Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Coaches, it's my view that the professionalization of instruction is ruining play and ruining childhood. 

With parents wanting "what's best for their child" and without the option of just sending the kid outside to play with other kids, they turn to adult professional teachers and instructors (of tennis, golf, baseball, basketball, chess, piano, you name it) to teach their kids how to play. What a bad joke. 

Now both parents and instructors are invested in the system, the professional instruction system. "I know I'm something of a car salesman, but I have a mortgage, a wife and two kids," said a local tennis professional to me. "I know this system sucks, but it only has to last about ten more years then I'll be done," said another.

Does the current system produce great players of these games, great athletes and musicians? Sure (see here). But all that excellence hides what is not seen.  All those who achieved greatness in this hyper-professional system stuck it out. What's not seen are the millions of kids who quit playing, because they weren't ever really playing. What's also not seen is the developmental damage done to children who grow up in a system where almost all play is structured and supervised by adults (lots of information on play and development here).

Kids who come to professional instructors are not coming to play. They are coming to work. Just like we are.

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