NYSS Listening Session Part 2: Current State of Youth Sports
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NYSS Listening Session Part 2: Current State of Youth Sports

>>Daniel Gould: Good morning. It’s great to be here. My name’s Dan Gould. Obviously, this is Maureen Weiss somewhere
behind me. We’re going to do sort of a tag-team approach
today, so one of us will be up; the other will come up. Hopefully, that’s not too awkward. As you can see and heard, our task is to discuss
the current state of youth sports. And what we really want to focus — like all
of us here, to help our country develop a national youth sports strategy. Beginning speakers clearly laid out that path. A strategy that promotes more kids involved
in youth sport. But the second point here is important as
well: a strategy that maximizes the benefits and minimizes the detriment. Just getting more kids to play sport won’t
necessarily solve the problem. There’s research that shows that some kids
don’t meet physical activity guidelines if it’s not coached well. So, those two need to go together. As was mentioned, there’s some challenges
— any time you try to do a big innovation like this. And the first is — Katrina mentioned how
do we define sport? What are the ages? We used to think 18 and under, but some of
the research on young adulthood says the brain’s not fully fused. Are they included? Structure. What about playing sport in a backyard? Versus do you need an organized competition? Scheduled practices? So, I think we need to operationalize that. Secondly, we need to understand the complemented
— complex and fragmented nature of youth sports in the USA. It’s almost impossible to get something to
everybody. There’s a baseball organization of baseball
organizations, and the national governing body in baseball has other organizations that
are not affiliated with them. It’s a very complex and fragmented system. It’s our system, and we have to deal with
it, but we just need to recognize that. Third, Maureen will cover this in a second. To see where to go in the future, maybe we
need to look at the past, and have a brief review of the history of youth sports in our
country. And finally, we need to look at the status
and — of youth sports in critical issues. Now, today, we use a variety of sources of
knowledge to put our presentation together. First, we used scholarly articles — research
articles, like one by Dunn, correlated the amount of money parents pay for sport and
the pressure kids feel and the enjoyment they get. With the more money parents paid, the more
kids felt pressured in youth sports. So, we looked at individual studies like that. Review articles, one that — I put a couple
of ours here, but we looked at many other authors, review articles in the area. Third, position papers. A variety of groups — the American Medical
Society for Sports Medicine looked at other countries. The Canadian Physical Literacy for Consensus
Statement on sports specialization. Concussions. Coaching. A variety of issues. Finally, we’ll have a speaker today from Project
Play — the Aspen Institute. Their whole scheme — Emily will talk about
how they’re trying to reimagine sport — youth sports. And they’ll talk about their eight plays,
or eight big strategies. We looked at that. And finally, our experience with our own partners. Mine, with the Detroit Police Athletic League. Maureen Weiss, with the Girls On the Run,
The First Tee. Various groups. What we learned from being in the trenches,
day to day, that you might not pick up in the research studies. Finally, I should mention — my day job is
I’m the director of the Institute for the Study of Youth sport. This is our 41st year of existence. We were started by the state legislature in
Michigan to scientifically study the benefits and detriments of sport for children and youth. And then, work with partners around the state
to maximize the benefits, minimize the detriments. So, that’s what we focus on. So, let me turn it over to Maureen, who will
talk now about the National Academy, and give us the history.>>Maureen White: Good morning. So, I’m here representing the National Academy
of Kinesiology, which is an organization of elected scholars who have leading contributions
to scientific research, educational applications in community outreach in sport as well as
physical activity. This includes the study of the social, psychological,
and physiological benefits of sport and physical activity, as well as efforts to reduce barriers
and health disparities faced by underrepresented youth. We published a journal, Kinesiology Review,
consisting of articles taking a multi-disciplinary approach to critical issues in sports, such
as the effects of early sport specialization and concussion management in sport. So, as Dan mentioned, it’s important to understand
where organized youth sports started from. The evolution goes back well over 100 years. And so, by looking at how views have changed
over time, it helps us understand where we are today, and the possibilities of making
a difference. So, the YMCA is here. The YMCA actually started before the 20th
century and was instrumental in promoting a philosophy called Muscular Christianity,
whereby organized sports served as a vehicle for socializing youth, especially immigrant
youth, into American life — primarily for boys. At the time, in the early 20th century, educators
in health, physical education, and recreation were denouncing competitive school sports,
critical of the over-emphasis on winning, inadequate coaching, and overzealous parents. And this led, actually, to the elimination
of inter-school athletic competitions in the early part of the 20th century. This provided the impetus for the emergence
of privately sponsored youth sport programs, like we have today. And at that time, the first ones to emerge
included organizations such as Little League Baseball, and Pop Warner Football. Well, the 1950s led to establishing the President’s
Council on Youth Fitness. By then, President Eisenhower — that was
prompted by scientific findings of very poor physical fitness among boys in preparing for
the military in the midst of the Cold War. JFK, of course, continued the impetus and
was very committed to the nation’s sport and fitness. And every other president, of course, has
followed suit, as we see here today. Of course, the council has changed names quite
a few times. When we look at race, gender, and the Special
Olympics, of all the privately sponsored youth sports programs, Little League Baseball, founded
in 1939, became the most popular among the American public, perhaps because baseball
has always been noted as the national pastime. However, Little League was primarily for white
boys, and did not even allow African American boys to play on integrated teams until passage
of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. And even in the South, African American boys
were still not afforded full access until the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement. This is quite remarkable because, as we know,
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947. Girls of all races and ethnicities were deprived
of participating in organized sports programs, and it wasn’t until 1974, two years after
passage of Title IX, that Little League was mandated to include girls through Supreme
Court mandate. I want to mention that former Senator Birch
Bayh, who championed and authored Title IX actually died three weeks ago today. And Title IX is a prime example of how the
government can make a difference in the area of youth sports. The Special Olympics, serving youth as well
as adults with intellectual disabilities was started as a camp in the early 1960s by Eunice
Kennedy Shriver, and just celebrated its 50th anniversary this international game, and has
been a champion of increasing physical activity among individuals with disabilities. So, the 1970s saw a surge in studies on the
