The mission of The Promise of Good Sports is to enrich the lives of young athletes and their families through, community-based educational initiatives.
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Personal Foul: A Wrong Turn in Youth Sports
Each year 40 million boys and girls participate in youth sports programs on playing fields and inside gymnasiums across America. Roughly 100 million mothers and fathers also are involved as fans, coaches, officials, league organizers and team parents.
The youth sports experience offers a magnificent opportunity to teach life lessons, instill healthy values, and build stronger families and communities. Yet this opportunity is, to a great extent, being squandered.
Increasingly, the positive lessons traditionally associated with sports competition are being undermined by an obsession with winning and a steady diet of screaming coaches, unruly fans, and taunting athletes celebrated by professional leagues and the media.
The emphasis on being No. 1 and the fascination with "in-your-face" behavior is now reflected in our youth sports culture. Far too often, the spontaneous enjoyment and character-building benefits of youth sports are getting lost in a high-pressure, win-at-all-cost environment and increasing episodes of parental violence.
Clearly, we've dropped the ball in youth sports. But there is a way to address these problems. As a culture and as a society, we can minimize the negative influences and maximize the positive values and the educational potential of sports competition. To do this, we need the commitment, involvement and leadership of parents nationwide.
The Promise of Good Sports is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of young athletes and their families through community-based educational initiatives.
Youth sports represent the world's largest classroom. The sports experience provides young athletes with an opportunity to grow and develop as human beings, connect with teammates and opponents of different backgrounds, and strengthen their families, schools and communities.
Sports participation can teach valuable, life-lasting lessons about fair play, goal setting, hard work, responsibility, respect, and teamwork.. Through sports, our children can learn how to have fun, learn from their mistakes, and win and lose with grace and dignity.
Virtually every life skill necessary for success in today's world can be learned on the playing field. The challenge is to maximize this vast educational potential.
Targeting The Parents
Today's sports parents are not nearly as effective in supporting their kids, coaches, and sports programs as they should be. All too often, parental involvement consists of writing a check to a booster club or providing transportation, snacks and banners.
At the other end of the spectrum are overly intrusive parents. In recent years, as adult violence has become commonplace at youth sports venues, the main offenders typically have been out-of-control parents attacking coaches, officials, or other spectators. In addition to abusive behavior, there have been incidents of parents falsifying birth certificates to gain a competitive advantage and filing million-dollar lawsuits against school districts over a child being cut from a team.
Clearly, parents are part of the problem in youth sports. To effect positive change, they must become a main instrument of the solution. Parents have the most at stake in strengthening their families, schools and communities through sports. They also have the greatest opportunity to make an impact and ensure that sports participation is a positive influence in their child's life. They can--and should--be a primary vehicle to reach their children and help change society for the better.
Parents for Good Sports envisions a youth sports culture much different than the one we have today. One where children and parents get the most out of their sports experiences. One where winning isn't the only thing. One where opponents are not taunted or humiliated. One where the emphasis is on having fun and learning important life lessons from competition.
By educating and equipping a nationwide community of motivated sports parents supporting the development of athletes, coaches and fellow parents, we can reform youth sports and create a healthy environment that brings out the best in everyone--athletes, parents and coaches.
As a result, the youth sports experience will:
- Reinforce family values
- Build character in young athletes
- Strengthen community bonds
- Diminish the negative influence of pro sports behavior
- Promote respect for the game, coaches, opponents and officials
- Enhance communication and teamwork among coaches, parents and athletes
- Foster an understanding that there's more to sports than the scoreboard
- Teach children how to better manage their lives on and off the field
- Help children become good citizens both in sports and in life
- Help children make good choices about tobacco, drugs, alcohol and sex
The Blueprint for Change
PGS's mission is to develop a strong, nationwide corps of athlete, coach and parent leaders who will re-shape youth sports policies and practices throughout the country. We have created effective curriculum materials and dynamic programs to give athletes, coaches and parents the critical tools needed to realize this vision. And we are establishing the necessary partnerships with sports organizations, schools and communities throughout the country to provide the widespread distribution needed to effect societal change.
Our hands-on training programs are more than just cures for current ills. We provide a preventive, proactive model that uses athlete, coach and parent leaders, as vehicles to tap the positive potential in youth sports and achieve the best outcomes for young athletes and their families, schools and communities.
Through workshops, leadership forums, and published materials, we mobilize and train youth sports leaders to improve their leadership skills, assume constructive roles in guiding youth sports organizations, and become mentors in their communities.