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Perspective in Youth Sports Today

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As a teacher, former coach and elite level collegiate athlete (and father of two Division I scholarship athletes), I have been genuinely saddened by the loss of perspective in sports, especially youth sports, and the lack of understanding about how athletic success is achieved. What our young sports enthusiasts should be learning by going through this process and what they are learning are two different things. Intrinsic values like character, integrity, good sportsmanship, strong work ethics, priority-setting, commitment, and discipline, which were once thought of as cornerstones for young developing athletes (being tested and strengthened through their athletic experiences), have given way to athletes avoiding responsibility by blaming others for athletic shortcomings and valuing materialistic short-term motivations like scholarships, fame, fortune and the idea of “winning at all costs” as their primary reasons for sport participation. Obstacles that were once viewed as a means to test one's metal and develop one's perseverence are now looked at as being unfair, excessive, and unreasonable. Instead of taking legitimate personal responsibility to overcome a stumbling block, athletes are opting to either give up, give excuses, or find shortcuts to athletic success.

You need not look any further than our elite level and professional athletes in order to see the end result of these attitudes (exemplified by the recent release of the Mitchell Report regarding the steroid scandal in major league baseball). Poor examples abound in sports at this level, and it certainly is not moving toward a state of improvement—at least not yet.

That is a major reason behind the development of my blog The Athlete's Sports Experience: Making a Difference and my new book Becoming a True Champion: A Handbook for Young Athletes Aiming for Greatness (currently seeking publication). The book is written from the athlete’s perspective and, along with the blog, centers its discussion on making a real difference for young athletes, and their parents.

I plan to add blog entries on my feelings, impressions, experiences, and anything else that seems relative to youth sports and athletics here at MomsTeam and on my personal blog. Please feel free to comment on the various subjects I present and/or visit my website listed above in order to gain more insight on the athletic principles and life lessons I promote and support.


Kirk Mango
Becoming a True Champion

PS – There is a link on the main page of my website for those interested in being notified about my book's publication. This is a private email list that will only be used for communication regarding Becoming a True Champion.