effects of youth sport on health and well-being. As Dan mentioned, the state of Michigan legislative
studies led to the formation of the institute for the study of youth sports in 1978. Numerous conferences and workshops on the
social, psychological, and physiological effects of youth sports started emerging. For example, one by the American Orthopedics
Society for Sports Medicine in 1990. And this is the compendium of articles that
were produced as a result of that conference. AAHPERD, the American Alliance for Health,
Physical Education, and Dance, which was and still is the primary professional association
for sport and physical activity practitioners established this task force through the National
Association of Sport and Physical Education. And Rainer Martens and Vern Seefeldt drafted
the Bill of Rights for Youth Athletes. So, these Bill of Rights for Youth Athletes
were promoted exactly four years ago. And if you kind of scan through these Bill
of Rights, you can see that things like the right to have qualified adult leadership,
the right to play as a child and not as an adult, the right to participate in safe and
healthy environments, reflect the philosophy of youth sport participation compatible with
the very reason that we’re here today: to develop a strategy for youth sports that maximizes
the benefits and minimizes the barriers to youth sports participation. So, this might be a nice Bill of Rights to
kind of revisit for the draft report. Since the increased academic interest in youth
sports in the 1970s, numerous research and professional publications have emerged; there
are just too many to list. But Rainer Martens’s “Joy and Sadness in Children’s
Sport” in 1978 and Shane Murphy’s “The Cheers and the Tears” in 1999, have titles that reflect
the potential for both the benefits as well as the detriments of youth sports. It’s not an automatic consequence — the benefits
are not an automatic consequence of mere participation. So, in summary, that was a very brief historical
review. I based the information on noted sport historian,
David Wiggins. Important to understand. But clearly, there’s been a longstanding belief
that sport contributes to the healthy skill development and well-being of young people. There are massive numbers of youth playing
sport in an after school, and these youth vary in demographic characteristics: gender,
race, ethnicity, culture, and so forth. Most parents and caregivers are very supportive
and believe that sports can really help their children. And of course, our society places very great
value on — and sometimes an obsession, with the importance of sports to make a difference. Okay. Back to Dan. Oops, I’m sorry. [applause]>>Daniel Gould: We’ll be tag-teaming, so
you can hold the applause. And I won’t get any, so that’s another reason. [laughter] Let’s talk about, briefly, the benefits and
detriments of youth sport participation. This is something that’s been looked at in
the literature over the years. A number of review articles have looked at
it. And I’ve kind of broken it into two categories:
physical, or sort of skill benefits, and social and psychological benefits. And this is not a complete list. Just sort of an example here. But we have, under the physical side, fundamental
movements, skills, physical proficiency. Things that we’ve actually seen fallen off,
and why the Marines and the Army are very concerned that recruits don’t come in with
those basic skills. Increased physical activity and cardiovascular
and muscular fitness benefits. The physical activity guidelines talked — Russell
Pate and others will talk about those. Less body fat, lower risk of diabetes. Bone mineral content and density. So, we have a list of things of this nature. The social-psychological, just the sheer enjoyment
of sport. Perceived competence, confidence, self-esteem,
any of the aliases, have all been looked at through sport involvement. Social skills, teamwork, leadership. And then, various life skills, some of which
I’ve listed here. Now, that’s the good news. The bad news is there’s also been detriments
noted in the literature. And again, I broke it down into two general
categories. Acute injuries. Today, especially overuse injuries, are tied
to sports specialization. Bell [spelled phonetically] and others have
linked that in high school athletes. Concussions. Heat issues over the years. On the social-psychological side, some of
the potential detriments. Increased anxiety and stress of children by
being socially evaluated. And in some cases, leading to burnout. Secondly, decreased perceptions of competence
— so, opposite of the benefits. So, decreased motivations. Lowered levels of moral functioning. Some research shows the longer individuals
are in sport, the lower their level of moral functioning goes. So, the idea that sport builds character might
not always be the case. Benefits versus detriments. What’s the bottom line? Well, first, more reviewers conclude — if
you look at the literature, the benefits probably outweigh the detriments overall; however,
if you dig deeper, beneficial effects are not an automatic byproduct of participation,
that Maureen just outlined. And the third point’s probably the most important. Beneficial effects are more likely to occur
when intentional efforts are ensured for quality programming, quality coaching, and parent
and peer involvement. Studies that we have looked at, you amplify
the benefits with a caring relationship created by the coach. With better peer support, a motivational climate
that focuses on individual improvement versus outcome. So, these effects get amplified. The positive effects. So, the way we’re going to approach this today,
for the rest of the presentation, given that youth sports is a complex system, we thought
we probably needed to look at the literature and the guidelines perhaps that way. So, we took a very simple systems model. If we start at the individual level, what’s
happening with the child in sport? Physically, socially, psychologically. Then, we go to maybe the immediate sport environment. Maureen will talk about coaches, parents,
peers. And then, I’ll come back and talk about larger
cultural issues that might be involved. And social issues that have an influence. So, again, sort of a Bronfenbrenner’s ecological
model. A very simplified form. The way we’ll actually attack it, then — Maureen
will talk about the individual participation motives and outcome. She’ll then pivot into influence of significant
others and peers in the sport environment. And then, I’ll come back into cultural and
societal influences.>>Maureen Weiss: Perfect. See, this is a team sport as well. It’s tag-team. [laughter] So, this is going to be a very brief and quick
review of the literature on participation motivation, and then the role of coaches,
parents, and peers. So, the topic of participation motivation
addresses the reasons that children and adolescents state why they’re involved in sport and physical
activity. Understanding their motives for participation
is important so that we can best meet their needs and interests and keep them involved
in sport and physical activity. So, many descriptive studies in the 1980s
surveyed children and adolescents about why they participate. And some of the common reasons for participating
included proving skills, being with friends, and having fun, while reasons for dropping
out of sport included not having fun, not improving or being good enough, and disliking
the pressure. And many of these studies were done over those
years. The compilation of these studies, with youth
of varying age, gender, sport type, and nationality, could be sort of synthesized into three major
categories of participation motives. Children want to develop and demonstrate physical
competence, develop and affirm social relationships, and to experience enjoyment. Not just fun, but also choice and variety
