So much has happened in recent years in the ever-changing world of sports parenting, that I thought I’d finish out 2011 with my Top Ten Predictions for the coming year. Here we go:
10. LL Baseball will follow the NCAA and the Nat’l HS Baseball Federation and allow only BBCOR (and of course wood) bats. No more BESR aluminum bats with their huge sweet spots and dangerous trampoline effects.
Problem is, this new rule, I predict, won’t go into effect until 2013 as the bat manufacturers still want to sell off their large inventory of BESR aluminum bats. As such, LL Baseball mandatory use of BBCOR won’t kick in until 2013.
9. Wood bats will stay remain quite popular with serious young ballplayers.
Let’s face it – any young man who dreams of someday playing pro ball (where only wood is used) will continue to use wood bats during the summer leagues and use BBCOR during HS games.
8. More and more travel teams will try and block their players from playing on their local HS team.
It’s cruel to force HS kids to make a choice between playing for their HS varsity or playing for their travel team, but we’re already seeing this happen with US Soccer Academy forcing soccer players to choose. Sadly, this pattern is only going to continue into the new year.
7. More and more states will enact stronger legislation that will control the over-the-counter sale of high-energy and high-caffeine drinks to kids.
There have already been a number of serious health issues in the news, especially with HS athletes drinking these unregulated sports drinks. Parents need to know that just because these drinks are packaged brightly and sold in stores does not mean that they are safe, or have been scrutinized by the Federal Drug Administration.
In short, too many of these drinks contain seriously dangerous elements link arsenic and lead, and can lead to all sorts of health isssues.
6. Refs, umps, and officials will be given more latitude to end lopsided games and keep sportsmanship in play.
We keep hearing about lopsided scores, and that the coaches don’t mind running up the score. Here’s hoping that if the coaches can’t control themselves, the refs and umps will step in, and once they see a rout is in progress, they allow the clock to run, and if necessary, just stop the game.
Nobody benefits from a lopsided score, and you always run the risk of bitter feelings and fights. So, let’s allow the refs and umps to use their power and do the right thing.
5. In order to help defray the rising cost of HS sports, kids will be charged a fee for trying out.
Hard to believe, but this is already happening in Minnesota, where some public HS’s are already charging varsity hopefuls $50 to try out for the team. This idea may sound outrageous, but it’s the kind of idea that will spread like wildfire.
4. More clarification will be forthcoming regarding boys competing against girls in traditional HS female-oriented sports.
Title IX is a wonderful law, but it was never supposed to be used as a way for 18-year-old boys to compete on the HS girls’ field hockey team, nor allow boys to compete on the HS girls’ swim team. The time has come for the federal govt. to step in and clarify the purpose of the law.
3. More and more coaches will undergo background checks.
In light of the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal, more and more youth leagues will insist that all coaches undergo background checks. This is good news, but unfortunately, only those individuals who have ever been convicted of such a crime will be caught. Parents, always use common sense when it comes to your young athletes and their coaches!
2. HS Codes of Conduct need to be bolstered in terms of cyberbullying.
We have discussed this many times on the show, and in 2012, we really need HS administrators, ADs, coaches and school boards to step up and strengthen the Code of Conduct for athletes regarding online behavior.
Kids still don’t understand how powerful the internet can be, or for that matter, how dangerous. And once something that is alarming or libelous is posted, it’s very difficult to take down once it goes viral.
1. Amazingly in 2012….kids will still love playing sports!
After all the tremendous pressure we put on our kids regarding sports – and I’m talking about the pressure that comes from Moms, Dads, coaches, travel teams, try outs, etc – it’s still amazing that our children love playing sports. But they do!
As such, in 2012, make yourself a promise that you will take a deep breath, take a step back, and will just allow your son or daughter to enjoy the moment of playing sports. If we all did that, it would make for a very healthy and happy new year for us all!