Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Plagefille

Sports and Playing a Grade "behind"

Recommended Posts

What are your thoughts on kids playing city/recreation level sports by grade when the kid was held back a year?

My DS had a game this week where the opposing team had a kid, who going by age, would be a grade level above all the other kids. This kid does not have a summer birthday, but a January birthday. He is 1 1/2 years older than multiple boys on our team. I know his birthday and age, but no one could seem to confirm his grade, he goes to a Montessori School with combined grades. So he may or may not be held back a year. The boy is already hitting puberty, when most of the other kids look like little boys still. I estimate he weighs 2 1/2 times what my DS weighs. Besides being older, this kid is big for his age. He is bigger than many of the boys my DDs age, and she is a year older than him.

Many people were like, it's rec league, it's not a not a big deal. But I think, yeah it's rec league, the kids shouldn't be getting knocked over by a kid twice their size because he is 1 1/2 years older. Yes, my crazy DS took multiple charges from this older kid.

My DH and I couldn't really decide on how issues like this should be handled. IF he HAS really been held back a year in school than should he play with his grade because that is how the league is organized? Or should it be changed to go by birthdays? 

I

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's a frustrating situation, but I don't think either solution would satisfy a desire for an equal playing field.  I think it's one of those situations where the parents should be talked to and see if they would like to move their kid up a level.  But even then, having a kid big for their age is going to look out of place.

DS plays training hockey with 5-9/10yos.  You want to talk about uneven! 😄 The bigger kids are literally twice the size of the smaller ones.  The coaches try to rig the teams so that in rotation the bigger kids go against biggers, smallers against smalls, but it doesn't always work out that way.  At this point things are what they are and it's a good lesson for the bigger ones to dial it back some when a 3ft0 is trying to play against them. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be more generous in your thinking. I have a son who is 10 years old, 5'6" tall and over 150lbs. He is not a great athlete, heck he isn't even a good athlete. Where should he play? I am sure it is not easy to be the kid who is held back in school. 

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never heard of a sports league (including rec level) that allows kids to not play with their age mates. I would assume that will sort itself out by middle school. 

The kid's size needs to be totally removed from the equation; that variation is normal. 

That said, safety should always come first. There is no room at any level for knocking over other players or charging --I assume they are in elementary? I would definitely bring the roughness up to the coach--they have a responsibility to keep the kids safe and to promote fair play. But again, the kid's size needs to be kept out of it. 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many leagues here go by grade and holding kids back for sports is common. So yes there can be a 4th grader who is eleven during basketball season playing against nine year olds. 

It always bugged me but wasn’t really anything to be done if that was how the leagues were formed. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's no way to make sports fair. I find studies of sports with age cutoffs interesting; consistently, kids whose birthdays fall right after the cutoff rise to the top. Oh, there's an occasional outlier whose birthday is eleven months after the cutoff, but the vast majority of stars have birthdays within the first three months after the cutoff--i.e. they're the oldest in the division.

I've redshirted my summer birthday boys for school because they need the extra developmental time. When they compete in sports we follow whatever the rules are for the organization; sometimes that is age and sometimes it is grade.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My DS played on agrade based basketball league when he was in 4th grade. (Rural area with very small towns and not many kids)  He has a summer birthday and is next to the youngest kid in his grade. There was a boy in his grade who is almost 2 full years older than him, and several kids a full year older. Safety was never an issues, but skill level was. He did not have the skill level of the older boys, and the coaches focus was on the older boys who were better players. My DS did not wast to participate the next year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What we suggested to the league officials for bball was using age.  We had the situation of 2nd-3rd grade bball with a redshirted 3rd grader who was a foot and a half taller than anyone. and very old for grade due to the early summer birthday and redshirt.  She refused to pass, so every game was just watching her dribble and knock people over while her mother yelled at her to be more aggressive.  She didn't do practice, as her travel team met at that time, so it ended up that the rec team would scrimmage during the later half of the season, and folks just stopped wasting their family time coming to the league game. So it was 2 coaches' kids, her, and 2 random players for the official game.  We didn't return to that league. Personally I don't think rec league is a place that should allow travel team members to dominate.

