How to fix youth sports

Listen 48:56

Guests: Beth Devine, Travis Dorsch, Tom Farrey

Participation in youth sports is declining, particularly among low-income children, who are about half as likely to play organized sports as higher income kids. The cost of playing (clubs, travel, and equipment), access to good programs and facilities, and the intensity needed to compete these days are all part of the reasons so many children are shut out. But there are also pitfalls for kids who are able to compete. These include pressure to excel, time commitments, and injuries. This hour, we’ll talk about why fewer kids are playing, the equity gap, and the professionalization of youth sports. We’ll also discuss over-involved parents, crazy coaches, and how we can make kids sports fun again. We begin with BETH DEVINE, executive director of the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative. She’s leading a new initiative, Game On Philly!, which is working on creating more accessible, quality youth sports programs in the city. Then, Utah State professor and sports psychologist TRAVIS DORSCH offers advice on how parents can support their children on the field and in the game. Finally, TOM FARREY, executive director of Sports& Society Program at Aspen Institute, discusses how to fix youth sports and why playing is so important for kids.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal