Here is my response to a coach’s complaint about my equal play for all kids pre puberty. He believes in shortening the bench in some cases for 10 year olds.
Let’s be clear here, just because something like this is being done doesn’t mean it is right and should keep being done. Have you followed our political elections and system lately? That doesn’t seem right to me at all!
Medical science says puberty changes everything, so anything before 13 should be about development, both mental and physical. You are only giving a child a head start to a race that does not exist. Also, why are you putting a value on their play? They are just children.
 85% of all people who lose their jobs except for massive layoffs lose them because they don’t get along with other employees. Let’s teach them life skills. 70% of these kids who play youth sports at the age of 10 are quitting by the time they are 13.  There are 2 to 8 times more injuries for children who play one sport year round.
 When did we start teaching to the few at the expense of many? So an answer is to keep doing more of this, this way? Why are we adulting kids? Let them play and have fun. I was told by a coach who did not play a child in a blow out championship game that the child told him it was the most fun he had. That was very sad to me. Wonder what he says 10 years from now?
 Just because they are getting drafted to an “elite” team or are on a prospect list doesn’t mean they are going to good at 18. Only about 10% of the kids who are the best at the age of 12 are the best at the age of 18. Let’s follow these kids and see where they end up 10 years from now! We have and the results are not pretty.
 Most colleges have 20 year old freshmen playing hockey. Where are these kids that were on the list back then when they were 10 years old? The human body doesn’t develop fully until 22.23.24 and mentally about 27 and 28. Why are we trying to microwave development when it should be slow cooked? PLAY FOR FUN!
There are only so many scholarships to DI programs in hockey *(18) and over 60 DI college hockey programs with 25 players on each roster. There are only 700 players in the NHL, however when you deduct the 60 goalies its only 640 skaters and 60 goalies,  I have yet to hear of a goalie leaving the net and playing forward in the NHL or a defenseman changing positions to play goal.
The average career life of a professional athlete is 4.3 years with an average salary of $80K.Only 1% of ALL the children that go to a 4 year college play at the DI level and half of the 1% play for free, so I ask you how is it even remotely possible that so many kids being drafted onto elite teams are making it?
The average DI scholarship is $10,780 a year, so the cost spent on playing travel youth sports is not made back by the people spending it in most cases. There are 77 times as many non athletic scholarships as there are athletic ones for college. 25% of the children going to college get some kind of non athletic financial aid while only 1% gets athletic financial aid.
Ryan Callahan, Brian Gionta, Wayne Wilson (NCAA DI coach of the year 2010), Terry Gurnett Women’s D3 Soccer coach of the decade, Dr. Mike Maloney nationally known Orthopedic Sports Surgeon and Director at URMC Medical Center, Dr. Tom McInerney President of the Academy of Pediatricians, Andy Duncan CEO of Orthopedics and Rehab at University of Florida, Corey McAdam All American basketball player at Nazareth college, Phil Steckley a Certified Athletic trainer, Sue Moak an Elementary Physical Education teacher for 10 years, Katie Spring an elementary Education teacher for 10 years, and a mother of two children who went through youth sport with her kids, myself, and many others are trying to put some medical facts behind the decisions made for children playing youth sports.
They ALL agree that it should be equal play for kids’ pre puberty. They all agree that we should be not specializing in one sport for our kids and we should be ramping down the pressure on these kids.
It is unhealthy for a child, and these are children, not mini adults or micro professional athletes attached to adults personal joy sticks, to play for anything but fun prepuberty. 3.5 MILLION Kids went to the hospital last year for overuse injuries in the USA. $1.2 billion was spent on overuse injuries to kids.
Go to my website frozenshorts.com and watch video after video from many experts in their field and you will see that parents, children, and organizations are chasing a dream that is equivalent to chasing the lottery for success.
The farther you go up the ladder the better teammate you have to be. Then there is luck and timing. These children are going to be adults for the next 50 years of their lives and how are they going to react with this hangover when things don’t work out.
I’m a huge believer in choice but let’s make sure we have all the facts before we make choices for our children that are going to shape and impact their lives for the next 50 years.
As a college hockey coach for 21 years I can tell you and Wayne Wilson will agree, that there are no more hidden talents. If you are good college coaches will find you. It’s 80% of our job.
Only 20% of the coaches have any kind of formal training in youth sports and yet somehow they and the parents are deciding what is best for the children? They are learning coaching techniques by watching D 1 and professional level coaches’ coach. There is no correlation to the way those professional coaches coach to the way you should be coaching kids.
 The same people that have $$ invested or are making $$ and status on the journey through childhood playing youth and high school sports are the ones calling the shots?
 I see this as a conflict of interest.

 

As a parent, have you witnessed your older sibling fighting with a younger sibling? Have you seen the older one take something away from the younger one? We need to teach them how to get along better with a sense of community. The competitiveness is already there.