of activities, as well as challenging but realistic goals. So, these reasons for participation motivation
strongly suggest that significant others in the sport environment should strive to enhance
feelings of competence, provide opportunity for autonomy or choice, promote positive social
relationships, and maximize enjoyment. And in one of the publications we did, we
took the first letter of each of those words highlighted in blue, and then we get the memorable
acronym of CARE, which is also very appropriate. How can we care for our young athletes and
keep them involved in sport and physical activity? If we put the puzzle pieces together of what
we know about youth motivation, we have here that supportive social environments can help
promote care. And as children, you know, enhance in these
areas, that should improve self-determined motivation, or having internal reasons for
being involved in sport. This should increase physical activity, and
of course, increased physical activity, as we know, will afford children in adolescence
the many holistic benefits that are available from participating in sport and physical activity. So, this is just a little visual to put all
of that together. So, the million-dollar question, of course,
is how can significant others in the sport environment promote care in the youth sport
setting? Feelings of competence, autonomy, relativeness,
and enjoyment. So, in the next series of slides, I’m going
to, very briefly, review what we know, and what some of the gaps are about how coaches,
parents, and peers strive to do this. And these are going to be just snapshots,
due to time. But we’ll be happy to answer questions later. So, coaches, of course, are critical. What do we know, and what do we need to know
about how coaches influence young people? So, a strong body of literature shows that
these particular mechanisms are critical for whether youth experience positive or negative
outcomes in sport: the quality of instruction, feedback, interactions, whether coaches emphasize
a mastery-oriented climate, which is based on improvement, mastering skills, or an eco-oriented
climate, in terms of favorable comparison to others, or winning. What are some of the gaps? Just a couple. One thing we need to answer: what are the
essential elements to coach training to ensure that these mechanisms are understood and translated
by volunteer coaches to the support setting? A second one is which coach programs work
successfully, based on evaluation research? And can these programs then serve as exemplars
for others? And we’re going to hear about many of these
programs today. So, lots of gaps, but we do have a strong
body of literature on what we do know. So, what about parents? Of course, parents and other caregivers provide
youth with their first experiences in sport by signing them up and transporting them. And over the last 25 years, the research on
parental influence has exploded. And what I’ve done is I’ve chosen to visualize
the influence through these major pathways. So, we know that parents’ values and beliefs,
such as to what degree do they value physical activity? What are their attitudes about sport ethics? What are their goal orientation? Their beliefs influence their behavior toward
and with their child. Their own activity level, whether they are
a parent-coach, what kind of opportunities, what kind of support. And so, parents’ beliefs and behaviors then
influence children’s beliefs and behaviors, such as children’s value toward being physically
active. Their own goal orientation. Gender beliefs. Are certain sports for boys, or for girls? And of course, participation rates and effort. So, we have a strong body of literature there. What are some of the gaps? One question is: can educational programs
or interventions be effective for helping parents become more supportive, and less pressuring
in youth sports? Fine line between support and pressure. How can we help parents feel that? A second one is we know a lot about traditional
mother-father middle-class families, but we have so many different variations of family
structures, and yet, we know very little about those other types of family structures, and
how that impacts children. If we move to peers, we know that classmates
and teammates are a huge source of influence for youth participants. What do we know? And what do we need to know? We know that social acceptance by one’s peer
group and having close, loyal friendships enhance feelings of belonging with in connection
to same-age peers that can translate to greater confidence, motivation, and actual physical
activity levels, as well as sport participation. Leadership opportunities for peers enhance
feelings of competence, and also participation rates. What are some of the gaps? What are some of the best ways for coaches
to create a positive, inclusive environment in which peers can accept and appreciate diversity
among teammates? A second one might be how can coaches design
practices to ensure that all youth feel a sense of connection to others? Feel a sense of psychological safety, and
thus, want to continue rather than discontinue their sport involvement? So, a brief summary. We know the quality of coaching, parenting,
and peer relationships play a strong role in the outcomes that children have. More research is needed for identifying the
mechanisms by which we can maximize the benefits and minimize barriers. And how can we improve the probability that
sport delivers on the promise of doing this? I want to move now — we’ve been talking generically
about youth sports programs. It’s already been mentioned that definition
is a problem. But we certainly know that there are what
we might call traditional performance-oriented programs, and ones that are more developmental
and emphasis. So, I want to turn to that now. We have a lack of many developmentally appropriate
sports programs with programs that emphasize more of a performance, ethic, and competitive
outcomes. And in these traditional programs, often,
children are treated as miniature adults, playing with adult equipment, and so forth. On an optimistic note, however, change is
on the horizon for many programs. USA Ice Hockey and the U.S. Tennis Association
have modified their structures to be more child-friendly. They have child-friendly equipment, smaller
playing surfaces, modified rules that maximize safety, and they started to de-emphasize competition. If we compare traditional and developmental
programs, it looks something like this: they differ in philosophy, holistic outcomes versus
performance, curricular focus, and physical and life skills versus physical skills and
competitive outcomes. They differ in coach training. And they differ in the intention to conduct
evaluation to see what’s working, what’s not working, and how can we improve the experiences
of our youth participants? HHS has asked me to talk a little bit about
Girls on the Run, which exemplifies a developmental program — more specifically, a positive youth
development program coach. Allison Riley is going to go into much more
detail about their coach training and recruitment, so I’m just going to give a big picture about
how it’s a developmental program, and a sampling of results from a longitudinal evaluation
of impact that we conducted just a couple of years ago. So, in line with being a developmental program,
they feature an intentional curriculum of skill-building activities. The Five Cs (+1) comes from Lerner’s child
development model. Life skills are emphasized, such as managing
emotions and resolving conflict. And activities in the curriculum are designed
to teach physical skills — the physical activities and running, and the life skills concurrently,
in order to maximize the holistic health outcomes that are the goals of the program. The systematic coach training focuses on three
major concepts: building positive relationships, a positive, inclusive environment, and creating
