Excerpts from an interesting read at The New York Times
How did the United States become the world’s sports superpower while
producing such a physically inactive population? What contribution, if
any, did our sports ecosystem play in producing these seemingly opposite
outcomes? And, has any nation figured out a more effective model?..
[Norway's] Children’s Rights in Sport
is a document unlike any other in the world, a declaration that
underpins its whole sports ecosystem. Introduced in 1987 and updated in
2007 by the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation
of Sports, the eight-page statement describes the type of experience
that every child in the country must be provided, from safe training
environments to activities that facilitate friendships.
statement places a high value on the voices of youth. Children “must be
granted opportunities to participate in planning and execution of their
own sport activities,” according to the document. They may “decide for
themselves how much they would like to train,” and can even opt out of
games if they just want to practice.
Want to transfer clubs in midseason? Go ahead, no penalty. Suit up with a rival club next week, if you wish.
Woah... But there's more...
No national championships before age 13. No regional championships before age 11, or even publication of game scores or rankings...
But in the anything-goes world of youth sports, [the United States has] second-grade AAU
national championships, $3,000-a-year club fees and hordes of
unlicensed trainers ready to assist in the chase for playing time. Youth
sports are now a $16 billion industry bankrolled by parents..
[In Norway] families don’t need to chase athletic scholarships because college, like health care for youth, is free.
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