Edited by HeighHo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With a large size difference, that would be hard. But I know our city is very particular about going by grade and not age. I think there ought to be a balance between the two.

My 2nd grader was held back a year and he's playing basketball this year. But he's smallish for his age and still nowhere near being one of of the bigger kids in the team. If he were playing on the 3rd/4th grade teams this year, he'd be the one getting knocked around.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

What we suggested to the league officials for bball was using age.  We had the situation of 2nd-3rd grade bball with a redshirted 3rd grader who was a foot and a half taller than anyone. and very old for grade due to the early summer birthday and redshirt.  She refused to pass, so every game was just watching her dribble and knock people over while her mother yelled at her to be more aggressive.  She didn't do practice, as her travel team met at that time, so it ended up that the rec team would scrimmage during the later half of the season, and folks just stopped wasting their family time coming to the league game. So it was 2 coaches' kids, her, and 2 random players for the official game.  We didn't return to that league.

Age won't solve that. My kid is one of the younger kids and a foot or more taller. That's just bad behavior, coaching, management.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with others that there's no way to make this perfectly right. I think, in a rec league, it would be a little bit loose. It's not fair for a "big" kid with more maturity and skills to play with the younger kids. But it's also not fair for a "big" kid who is newer to a sport or overall less mature to be stuck on a team with all kids who are a grade above and who have more skills than them. 

Ideally, parents and leaders in rec league would be sensitive to the needs of other kids as well as their own. Doesn't always happen, I know. Some parents are keen for little Johnny to have an excellent time mowing down all the other kids on the field. Bah. And then that can ruin things for little Timmy, who is the same age, but doesn't have the skills or wherewithal to do the same.

I think travel teams and more serious teams have to have hard and fast age rules, even when they hurt some kids. It's not totally fair either, but being pretty strict about it is what they're there for. Rec teams are different.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and lots of parents make assumptions about age based on size. Assumptions are just that. You don't know how many times I have heard parents on the sidelines complain that "there is no way that kid is" 8 or 9 or 10 or fill in the blank. 

And, in elementary school, size is not typically an asset. The smaller kids are usually quicker, faster, more agile. The really big kids tend to be awkward and clumsy. You can't tell much about athletic ability in boys especially until after puberty. So parents need to just relax and leagues need to just play everybody, equally. The purpose is fun, exercise, learning.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, hepatica said:

Age won't solve that. My kid is one of the younger kids and a foot or more taller. That's just bad behavior, coaching, management.

 

I know that, but the league needs something to get the discussion going. The intent was for a 3-4 year age span, not 5.  Having a child who is tall for their correct league, overage, and has the skills for the age group above hers, playing in the lower age group is just ridiculous.  Age would allow the league to gently deal with the mom and have that child 'play up' , which is in reality joining the other children with same age and lesser skills. Height and weight are immaterial other than the safety issue as she knock people over and trips on them. Rec league is supposed to be instructional, having one person dominate means 19 or more dc just wasted their time and money.  If this was travel, jv, or v, I wouldn't say a word as those leagues are beyond instructional and players have a min skill to be in the league.

Edited by HeighHo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I think that is just a part of sports. There is no way to make things "fair" for everyone. On the high school teams there is always a five year age difference among kids. I say this as the mother of a 9th grade daughter who is 5'3" and plays on a mixed high school team where a majority of the members are boys and often up to a foot taller than her, not to mention their obvious strength and girth advantages. 🙂

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hard and fast age rules are frustrating and do give preference to those who birthdays fall just after the cut-off. But I much, much prefer those to grade based teams/sports. You can deal with 11-month variations and genetic variations of size much easier than what can be up at least a two-year difference.

My kids have all been late developers- so I well know the frustration of the ages 10-14. But in the end, everyone gets to puberty and people are different sizes and talent will out.

