Cover image for Just let the kids play : how to stop other adults from ruining your child's fun and success in youth sports
Just let the kids play : how to stop other adults from ruining your child's fun and success in youth sports
Bigelow, Bob, 1953-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Deerfield Beach, FL : Health Communications, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvi, 336 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV709.2 .B54 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
GV709.2 .B54 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



"Bob's message is a must for all parents and coaches. He challenges adults to understand their effect on youngsters, and that kids' needs have to be met first."
Bob Trupin, Westport, CT

This is not just another book touting improved sportsmanship and better coaching to remedy the violence in youth sports today. Just Let the Kids Play is the first book to identify the youth sports systems as the cause of the problem, and offers practical ways to rebuild them so they better serve the physical and emotional needs of children.

First-round NBA draft pick, part-time NBA scout and youth coach Bob Bigelow joins journalists Tom Moroney and Linda Hall to put youth sports under harsh review. They explain the controversial belief that elite traveling teams at young ages should be abolished and replaced with equal playing time, team parity and shortened seasons, among others. Focusing on soccer, basketball, baseball and hockey, they highlight ten programs nationwide where these principles are working, and offer ways to integrate them into existing programs without sacrificing a child's chances for success.

Soccer moms and hockey dads will discover that it really is possible to sleep in on Saturdays without sacrificing their child's future!

Author Notes

Bob Bigelow was a first-round draft pick who played four years in the NBA. He is a part-time NBA scout and a speaker nationwide
Tom Moroney is an award-winning journalist with The MetroWest Daily News and a radio commentator
Linda Hall is a writer whose stories have appeared in The Boston Globe

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The authors, who all have children of their own who have played youth sports, contend that children should compete in these programs to have fun and learn the basics of sports activities. However, as former NBA player Bigelow, journalist Tom Moroney, and writer and editor Linda Hall show, children often have difficulties enjoying themselves because organized sports programs emphasize winning at all costs. Many parents also apply a great deal of pressure on their own children to perform at a thletic levels beyond their abilities. The authors argue that both the parents and organizations that sponsor sports programs need to change their philosophy to allow children to enjoy themselves while participating in games. This unique book suggests ways to organize athletic programs to emphasize play rather than competition, stressing that younger children should become involved to have a good time. Only when they become older should they participate in more competitive programs. With practical tips on restructuring the sports programs themselves, this book will be invaluable for parents in preparing their children for organized sports. Recommended for all public libraries. Patrick Mahoney, Off Campus Lib. Services, Central Michigan Univ., Mount Pleasant (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One Youth Sports: There Must Be a Better Way At the start of a grueling season that doesn't seem to have an end, in the middle of a tirade between coach and players, at the end of a stressful car ride to a faraway gym, many parents wonder: "Am I doing the right thing?" Picture the typical youth sports game-a blur of motion and sound. Some parents are busy cheering or chatting among themselves. Others are prowling the sidelines. The prowlers mean business. These parents become field generals, barking orders and commanding their children to excel. In this world of high volume and hyperventilating, one parent stands out. You can hear him from the parking lot. "Mark your man," he screams to his little boy. Red-faced and nearly breathless, this father runs up and down the sidelines, keeping pace with every play. "See the ball," he growls. And this, his favorite one-liner from the "General Patton Does Soccer" playbook: "Stay within yourself!" The louder he screams, the more he seems to expect from his son. He is the reason his wife doesn't enjoy going to the games anymore. Today, as she listens to him bellow, she finally asks: "Do you think he even understands what you're telling him out there?" "Of course he does. I've been telling him this all year. Stay within yourself!'' the father shouts again. Just then, an opposing player steals the ball from his son, dribbles around him and heads straight toward the goal. Score! That pushes the father to the edge. As the boy walks off the field, the father makes a beeline for his son. "Why didn't you do what I told you to?" he yells. "Aren't you listening to me?" "I'm listening, Dad, but I don't know what you're talking about." Such is often the case in youth sports. There is a disconnect between what adults say versus what children want and need to hear. What adults want and need from youth sports is often not what children want and need. It's as though the adults and the children live in different worlds and speak different languages. More dramatic and disturbing examples of how far adults stray from their proper roles in youth sports occur every day-from assaults on coaches and officials to brawls among parents, even a fatal fight between two fathers. The damage is obvious, but the solutions harder to find. And that is where this book begins. The solutions to these problems, and the solution for the hyperventilating soccer dad, is not for the child to figure out how to fit into the adult's world, how to meet adult expectations. The solution is for the adults to look at youth sports through the eyes of the children, and to serve the wants and the needs of those children at play. This will require not only a change in adult attitudes, but changes in the sports systems themselves. I don't offer you this guidance lightly or without the credentials to back it up. I was a first-round draft pick and played in the National Basketball Association for four years, toe-to-toe and elbow-t Excerpted from Just Let the Kids Play: How to Stop Other Adults from Ruining Your Child's Fun and Success in Youth Sports by Bob Bigelow, Tom Moroney, Linda Hall All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Chapter 1 Youth Sports: There Must Be a Better Wayp. 1
Chapter 2 Elite Teams: The Unkindest Cuts of Allp. 33
Chapter 3 Out of Kilter: Why Adults Lose Controlp. 65
Chapter 4 Injuries: A Toll on Body and Soulp. 97
Chapter 5 Organizing Teams: Starting Off Rightp. 123
Chapter 6 Managing Games: Rules to Play Byp. 153
Chapter 7 Adapting the Games for Children: One Play at a Timep. 187
Chapter 8 The Politics of Youth Sports: Fighting for Changep. 217
Chapter 9 Success Stories: Ten Ideas to Inspire Youp. 249
Chapter 10 Going the Distance: Beyond Youth Sportsp. 281
Frequently Asked Questionsp. 309
Referencesp. 325
Resourcesp. 329
About the Authorsp. 335