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Let Them Be Kids

Let Them Be Kids

Researchers have written numerous papers, books, and given seminars on this subject. There is a natural order for children to grow. Ironically, it is called chaos! The only constant amongst children in sports and school is their age. They do just about everything differently, at different ages, and even at different times of the same day.

Dr Steinberg states that the plasticity of the children’s brains is at its peak for biological and social development. The prefrontal cortex is at its most malleable stage. What does that mean do you as a coach, parent, or teacher? It means that children’s propensity to take extra risks is heightened. They want a challenge. They naturally seek new and novel things to do and create.

I recently watched a coach berate the players on his bench during a lax game. I heard him criticize the play and players on the field. Yet, he did not take one kid out of the game. The reaction on the kids’ faces through their masks was priceless. In effect their body language said “why are you yelling at me? I didn’t do anything wrong.”  Did the coach put his “substitutes” in? Of course he did not.

Why is this important? The brain inside these athletes’ heads says to them that this is not fun. Many people will argue that the kid needs to learn his “role.” But if the male and female bodies don’t fully develop until the ages of 23, 24, and 25, there is real science that says the more the kids play the better they will get. The availability of opportunity is the single biggest reason for success.

Written by : Jennifer