a mastery climate. And this circles back exactly to what we know
about effective coaching behaviors. So, the program has used the evidence base
to identify clear features of their coach training program. So, we conducted an independent study a few
years ago to determine the effectiveness of the program in attaining its goals. I’m going to just share a few results, because
we have a lot. We have a paper that’s published ahead of
print in “Pediatric Exercise Science.” But in the next series of slides, I’m going
to show a series of graphs about some outcomes for the full sample of girls in this study,
as well as girls who started below the preseason average. So, those girls that, perhaps, need a developmental
program the most. So, in this first graph — and the scale is
from one to four. This is self-report. So, for self-esteem, which was the assessment
for confidence, we can see that for the full sample, there is a significant but small improvement
in self-esteem, perhaps because the scores started out so high. But what we see with the girls who started
below the preseason average dramatically improve from pre- to post- season, and even at follow
up, three months later. This graph shows perceived classmate support,
which was the assessment for connection. And again, we see that there was significant
but smaller increase for the full sample. And this dramatic increase in perceptions
of classmate support by the girls who started below the preseason average. So, those girls who might be most at risk,
or most vulnerable to drop out. This one, of course, I’m most — I’m very
excited about. Physical activity. As was mentioned earlier, there’s not a lot
of data to show that sport has been successful in meeting the physical activity guidelines. This one we see, for the full sample, a pretty
stable high-rate between four and five days. This is on a number of days per week of doing
moderate activity for 60-minutes based on the YRBS from the CDC. But you can see for the girls who started
below the pre-season average, the increase from pre to post-season was 42 percent increase. And this was maintained three months later,
very exciting information. And then this last graph is from our comparison
of girls in Girls on the Run to a comparison group of girls who’ve never participated in
Girls on the Run. The large majority of them participated in
traditional sport programs. And this is life-skills learning, all of these
are significant differences with Girls on the Run reporting higher scores for life skills
learning. And not only are these statistically significant,
but they are large effect sizes, which means that they are meaningful differences as well. So, in conclusion, we used some rigorous methods
to evaluate the program. It required substantial human and financial
resources to pull it off. So, this is a preview of what I’m going to
ask the government to do. [laughter] But using those methods, we provided strong
evidence that the Girls on the Run is making a difference. It is effective in promoting positive youth
development. And we explain most of the positive findings
to the intentional skill-building curriculum and a systematic coach-training program. And these program components could serve as
exemplars for other programs that are similar to Girls on the Run. Okay, back to Dan.>>Daniel Gould: Okay. Let me turn to cultural and societal issues
now that Maureen just talked about individual-level issues and, sort of, the social, peer-environment,
coach-environment issues. What’s really affecting youth sports today? The first thing I’ll talk about is the professionalization
of youth sport. This is, sort of, a paradigm. And I think a lot of people in the real world
adopt that defined success is winning and receiving trophies and medals, attaining national
rankings, or there’s a lot of emphasis on chasing college scholarships today, athletic
scholarships. It’s often implicitly adopted by people. I sometimes think if I was a plumber where
I grew up in upstate New York and I had grandkids and I was coaching, I’d watch March Madness,
which is an elite — it’s a wonder — I love March Madness, but it’s a different venue. I’d learn how to work referees, get mad when
they don’t do it. I’d learn how to yell at my players sometimes. And then I’d start doing that at the youth-level. Hey, elite players, it’s a different ball
game. It’s a different approach than children. But I wouldn’t get that. What I see on TV is the professionalized model. So, they tend to model and adopt that at the
youth level. So, I think that’s important. And this model leads the focus on, and resources
given, to the most talented children. Some of the work I do at the National Wrestling
Coaches Association, they’re worried that a lot of high school coaches now are focusing
on two really talented kids and ignoring 20 or 30 that are less-talented. And roster sizes actually decrease. Premature early sports specialization and
intense training is a huge problem for us. Not only in terms of producing kids that can
have a healthy life, but also in terms of producing elite athletes. Heavy focus on talent development and competitive
success too early. Focus on external rewards, college scholarships
that I mentioned. And finally, increase stress and the potential
of burnout. So, there’s a professionalization issue. Another issue we need to know more about is
the business of youth sports. There was a TIME magazine article a couple
of years ago that talked about youth sports as a $15.3 billion industry. So, if Frederick, Maryland has a soccer tournament
and they bring 5,000 kids and their parents, they fill up hotel rooms. You know, travel, sports, there’s a whole
business, just buying equipment, there’s a whole business out there. Hey, this is the U.S., free enterprise isn’t
a bad thing. So, just because big business is involved
in sport doesn’t mean it’s bad. But it does lead, sometimes, to some unintended
consequences. For example, if I’m paying a coach, I probably
can expect more from that coach than if the coach is a mom or dad volunteering. And the youth sports industry, they worked
with a private data firm to get their numbers for the TIME article. But they reported a 55 percent increase in
the, sort of, market and the business of youth sports. So, somehow, we need to be dealing with that,
the pros and the cons. This leads to something that I think we’ve
talked about indirectly today. But what I call the haves and the have-nots
of youth sport. I live in a university community, Okemos,
Michigan. We’re the haves. Our kids have nice facilities and access,
safe places to play, they have the equipment available. I do a lot of work for the last ten years
with the Detroit Police Athletic League. And you go into some neighborhoods in Detroit,
it’s a much different situation, limited access to facilities, safety issues, either on the
field or you’re afraid to send your kid to walk there because of gang activity or other
kind of activity in the neighborhood, little equipment available. How do we, sort of, bridge those gaps? This has direct effects, some on the left,
just was mentioned at opening today, the cost to pay for play. We have data in Michigan from our high school
association that shows that when do pay for play, even though they have scholarships for
kids that can’t pay, the numbers go down. Equipment costs. Travel team costs. Indirect effects, I think, is the private
sectors picked up. There’s a tendency for the public sector to
spend less money on sport. Access to sports medicine personnel, trainers,
private coaching is happening quite regularly. The have-nots don’t have that access. And finally, it feeds into this whole professionalization
of youth sport model. And finally, Mo [spelled phonetically] mentioned
this a little bit, the lack of metrics to judge success beyond the scoreboard. Why wouldn’t you, if you watched youth sport
