From their modest origins in the 1920s, out-of-school sport programs have become the dominant system of organized play for young people in the United States. Despite their widespread popularity, youth sport programs have not escaped considerable controversy and criticism. Frequently heard concerns include the overemphasis on winning, the psychological stress placed on the child, orthopedic injuries caused by excessive training and playing, overzealous parents, and the number of dropouts from such programs. Not surprisingly, such concerns have generated a spate of research which has helped to create an increasing awareness that, when it comes to organized sports for young people, “what the ball is doing to the child” is at least as important as “what the child is doing to the ball”.

Note on the Author

Paul Dubois is a professor of Physical Education at Bridgewater State College. He is currently a member of the Governor’s Committee on Physical Fitness and Sports.