It is just a bumpy ride for a while.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you follow the rules of the league. I had a kid that played "up" for x-c (so no slamming into other kids) but it went by grade, not age. I run into this all the time at our ski hill--we go by age the day of the race. No, your kid can't can't ski "down" because they're not very good. They CAN ski up, but if they do, they ski up all day. I had a dad with an age-class (semi-pro) boy who asked to ski up. I agreed, but the next dad wanted his kid to ski down. No. Not my fault that your kid doesn't ski a zillion hours a week--he needs to be with his age group. They're now struggling in Scouts as they think there should be special rules. I had a dd who showed Arabians all over--yeah, she's going to take all the English classes, just like the girl who took Paint Worlds the week before is going to take all the Western classes. It's by age, period. And I've had kids on the other end--my kid is going to ride against kids who are pros in speed events. Well, my kid doesn't spend every weekend hauling to every rodeo in the state. She's going to lose. No shame there. If it mattered to her, she'd put in the work. Yeah, it's hard when your kid is 18" shorter than the other boys at the swim meet, but high school swimming is ALL 4 years, but not eligibility for a 5th. Bummer. There it is. If the big kid is playing unsafely, that should be addressed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a normal part of sports.  I think it is especially true of rec league, where you have multiple abilities and ages all lumped together. DS could have benefited from playing down in soccer (August b-day in a grade based class) because he was young and not athletic.  

Dd12 is 5'8" and 250lbs.  She always stands out where ever she goes in sports classes. She has played year round rec league volleyball for 2 years. So she has experience and height/size. Emotionally, she is younger than her age though, so I wouldn't want her playing up. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever the rules are, there are going to be kids who are way bigger / smaller than others playing together.  That's just how human development works.

My kids have a schoolmate who is in the 8th grade and looks like a 4th grader, as well as 4th graders who are bigger than grown average-sized adults.

My kid is one of the smallest and youngest in her grade, so I am used to her being at a size disadvantage.  There is nothing to be done about it.  What I tell her is that sometimes small size can be an advantage too.  Also she is unlikely to ever make a pro basketball team, LOL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually the biggest girl on my kid's basketball team is a younger kid "playing up."  She is 3 months younger and way taller than my kid.  She "plays up" because she loves basketball, plays throughout the off season, and was good enough to be recruited up.  If she were playing with her grade, perhaps parents at that level would be annoyed.  It's not her fault, and why should a kid not be allowed to shine where he has superior gifts? 

I will say that red-shirting for the sake of giving an unfair advantage does annoy me.  But it is not clear that that's why the child in the OP was redshirted.  If he was not ready academically or socially, then that trumps size.

I do see the benefit of age-based leagues, but only if that is the rule for all kids in the league.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have really tall children. My middle son is literally a full head taller than any other child in his 2nd grade class at co-op. And he has a May birthday, so he’s one of the youngest. My other children are tall too, so I’ve been the parent hearing people muttering about my kids who are “too old” for the team. They aren’t. I do correct those parents, though. 🙂 

I’m interested to know where you live. Everywhere I’ve lived (4 regions of the US), Rec leagues are set by age, not grade. We’ve mostly pulled out of Rec now because my kids can’t keep up with their same-age peers (who are smaller than them, but not autistic and motor-delayed) and the leagues don’t allow kids to play down (understandable). I’m sorry this is happening to you and your son. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh. I've never encountered a youth sports team (either club, non-profit, or park/rec) that didn't have age-based cut-offs.

No playing "by grade" here in CA that I've encountered, except in school sports (where there is a fair amount of abuse in holding athletes back).

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Spy Car said:

Huh. I've never encountered a youth sports team (either club, non-profit, or park/rec) that didn't have age-based cut-offs.

No playing "by grade" here in CA that I've encountered, except in school sports (where there is a fair amount of abuse in holding athletes back).