on TV, just think about success? Because that’s what we have. If you pick the paper up today, it gives you
outcome. It doesn’t give you character building or
fitness scores. We seldom track youth sport involvement. And a lot of agencies, especially in underserved
areas, the dire capacity in terms of staffing is really hard for them track the simplest
things. Seldom do programs access healthy physical
and psychosocial development. I’ll give you an example. We’ve made a great partnership with the Detroit
Police Athletic League. This organization in Detroit is focused on
building character in young people through athletic, academic, and leadership development
programs. You can see some of the goals here, produce
young people of high character with a sense of purpose who are healthy and engage in active
lifestyles. They give back to their community. And, obviously, work with the police give
the distrust often between the police and people in underserved communities. Now we’ve worked with them for about 10-years
in a partnership. And it’s been beneficial to both of us. We first started helping them develop a coaches’
education program that they train their 1,500 volunteer coaches with. We did program evaluation studies, some of
which led to publications. But more importantly, helped them show their
funders, they’re all funded about two point some-million a year through foundations, that
they were spending the money wisely. Equally important, they also saw where the
money was working and not working. So, they made adjustments. We helped them develop a team-up officer training
where a police officer mentors a youth sport team to try to have a better connection between
the police and the young people. Dr. Ramona Cox, with their staff, runs a great
girls leadership development program. We have a student doing her dissertation tied
to that. And what I’m most excited about is the last,
the internal program evaluation capacity. Now Detroit PAL, when we started with them,
they were called Think Detroit which had 2,000 kids. Then they merged with the PAL. Then they merged again, now they’re Detroit
PAL. But now they have 12,000 kids participating
in Detroit, 95 percent kids of color. When we started, they couldn’t tell you how
many kids they had because they merged. And one system counted a number of kids on
one software system, basketball did another. And they couldn’t tell what their retention
was or how many kids were in the program. So, we worked with them. They got with SalesForce, which is a major
platform, so now they can — I just put a general number. They have about 12,000 participants. Seventy-nine percent are eligible for free
and reduced lunch. Eighteen hundred and five volunteers. And what they do is internally, they track
their major values now. So, they have parents, coaches, and kids every
season do assessments of where they are on teamwork. These are Likert Scales that go to five. So, they score pretty well on — this was
2017, teamwork, leadership, discipline, responsibility, respect. So, they can tell you their retention. What I’m really excited about is looking at
dosage. If they can start tracking dosage, a kid that’s
in more activities with Detroit PAL overtime, are they less likely to be incarcerated? Are they more likely to stay in school? What’s their fitness with those nutrition
level? Okay. Let me pivot really quick because I have to
be aware of time. What can the government do? And this is from a person not in the government. So, I’m just going to wing-it. [laughter]>>Daniel Gould: The good news is I’m a few
years from retirement. So, I don’t have to live with the consequences. [laughter]>>Daniel Gould: But unfortunately, or fortunately,
depending on how you look at it, we have no ministry of sport. Most other major countries do, the U.K., Canada,
Australia. Little government monies are invested in youth
sports. There’s [sic] no funds, that I know of, for
educating coaches or parents. Little funding for conducting research on
critical issues or building capacity. So, as a researcher I’m not here just looking
for money. I’d like some [laughs] to do research. We need to build capacity in underserved communities. We need to build infrastructure in terms of
their staff and other type of things. You know, not beating around the bush, this
needs to change. The government people can figure it out. But we need to change it. Typical citizen come stir the pot and go home. [laughter]>>Daniel Gould: One thing, I think, would
be really essential is to appoint someone in Washington that is in charge of youth sports
and just thinks about it all day long every day. I say that because a number of years ago I
worked with the U.S. Olympic Committee when they were starting coaching education and
sports science. Nothing happened until governing bodies had
somebody in that body that was responsible, then things started to happen. To me, this person would keep current on issues
in youth sports. They work with other government agencies for
facilitating research, training, program to maximize safe and healthy involvement. We’re probably never going to have a Ministry
of Sport of Office of Sport, but work with all the other agencies to, perhaps, find money
that could make a difference. Help provide a coordinated national strategy. I think we had a great plan for doing that
today. Help facilitate involvement of private agencies. You know, again, it’s tough. Everybody comes to Washington and thinks there’s
just piles of money coming from the Mint that’s going to save everything. We got to have public-private partnerships. We’ve got to figure out how to do it efficiently. So, I don’t come here just saying, “Hey, just
give the money and solve all the problems.” It’s got to be figured out. Develop national youth sport policies. I give some examples. In my lifetime, Title IX has been one of the
most successful, still have a-ways to go, believe me, but we’ve made big gains. The Amateur Sport Act of 1978 and recently
The Safe Sport Act. One of the things, I think, we need to rethink
is what affect funded versus unfunded mandates have. For example, Title IX in, sort of, a backwards
way was funded. The old-boys would have never changed in the
era I grew up in if they weren’t afraid of losing all their Federal funding [laughs]. So, there were teeth in it. The Amateur Sport Act is an unfunded mandate,
at least the way I understand it, in the sense that it put the U.S. Olympic Committee in
charge of sport. There’s [sic] really good people at work in
the Olympic Committee. I’ve worked at the elite-level with them. But they have to raise all their own money
through individual donations and corporate donations. The way you do that is just like big universities
do, by winning championships and medals. So, most of their attention is focused on
winning medals so they can bring the money in to stay solvent. The grass-root programs, usually, are, sort
of, the leftovers in terms of time and effort. Finally, the Safe Sport Act is very important,
but obviously is also being criticized because of, I think, juvenile [unintelligible] — the
funds that came for it didn’t tie to being able to investigate. And there’s all these other Larry Nassar’s
around for, in other words, that we need to investigate and prevent to make sure kids
are safe. Finally, we need to move beyond public awareness
and relations to get in the game. And maybe get involved in programming, help
secure funding for programming public and private. And set up institutes, a dream I would have
in — like ours in each state or each region that would look after sport, perhaps, in that
region and be responsible for getting participation up or training coaches and parents. Working with existing agencies, a government
should consider funding activities like coach-parent education facilities development. And I’m going to transition real quickly to
