03 May 2019

Youth sports: Norway vs. U.S.

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.

The 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.
Via Neatorama.

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