Bill

So, Bill do you think academic red-shirting is cheating? I'm just wondering. We never did, but as mentioned above, we did play one kid up as there was nothing available for her if we didn't. We planned on her repeating 8th (and she did). It really confused the ps though, as when she started 9th, she also started college. They didn't know WHERE she was! 😉 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

So, Bill do you think academic red-shirting is cheating? I'm just wondering. We never did, but as mentioned above, we did play one kid up as there was nothing available for her if we didn't. We planned on her repeating 8th (and she did). It really confused the ps though, as when she started 9th, she also started college. They didn't know WHERE she was! 😉 

I think there can be complexities and legitimate developmental issues that lead to some students being held back. Those who simply game the system for athletic advantage are on shaky ethical grounds IMO. it happens far too much IMO.

As a coach, I've encouraged a few kids to "play up" (rare), talked others out of playing up (most common), and in one instance appealed to our lacrosse conference to allow a player who was a couple weeks past the cut-off to "play down," which is almost never allowed. But this boy needed the extra year on a developmental level and was not going to put other players at risk by being too large or too dominating. I was very grateful to the league that they allowed a very unusual request. The boy stayed in the game rather than surely quitting had the appeal been denied.

Bill

 

 

Edited by Spy Car
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could look into sports like wrestling or BJJ, where the competitors are divided by age but then into weight classes ... it doesn't stop the kid who has been in club wrestling since they were 4 from having the clear advantage of years of experience ... and if your kid is the big kid, at some point they're ranked heavyweight and can definitely be mismatched with someone MUCH bigger. But it does balance it some. (There was a guy in DS's high school weight class who only had one leg! He was like a bull! Same weight but short a leg! Shoulders, necks and arms were enormous! Talk about a different match! Ds did beat him though) its a different kind of sport breakdown. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is very much an issue in the sport my dd lives and breathes.

Dd is of average size and one of the youngest in her grade.  Her sport can involve some contact and intimidation so size does matter in the most competitive competitions.  Red shirting for academics is quite common in my area and more than half of the boys on her team are a year older than their grade.  None of the girls on dd's team are but we do see it on other teams.

We have the rare opportunity to study this because half of dd's competitions are age-based and half grade-based and often involve the very same people so we can look at results for comparison purposes. Dd and her female teammates place MUCH higher in age-based competitions.  Dd's male teammates place MUCH higher in grade-based competitions due to their mostly-red-shirted status.  Grade-based can have 9-12th grade mixed.  In a race last year, 14yo dd was competing against 19 yos.  There is simply no fair way for a still-developing 14 yo to compete against a fully grown 19yo who could be competing at the collegiate level, and the results reflected this.  There is a great body of evidence that even the single year differences of 12 months results in significant levels of success based on when your birthday falls.  In my dd's sport, this is so significant that you can almost predict with 100% certainly the chances of a talented kid getting a college scholarship based solely on month in which they were born.  Dd did a study and wrote a paper on this for PE this year.

Luckily the category of competitions that really "count" in my dd's case are age-based so grade-based competition is not a real issue for us.   But dd is in the unlucky situation of being born on the losing side of the year so that is always a factor even in age-based competition.

 As to what should be done, I have no idea!  At the rec level, I would only be concerned about safety.  Red-shirting is so common now that you would expect outliers to be distributed amongst teams evenly enough to be OK.  But I do think age should be the placing factor in sports were safety is a factor and in serious competition where scholarships might be on the line.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps less focus on winning and competition is what should be done. Scholastic and recreational sports were originally instituted in the US to teach values such as cooperation and hard work (you know, teamwork and sportsmanship), not to enable the academic/athletic/financial fortunes of a talented few. Forget scholarships and winning and getting into elite colleges, and let sports be for all the kids. Everyone plays, everyone deals with the circumstances of a diverse group of kids, and parents stay home!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Spy Car said:

Huh. I've never encountered a youth sports team (either club, non-profit, or park/rec) that didn't have age-based cut-offs.

No playing "by grade" here in CA that I've encountered, except in school sports (where there is a fair amount of abuse in holding athletes back).

Bill

 

It's common in large parts of the country.  Even national orgs like AAU recognize grade indirectly. For example players are eligible for 16U in basketball if they meet the age requirement or are in the 10th grade (grade exception). In the younger age groups they used to limit the number of grade exceptions per team but I *think* that may have been dropped.