Maureen to talk about some research funding.>>Maureen Weiss: Okay. As I mentioned earlier, and not just our research
with Girls on the Run, but critical youth sport issues require substantial human resources
and financial resources. These are just some of the critical youth
sport issues, many others, but I cited some that kind of collaborate between sport, physical
activity, cultural competence, life-skills, and so forth. Unfortunately, you know, private foundation
and corporation funding is often just inadequate to really get the rigorous research done. So, one of the things that I could see is
mechanisms for the government to provide opportunities for funding research. Another one is RFP’s targeted for sport-based
research. So, rarely have I ever seen something like
that or maybe never. So, for example, a few years ago NIH had an
RFP for reducing risk behaviors by promoting positive youth development. This was not sports-specific. But I do know people that submitted proposals
with physical inactivity in obesity as a risk behavior that could be addressed using positive
youth development programs. But if sport, not just physical activity,
or nutrition was targeted, there would be more critical research done. Dan talked about his collaboration with Detroit
PAL. I’ve worked with Girls on the Run and The
First Tee. And we have formed successful partnerships. The government could help foster more collaborations
between universities and youth sport agencies to help move us ahead. Well I know Russ Pate is going to talk more
about The National Physical Activity Plan, but I just want to point out that The National
Physical Activity Plan, even though sport is one of main sectors, all of the sectors
kind of circle back to our comment about a systems-approach. So, we can’t just effect sport participation
in the sport sector. It can be addressed in the schools, in the
faith-based settings, and so forth and so on. I do think I have looked at The National Physical
Activity Plan and they have many practical strategies and tactics that are realistic,
they’re concrete. They’re very, very good and a good start to
making change. The final one I want to talk about is developing
and making available a repository of resources for practitioners. Dan and I have both served on The Science
Board of the President’s Council in past years. In the past couple of years, I think that’s
been discontinued, maybe temporarily. And one of the things that we developed and
continued was this research digest. And the research digest consisted of short,
eight-page reviews on the sport topic that was distributed widely to schools and youth
organizations. And so, I highlighted — oops, I highlighted
the one that Dan did in 2013 on developing effective youth sport coaches. So, in eight pages, individuals can read up
on what are the important mechanisms. So, this is my plea to bring back the Science
Board in the research digest because it’s something that’s accessible, it’s available
and easy to do. Youth sport practitioners tell us they want
to consume the academic research, but they don’t have access to it like we do in the
universities with our libraries. So, it would be really good if the government
could help streamline or make available open access to certain research articles that youth
sport practitioners can have available to them and not have to pay. A directory of websites and contacts that
youth sports organizations, this can be universities, just websites of various organizations. FAQ sheets on youth sports issues could be
an even shorter version of the research digest. Then again, we want to get the information
out to youth sport practitioners on how they can make a difference with their curricula,
their coach training, and their evaluation of whether their program is making an impact
on outcomes as they desire. Back to Dan.>>Daniel Gould: Let me finish here with just
a few comments building off this knowledge-translation and then a quick summary. We need to engage more knowledge-translation
and translational science. I put this slide up, the classic research
of Ron Smith and Frank Small done in the late ’70s did interventions to show coaches who
are more positive and encouraging and less punitive, focused more on instruction and
training that was an intervention study found that the kids who played for those coaches
had higher self-esteem. They had lover attrition rates on the team,
all these positive effects. Forty years later, most youth sport coaches
don’t know the effects of the study. So, that tells us a big problem. How do we do this? We just recently had our 40th anniversary
conference at the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports. And we brought in some of the best researchers
in the world in to give summaries of the literature. And those summaries, for example we brought
someone from Canada in, how to make high school sport impactful, the role of parents, social
development, giving effective feedback. These are info-graphs that Dr. Jenny Noletha
[spelled phonetically] and our staff of students have worked on to condense those papers into
one-page or one screenshot. And there’s social media that we send out
and are trying to get to the people in the real world. Now, we’re pretty excited about this. We have about eight of them going. But that’s not enough. Sending some social media blast out is not
going to move the dial. But what’s great is, the federal government
— Re-Aims [spelled phonetically] has been around about 20-years, and NIH and others,
it’s a model for disseminating research and looking at REACH and other sorts of things. Jim Deering’s work on diffusion theory is
very interesting. Diffusion theory says most normal people don’t
use research to guide their daily living. They live in a social-system. And in that system, there’s certain respected
people, so, a respected youth sport coach in a league. If that coach, he or she, adopts it, the other
coaches follow. Deering’s work is sort of like targeted social
marketing. You get the right people doing the right things
everybody follows. So, example, March Madness, Tom Izzo does
something, a lot of basketball coaches are going to do it as opposed to sending them
a research report. That doesn’t mean we don’t need evidence-based
practice. So, that message is rarely important. It’s, “How do we translate it?” And in Canada, Nick Holt and his colleagues
they have a big federal grant there to do knowledge-to-action frameworks for knowledge
translation. They’re partnering with universities all over
Canada to do that. So, in summary we went a few minutes over,
but thanks to Katrina for giving us a few of her minutes so we’re still on time. We tried to cover the landscape of youth sports
here. Talked a little bit about the history, critical
issues, our thoughts, and what the government could do. I just want to stop, and I think I speak on
behalf of Maureen, to thank the government workers in the room for the hard work you
do. I know we’re not supposed to do that as citizens,
we’re supposed to just stay — you don’t do nice things, but this is really important
work. And it really — I’ve been involved in this
for 40-years and I’m excited that this could move the dial. This could really make a huge difference in
kids’ lives and it has huge implications as was said. The work we do with wrestling, the Marines
are really interested because they’re trying to get fit people that can enter the Marines,
especially women wrestlers, which is, by the way, the fastest growing segment in wrestling
is women’s wresting. And the Marines are very interested because
those women are the kind of people that can pass the physical requirements to do it and
the health costs. And most importantly, it can lead to better
lives for millions of people. So, thank you for all your efforts. [applause]>>Female Speaker: Well, thank you, Dan and
Maureen, for all that great information. It was very informative, thank you. So, I know we’ll have lots of questions. So, the way we’re going to do our questions
