Revolution at 781-312-7808 or by email at

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