I have lived in 4 states and in all the local rec basketball leagues all went by grade, which makes sense as the players move up to school basketball as a cohort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, hepatica said:

Perhaps less focus on winning and competition is what should be done. Scholastic and recreational sports were originally instituted in the US to teach values such as cooperation and hard work (you know, teamwork and sportsmanship), not to enable the academic/athletic/financial fortunes of a talented few. Forget scholarships and winning and getting into elite colleges, and let sports be for all the kids. Everyone plays, everyone deals with the circumstances of a diverse group of kids, and parents stay home!!

So where do the talented and driven athletes compete? Because once they get to high school- yes, scholarships matter, even if you think they shouldn't.

Kids vary in size and development and talent. It behooves adults to make things as fair as possible. Age-based sports are mostly fair. Grade based sports are currently running into problems because of red-shirting (for whatever reason- academic, emotional, athletic). 

Sports, music, and theater all teach cooperation and hard work, but they also teach the important lesson that everyone does not have the same gifts. And that is okay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think individual competition sports would be fairest applying an age-on-day-of-competition rule. In sports with year round competitions especially this would minimize age advantage as no one would consistently have the advantage.

Some team sports could potentially go to six month age brackets at least among younger kids where an eleven or twelve month difference really matters developmentally. Team sports gets complicated though.

Edited by maize
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DS5 is head and shoulders taller than everyone else in his TKD class. He is in that awkward size of between 6 and 7 clothes. But, he was always at least a head taller even when he was 3 and the other kids were 5. So size is a hard thing to regulate in sports.

I think overall age/birthday cutoffs are better than grade, because kids can be held back or pushed forward for academic reasons that don't match their body. But, birthday cutoffs don't solve the problem. To be more fair you'd have to do some calculation of talent + effort + size, which seems a bit over the top and impossible to really do unless you have a huge pool of kids. If you are doing sports for competition, how to play well against different opponents, life skills etc., it's more "realistic" for the opponents to sometimes be "out of your league." 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Redshirting is very common in our area.  I don't do it, but I think it can be a great idea for kids in B&M schools.    Age cut off seems best but it's not perfect either.  I have a boy with an August birthday so I think we will probably never even attempt a sport with age cutoff.  He is taller than avg by a bit but he very much acts his age developmentally.  

When I was a new mom and in a moms group, I knew a lady who wanted her kids to be the best academically and she purposefully planned for her children to be born in August so that she could get the maximum benefit of redshirting.  Doing something ilke that never entered my mind as a fator in having children.  Also she obviously had great predicatable fertility, because not everyone can plan with such percision.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that if they are following the rules, there is nothing you can do. There's always going to be a kid who is much bigger or better.  It's best if you can get your athlete to focus on personal improvement so they can continue to move forward.  I have a friend whose child plays UP a year, and sometimes two in basketball.  She's STILL taller than all the other girls and she's VERY talented.  I'm sure there are parents who believe she is older.  Big kids can't help their size.  I have another friend whose VERY tall son played in his age group. Other teams feared him until he started moving and he was like an big, uncoordinated puppy.  Basketball practice helped him learn to drive this big body that grew faster than he could learn how to use it efficiently.  As long as the coaches have an eye to safety and are focusing on each athlete becoming their personal best while learning to work as a team, you have to accept a HUGE variety in sizes and strengths among children.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Mbelle said:

Redshirting is very common in our area.  I don't do it, but I think it can be a great idea for kids in B&M schools.    Age cut off seems best but it's not perfect either.  I have a boy with an August birthday so I think we will probably never even attempt a sport with age cutoff.  He is taller than avg by a bit but he very much acts his age developmentally.  

When I was a new mom and in a moms group, I knew a lady who wanted her kids to be the best academically and she purposefully planned for her children to be born in August so that she could get the maximum benefit of redshirting.  Doing something ilke that never entered my mind as a fator in having children.  Also she obviously had great predicatable fertility, because not everyone can plan with such percision.  