is, because the federal staff are actually gathering information and asking questions
to drive the development of the strategy, we’re going to ask them to ask questions first
for the first five minutes. And then the next 10 minutes of questions
will be open to the full audience. And we have two young ladies who have mics. So, when I point to you, they will give you
a mic. And we ask that you say your name and your
affiliation before you ask your question and, we do ask that you be concise. Okay? So, any questions? [inaudible comment] [laughter]>>Christopher Moore: How long did it take
you to –>>Female Speaker: Just say your name too,
and your affiliation.>>Christopher Moore: I’m sorry. I’m Chris Moore the CEO of U.S. Youth Soccer. I was just curious. You touched on the lack of data and insight
and having to, sort of, cobble together insights from many different organizations. How long did it take you in going through
that process? Because we struggle with the same thing.>>Daniel Gould: It’s tough, I think, especially
if you’re going at the underserved communities. The infrastructure there is just not what
it is in the middle-class communities. And it’s very, for example, our Detroit work,
when we were involved in doing the evaluations, I was afraid to do an intervention because
I wasn’t sure they had the staff to pull it off. So, I think first is trying to one, convince
the staff that evaluation’s important. And we did that. When we did our projects with them, they brought
all their funders in. And we went over the results and they saw
that they weren’t just happy sheets. They were like, “Here’s what we’re doing well. Here’s what we need to improve on.” And the funders were so impressed. They followed through. So, it was important. But there were also problems in convincing
the staff. A lot of the athletic directors didn’t want
to do it because they thought if they didn’t get good results their job would be affected. So, we had to do public relations. So, I think it’s setting a priority and then
working with the staff and understanding the conditions and then little baby steps at a
time and, sort of, moving forward.>>Maureen Weiss: Yeah, I would just add to
that and Dan touched on that. It all starts with building relationships
with, you know, between universities, you know, the academics and the youth sport organizations. And, in evaluation research, the internal
evaluations are important to the start to kind of get a feel for what’s going well and
what’s not and, kind of, be able to make those improvements, you know, in-house so to speak. Eventually, the third-party research, and
Dan alluded to this, and I know that with Girls on the Run and with The First Tee, the
third-party research resulted in more donations, funding, grants, and so forth, you know, whether
it’s from corporations or foundations because it’s an independent study, so eventually internal-to-external
evaluation. Key evaluation researchers say that organizations
should address three questions, “What? So What? and Now What?” [laughs] You know, what’s going well? So, what do we need to do? And now, where do we need to go? So, that’s been my experience and I’m very
grateful to Girls on the Run who’s here for their support, you know, the whole time.>>Rick Reinhold: Rick Reinhold, National
Institute of Health. So, a follow up question, and both of you
kind of addressed the attitudinal barriers to evaluations, the PRPs, but what about just
the people to do it? Because that’s something where, perhaps and
I presume this is what you did, Dan, is you brought students, you brought people. You didn’t ask the coaches and staff to collect
data. Or, talk about that please.>>Daniel Gould: Yeah. For our external studies we did with them,
our students collected the data. And we went down and did it. For their internal evaluations, they have
staff and they have interns now. And their interns go out and collected from
the children and the parents at events. So, they’ve imbedded it as part of, like,
the infrastructure. The athletic directors now know evaluation
is part of the program. Yeah. And actually, the example I gave before, they’re
really good people but they tend to be overworked and basically underpaid. But really connecting with the athletic directors
and why this was important and then, you know, trying to keep the data minimal. You know, versus — so it doesn’t take all
day to do and those type of things.>>Maureen Weiss: Yeah, I ended up needing
to recruit 10 former and current students to do all the data collection. And that was, like, you know, flying in long-distance. The issue with having coaches or maybe board
of directors people and so forth to collect for an external study, of course, is the validity
of the responses. Especially with eight to 11 12-year-olds,
you know, with the coaches administering the survey they want to please the coach. And so, that’s what makes the independent
external is making sure people who, you know, are an arm’s distance away. So, it makes it difficult. But with the funding that, of course, helps
solve that. Yeah, great question. Thank you.>>Female Speaker: Any other federal folks?>>Katrina Piercy: Katrina Piercy from the
Office of Disease Prevention Health Promotion. I actually — similar question to Rick, so
I’ll add a little bit of twist. I guess, seeing your comments and thinking
of the evaluation piece and thinking about the academic institutions across the country
that focus on sports, there’s not many. You two are representing two of them. But I wonder if this is maybe a suggestion,
seeing that some of this external research has brought more funding and things to programs
to think about if there is a local university there or there is research. Maybe is that a connection that isn’t made
in a lot of places, that may be a way to lift up on both sides for students to have an experience
and maybe to get the program itself to have some data collected? And then, you know, be able to disseminate
or lift-up. I’m wondering if that might be a suggestion
or a model, if you’ve done it well at your institutes, something for programs to think
about finding these places?>>Maureen Weiss: You know, one of the things
a lot of times, is some of the national organizations have more than 200 chapters or councils and
so forth. So yes, sometimes a local university may want
to do a study. One of the challenges with that is that it
might be a study on one council or one chapter that may not be representative of the larger
organization. Those are some of the barriers in research,
is having a representative sample of that. But your question about trying to foster collaboration
with local universities is a great one. And then encouraging, you know, that type
of — sort of representative research.>>Daniel Gould: I think the thing I would
add is you have to find the right people. Now, we’ve had a 10-year relationship with
Detroit PAL and we’re not an institute that’s flushed with money. But we haven’t been funded all those years. So, we made a commitment to them. And that’s huge because they know we’re there. And at big universities now, you’re there
when the grant’s there and then the grant’s gone and you’re gone. So, we’ve made a commitment to try to be with
them year in, year out. It’s been very advantageous for us. But it also takes a while to build trust. I know we did a coaching education seminar
and brought their staff up. And they’re primarily African American and
Hispanic, but mostly African American. And I remember one of — at the end of the
two-day session, we had to train these leaders, they said, “You know, I wasn’t sure when we
came up here we could learn anything from two white guys from East Lansing, but we learned
a lot.” But that told me something very important. You know, we kind of — first, it was we’re
