The Adulteration of Children's Sports explores current behavioral and physiological research about how children's organized sport has changed; how adults' goals and needs are at the heart of those changes; and the consequences of those changes on children's enjoyment of sport and on their autonomy, creativity, and moral reasoning outside of sport. Adult introduction of early competition, extrinsic rewards, early sport specialization, and year-round participation has thwarted children's intrinsic motivation and contributed to children's attrition from sport. Kristi Erdal explores concerns about the future of sport itself, as adult-mediated selection practices whittle down young athletes earlier on shakier criteria. Parents' and coaches' complicity in these practices, however, is based on intermediaries poorly interpreting (or ignoring) the research literature. Thus, the final chapters of this book are about translating the research into applied ideas for change. Erdal provides an essential introduction to evidence-based research about children's health and well-being in sport and debunks myths along the way. Adults built the problems compiled in this text. We can dismantle them as well.
About the Author
Kristi Erdal is professor of psychology and chair of the Human Biology and Kinesiology Department at Colorado College.