 

I'm glad I had my children young before my crazy had time to fully develop!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to agree with everyone else - no matter what, it's impossible to make things perfectly even in kids sports, and especially rec sports.  

But, I think that is also true of adult sports.  If I, or my husband, go to play a sport at the community centre, there will be all kinds of people there of various health, ages, and sizes.  When I used to play soccer of road hockey or basketball at work, there were all kinds of different body types, and mixed sexes.

I think learning to play appropriately with others is one of the good things sports can do.  A kid barreling into other kids needs to learn this, and the adults have to teach him.  I think sometimes kids are confused because they get really mixed messages, it's more about competitive or aggressive play to win rather than how to have a game that is rewarding for all the players.  Tat doesn't serve long-term involvement in sports though

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hepatica said:

Perhaps less focus on winning and competition is what should be done. Scholastic and recreational sports were originally instituted in the US to teach values such as cooperation and hard work (you know, teamwork and sportsmanship), not to enable the academic/athletic/financial fortunes of a talented few. Forget scholarships and winning and getting into elite colleges, and let sports be for all the kids. Everyone plays, everyone deals with the circumstances of a diverse group of kids, and parents stay home!!

 

It's not just about winning and scholarships.  It can take as few as 2-3 larger, faster, more developed kids on a single team to take the fun and cooperation out of it for all of the others.  Then there is a safety issue for some sports.  I know if I was considering putting my average-sized, average-aged kid on a hockey/soccer/football/etc.... team with kids on their own team or others that are significantly older and larger, I am going to be concerned.

I realize school teams likely have to go by grade for practicality reasons.  But I see no reason for non-school sports or rec teams to not go by age and deal with kids who may need exceptions for maturity on a case-by-case basis.

I will also say that my dd's coaches always make our kids compete UP an age/grade level if they sense they would not be challenged in their own or would crush the competition.  This means there have been races that dd would have taken 1st in her own age group that resulted in her placing much lower.  I am totally fine with that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ugh. I've wished fervently that I had "redshirted" my oldest because of maturity issues. I am definitely not calling my youngest "kindergarten" until I have to. My youngest is big for his age. He could end up being the biggest kid on a rec team. But I'm not starting academics with him any earlier than I have to.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the reason we are now all so concerned with "fairness" is that sports has lost its focus on cooperation, getting along with others, working together to achieve a goal, exercise, building skills etc and has become focused on individual success. It has become a means to the end of climbing the achievement ladder rather than an end in itself. Parents want their kid to succeed because, as one person said "scholarships do matter." The problem with that focus is it makes it a zero sum game. There are only so many spots at the top (scholarships or college admittances) so my kid's success means someone else's failure. That focus has infected scholastic sports and rec sports all the way down to the peewee level. There are national championships and rankings for early elementary kids for heaven's sake. Discussions about safety and what will provide the best experience for all the kids are great, and that's where these conversations should take place. As Bluegoat said, the game should be rewarding for all as much as possible, and who has a competitive advantage should be only a minor, mostly irrelevant concern. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, hepatica said:

I think the reason we are now all so concerned with "fairness" is that sports has lost its focus on cooperation, getting along with others, working together to achieve a goal, exercise, building skills etc and has become focused on individual success. It has become a means to the end of climbing the achievement ladder rather than an end in itself. Parents want their kid to succeed because, as one person said "scholarships do matter." The problem with that focus is it makes it a zero sum game. There are only so many spots at the top (scholarships or college admittances) so my kid's success means someone else's failure. That focus has infected scholastic sports and rec sports all the way down to the peewee level. There are national championships and rankings for early elementary kids for heaven's sake. Discussions about safety and what will provide the best experience for all the kids are great, and that's where these conversations should take place. As Bluegoat said, the game should be rewarding for all as much as possible, and who has a competitive advantage should be only a minor, mostly irrelevant concern. 

