Sports Commentary: Your Kid's Not a Pro


By WSIL Sports

WSIL -- Sports Director Darren Kinnard believes parents are a major problem in youth sports today.

Here's the text of his weekly commentary that aired Thursday night.


Now that the weather is mostly cooperating, the boys and girls of summer are taking to the fields in communities throughout the region.

As we start another season of youth baseball and softball, I'd like to take a minute to talk about your kids.

They're not professionals, and they're not going to be, at least 99.9 percent of them won't be--so quit treating them like they are.

The sooner overzealous parents and the Tony LaRussa wanna be coaches figure that out, then maybe summers can get back to what they used to be about--fun and learning the game.

If you're offended, then you're likely an offender.

Many will sit back and say that's not me, but would your kids have that same opinion?

Last year, a study done at Michigan State asked 10,000 kids nationwide ages 5-14 different questions about youth sports.

About 2/3 said they played to be with friends.

71% did not care if score was kept or not.

Only 20% wanted to improve their skill.

Nearly 40% wished no parents would watch them play...that's just sad.

In another informal study spanning three decades, college athletes were asked what was the worst part about youth sports?

The overwhelming answer was "the ride home".

There is nothing quite like watching your kids succeed, and certainly nobody wants to see their kids fail, but yelling at them from the stands is not going to help.

Coaching them up on the way home won't either.

I know--because I've been guilty of it.

3/4 of all kids playing youth sports will quit by the age of 13.

There are various reasons, but the biggest is they're burned out or turned off of the sport.  Again, that's sad.


For some, it only gets worse.

Just recently at a high school game I was covering, a kid hit a homerun.  I overheard this kid's mother say that despite the big hit, her kid was still going to get a chewing because of some mistakes made earlier in the game.  What a fantastic opportunity missed--an opportunity to talk about how perseverance pays off, even when you've not had your best day.  Those are the lessons to be taught, not that you're disappointed they weren't perfect.  Let the coaches coach.

I'm certainly not saying we should have ice cream in the dugouts and sing happy songs while we hand out trophies after the game.

I am not one of these trophies for all people.  That's not the way real life works.

Youth sports teach kids about teamwork, authority, and provide an opportunity to build memories for a lifetime.

Youth sports are not about standings and championships, but they do teach valuable lessons about winning and losing.

As a parent, when you blame the umps or the coach and demand perfection from your kid--what are you teaching?

Whether you're a Cardinals' fan or not, I highly recommend the Matheny Manifesto and the manager's blog on

It's a fantastic resource for youth coaches and parents alike.

I can attest that time really does fly as you watch your kids grow up, including playing sports.  Enjoy it, and more importantly let them enjoy it.  If you don't, that time at the park may end sooner than you expect or want, and you'll have nobody to blame but yourself.


I'm Darren Kinnard...these views are mine and not necessarily those of WSIL.

We'd like you to weigh on today's sure to go our Facebook page and tell us what you think.



Matheny Manifesto:

Manager's Blog:

Michigan St. Study on Youth Sports:

Odds of playing NCAA or Going Pro:




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