from the middle class and now we’re going into the city and who the spokespeople are. You know, and there’s some issues that are
very practical that we need to consider. But to me, it’s the long-term trust and they
know we’re there for each other. And it’s hard, because when we don’t have
grants it’s coming out of our hides.>>Female Speaker: Next question. We’ll get you next, sir.>>Risa Isard: My name is Risa Isard, I’m the
Associate Director for Thought Leadership for KaBOOM. Thanks so much for your great presentation
and your work. You’ve focused a lot in this presentation,
it looks like the rest of the day too, will be really focused on what we might call, like,
the software of sports, the people, the programs, the curriculum. I’m wondering if you could give a brief overview
of, kind of, the hardware, right? Where are kids playing and who has access
to play spaces? And where the data is on that and why that
might be an important consideration for this sports strategy.>>Daniel Gould: Yeah, I think it’s a really
important consideration. And again, Emily from Project Play has a pretty
good handle on that. So, I think that could be a good source. But it’s a different world. I remember we did our evaluation of Detroit. We went to a rundown park at the time, because
it was still sort of a recessive time economically. And there were about 2,000 kids at a baseball
— you know, on the weekend, and part of our evaluation there was one porta potty for 2,000
people. And, you know, and the boys went behind a
tree, to be honest. But the girls, I wondered what they did. Our researchers had to drive to a gas station. I was brave enough to look in the one porta
potty and it said it should have been removed two weeks earlier. And that was because the park districts didn’t
have money, so there was some real ac — but they had fields, so that was an upside. The Wilson Foundation is doing some great
work in Detroit now. They’re doing some — they’re rolling out
a mobile, sort of, lab with equipment in some neighborhoods. Project Play is trying to get small places
to play. So that is, the actual where you play is really
critical in having spaces and the safety piece.>>Female Speaker: Okay, thank you.>>Lauren Darensbourg: Hi. I’m Lauren Darensbourg. –>>Female Speaker: Can you hold? Go ahead. Go ahead. This gentleman has been waiting to get in.>>Lauren Darensbourg: Lauren. So, should I go?>>Female Speaker: Can you wait?>>Daniel Gould: Go ahead, Lauren.>>Female Speaker: Okay, he deferred.>>Lauren Darensbourg: Hi, I’m Lauren Darensbourg. I’m with the President’s Council on Sports,
Fitness and Nutrition. So, you talked a lot about the benefits of
participation. I’m curious if you and your research have
a sense of if youth are actually aware of those benefits? Because you mentioned you know implicit — how
youth can be implicitly adapting to professionalism. Do you get a sense that they are also doing
that with the actual benefit of sports participation? And is that a way that we can motivate them
to participate?>>Daniel Gould: I’m not sure I understand
your question fully, but I guess one part I would say — one of the obstacles we have
is most coaches in America believe sport builds character and all these benefits whether you
do anything or not. So, you catch it versus teach it. So, a big thing in the educational piece is
you need to be intentional. You need to have a strategy to do these things
versus just — you might get some affect just showing up, but if I’m organized, I’m planful,
I’m going to get bigger effects. So, that’s something we focused on. The kids seem to respond pretty well. Yeah, sometimes they do a professionalization,
but most kids, especially at the young ages, they want to have fun, they want to be with
their friends, they want to learn the skill. So, we’ve had pretty good luck. And a lot of programs we’re doing now have
youth voice in it. And they bring up a lot of really good things
that really, really — I recommend all programs have an athlete — a young person advisory
council to give them input.>>Maureen Weiss: Thank you. I would just add to that, that the part that
I was presenting on the literature base. That’s evidence base using a multitude of
methods. Which could be focus groups, individual interviews,
surveys, observational methods like Smith and Small. And so, with those kinds of rigorous methods
we know those benefits are real. We also know some of the detriments are real. So, the professionalization part was more
of, kind of, at the culture level, yeah.>>Female Speaker: Okay, we’re going to take
one more question.>>Paul Caccamo: Okay, Dan and Maureen, that
was incredible. It was comprehensive. And I think a lot of practitioners on this
side of the room are going to echo a lot of what you said in terms of practice and what
our recommendations are. So, thank you. The, quick question, I’m Paul Caccamo from
Up2Us Sports, is we talked about gathering data on the demographics on the kids. What about the coaches? Do we know anything about whether or not having
a same gender coach has a greater impact as a credible messenger? Whether a coach is from the same community? Of same race? Do we know, have there been studies looking
at that?>>Maureen Weiss: Do you want to go first? Yeah, there is actually a literature piece
on that, too. Competence is the most important thing, I
think, you know, rather than gender. But there is often, you know, a modeling effect. So, like, with Girls on the Run, the head
coaches are women to help inspire the goals and so forth. And, oh, I kind of lost my train of thought
here [laughs]. I’ll give it over to Dan, but I was going
to say that having those competent characteristics and behaviors is most important. But there’s also the role modeling effect. Often times it’s very difficult to recruit
— recruiting women coaches is much harder than men coaches. It’s still that case. Anyway, I’m rambling now.>>Daniel Gould: I don’t — I wish there was
more literature on it. But I think, you know, we’ve got data that
the more coaches create caring climates the more affects you get. Again, there’s sort of a trust factor. A lot of kids in the inner city, like an adult
comes, and they don’t think the adult is coming back because adults in their life have been
so transient. So, sometimes it’s sort of being there. Or if you’re only there for a set amount time,
let them know that. So, I think, one thing we do at our institute
that I think that’s really paid off for us, before any project with any group, we do a
needs assessment. We find out what’s going on the ground, what
the coaches feel, do they want this? Because, a lot of times, the board will want
it but when you get on to the field the coaches don’t understand it or whatever, the parents. So, we try to get a needs assessment about
what they want, what their concerns are, and then work from there.>>Maureen Weiss: I was just going to add
one more thing. One of the unintended consequences of Title
IX is while, you know, participation of girls and women has exploded, the percentage of
women coaches dramatically declined. So that, especially at high school and college
levels. So, as girl’s sport became more important
and more viable financially, a very small percentage of women tend to be the head coaches
at high schools and colleges. So, that’s an interesting statistic that happened.>>Female Speaker: Okay, thank you Dan and
Maureen, for all that great information. [applause] I just want to make a note that if you have
a specific comment and you didn’t get a chance to ask it during this session, you can send
it via email to [email protected] We just ask that you identify which panel
your comment or question is affiliated with. Okay? So, right now, we’re going to take a 15-minute
— well, we’re going to take a break until 11:15 a.m. And as we said, there are restrooms in the
back, there are escorts to take you there. And we’ll see you at 11:15 a.m.

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