 

While I agree that kids' sports can get seriously out of hand in all sorts of ways, lack of fairness (in quotes or not) should be addressed.  Unfairness, real or  perceived, interferes with a rewarding experience for all.  Unmatched abilities and size will always happen because kids develop differently.  We create inflation of those issues when using grade as a sorting factor when red-shirting in a known and frequent phenomenon.  I think that applies whether we are discussing cut-throat scholarship competition or learn-to-play rec teams.  I'm not sure the motivation really matters here.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, skimomma said:

 

While I agree that kids' sports can get seriously out of hand in all sorts of ways, lack of fairness (in quotes or not) should be addressed.  Unfairness, real or  perceived, interferes with a rewarding experience for all.  Unmatched abilities and size will always happen because kids develop differently.  We create inflation of those issues when using grade as a sorting factor when red-shirting in a known and frequent phenomenon.  I think that applies whether we are discussing cut-throat scholarship competition or learn-to-play rec teams.  I'm not sure the motivation really matters here.  

I totally agree, but sadly I don't think that is the unfairness issue that is motivating most parental complaints. I wish it was. I do think the motivation matters because unfortunately too many parents are concerned about competitive advantage. I think how we think about the goals of sport really does impact how we see the question of fairness. For example, approximately equal playing time for all is also a fairness issue. But, I expect there are vastly different interpretations about what fairness means in that context depending on how you construe the goal of sport. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, skimomma said:

 

While I agree that kids' sports can get seriously out of hand in all sorts of ways, lack of fairness (in quotes or not) should be addressed.  Unfairness, real or  perceived, interferes with a rewarding experience for all.  Unmatched abilities and size will always happen because kids develop differently.  We create inflation of those issues when using grade as a sorting factor when red-shirting in a known and frequent phenomenon.  I think that applies whether we are discussing cut-throat scholarship competition or learn-to-play rec teams.  I'm not sure the motivation really matters here.  

 

Age grade approaches are not something that can be entirely removed, that's going to be the way certain programs, like class sports, work.

I don't know, I've seen mixed age groups of kids with a five year difference among them work just fine, and everyone had fun.  I've played with groups myself where the adults had widely disparate abilities and physical prowess, and everyone had fun.

Kids can learn to do this too, if adults take the time to teach them how to do it.  Learning that things aren't perfectly "fair" is an important part of that as well.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, TABmom said:

Ugh. I've wished fervently that I had "redshirted" my oldest because of maturity issues. I am definitely not calling my youngest "kindergarten" until I have to. My youngest is big for his age. He could end up being the biggest kid on a rec team. But I'm not starting academics with him any earlier than I have to.

My redshirted boys are big for their age as well.

They're also slow bloomers in many ways, and fit better with younger kids in both social and physical skill development. 

Being big is mostly a disadvantage to them as people expect them to act and perform older than their age.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

I don't know, I've seen mixed age groups of kids with a five year difference among them work just fine, and everyone had fun.  I've played with groups myself where the adults had widely disparate abilities and physical prowess, and everyone had fun.

 

My kids are in recreational tennis where the age group is from 8 to 17 years old. Tennis isn’t a contact sport so wide age ranges isn’t a danger. Parents and kids are very friendly. It’s like a play date atmosphere.

They have a competition tennis group too and that group is a lot more cutthroat from both parents and kids. The focus is very different.

6 minutes ago, maize said:

Being big is mostly a disadvantage to them as people expect them to act and perform older than their age.

 

DS14 has been mistaken as a college freshman since he was in 7th grade just because of his height and serious looking facial expression. DS13 was able to get away with mischief until he started his growth spurt last year.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree this is an issue no matter what and I have grumbled about this as I had athletic boys and was the rare parent that did not redshirt. But it is what it is...and sports are definitely by grade here and you hear lots of talk about kids starting together in K and staying together all through the years and how that is the way to build championships, yadda yadda. 

But basketball is just the worst for this in my opinion. My kids played all kinds of sports and the basketball mismatch was the worst. Baseball had mercy rules and at least three players on the bad team would get to bat each inning. Soccer has a bigger field and things spread out a bit and more kids potentially can touch the ball. But basketball is just hard to adjust and implement mercy rules. We had leagues that turned off the scoreboard or had a running clock after a certain point margin. But it was still just awful when you had a big mismatch. We had games where our team hardly got the ball in bounds without it being stolen for the entire game. And a very large or good basketball player can take over a game in a way more dominant than other sports. I tend to think basketball is a tough game for kids to play recreationally which is a shame because it is about the best one for playing pick up as teens and adults. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with those who say the focus of the adults may need to shift away from results and toward experience.

This is rec sports.   I do not understand the concern about being able to prove one deserves a scholarship in this context.  There are non-rec sports opportunities for that.  IMO when you opt for rec sports, you are opting for an experience that does not ride on wins, losses, or how one stacks up to anyone else.

As far as the age vs. grade cutoffs, we've done both and I would say both have their pros and cons.  From a social standpoint, as my kids happen to be well-placed in their grades socially and enjoy being with their classmates, sports with their own grade are great.  My kids are both young for their grade, so age-based sports force them to play with people who don't fit as well with them socially.  My youngest is tall but very awkward; my eldest is short though athletic; so neither of them are going to blow the scouts away regardless of what age group they are with, unless their talent is independent of their size.

Age based grouping has helped us, sure.  One kid's birthday is January 6, and based on the rules for horse show competitions, she was allowed to compete in 10-and-under the whole year when she was 11yo.  I didn't really feel great about that though.  Honestly it was just an arbitrary thing and while it was great for my girl to get a blue ribbon, I am more interested in her developing than winning at this age.  I look forward to this year as she is the youngest in her age group again, and results will have more meaning.  On the other hand - my other kid turned 11 just weeks before racing in an 11-14yo category.  Between that and being at about the 20th %ile for height, she wasn't much of a contender that year.  But the next year she did pretty good (12th out of about 100).  We would be silly to fuss about the perfect fair scenario that allowed her a realistic chance at 1st place every year.

To look at it another way - should I insist my kids play on the 6th grade team since they are young for their grade?  Personally I think that would be ridiculous.

Edited by SKL
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

I agree this is an issue no matter what and I have grumbled about this as I had athletic boys and was the rare parent that did not redshirt. But it is what it is...and sports are definitely by grade here and you hear lots of talk about kids starting together in K and staying together all through the years and how that is the way to build championships, yadda yadda. 

But basketball is just the worst for this in my opinion. My kids played all kinds of sports and the basketball mismatch was the worst. Baseball had mercy rules and at least three players on the bad team would get to bat each inning. Soccer has a bigger field and things spread out a bit and more kids potentially can touch the ball. But basketball is just hard to adjust and implement mercy rules. We had leagues that turned off the scoreboard or had a running clock after a certain point margin. But it was still just awful when you had a big mismatch. We had games where our team hardly got the ball in bounds without it being stolen for the entire game. And a very large or good basketball player can take over a game in a way more dominant than other sports. I tend to think basketball is a tough game for kids to play recreationally which is a shame because it is about the best one for playing pick up as teens and adults. 

I agree with you about basketball.  In our school's league, we are the only JV team and we get creamed all the time.  We still enjoy playing and learning - in fact, in some ways we probably learn at a faster pace because nothing comes easy.  But we know not to feel bad when we lose.  The only thing that bugs us is when the other team, with much bigger and stronger players, fouls us and gets away with it.  There is just one team in our league that seems to be coached to do that - not just to us but to all the Varsity teams too.  We dread playing those girls.

Truth is, our JV experience has probably convinced my small girl not to try out for basketball next year.  That's OK.  There are enough other things to do.  The better players who do move on will be well prepared for varsity.

Re mercy rules, I don't have the inside scoop, but I am aware of some that they employ when our JV is getting creamed, to let them feel a bit better by the end of the game.  For example, the other team has to pass x times before shooting after a certain point.  Or they only play their youngest players or aren't allowed to "push."  It still allows the other team to practice useful skills.

Edited by SKL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...