I witnessed this first hand with PGA Junior League which was a great concept modeled after other rec sports (including uni's) to introduce beginning and novice youth golfers to the game in an easy and light competitive team format. The thought was, the elite junior golfers already have the resources and support to exceed so let's provide something for the rest. The casual kids who play with grandpa once in a while and might play more if they got a taste of competition.
Within 3 years, it was practices 5 nights a week and all the elite junior players in our area using it as a further training ground and then galavanting across the Western US in the playoffs hoping to reach Nationals in Arizona in the fall. The kids in my program lost interest due to getting their ass kicked by 10 year olds dressed in $250 worth of Puma gear who could all break 40 for 9 holes (a few were around par) and even knew how to throw clubs and temper tantrums.
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The predictable rejoinder to the inequality of kids’ sports is basically: The system works just fine. Many famous athletes come from poor backgrounds, and some of them owe their careers to specialized super teams. Besides, one might argue, even though super teams for gifted and sufficiently wealthy young people might leave disadvantaged kids behind, this is simply the price that society must pay for excellence. It’s a version of a familiar conservative economic argument about the general economy: The U.S. has the world’s smartest people, because we celebrate success and punish indolence; so we should cut taxes on the rich and unwind collectivist welfare programs, which only dampen the nation’s competitive mojo.
But just as Europe offers alternative models for balancing equality and efficiency in the overall economy, it also offers alternative models for youth sports.
For example, Norway’s youth-sports policies are deliberately egalitarian. The national lottery, which is run by a government-owned company called Norsk Tipping, spends most of its profit on national sports and funnels hundreds of millions of dollars to youth athletic clubs every year. Parents don’t need to shell out thousands to make sure their kids get to play. And play is an operative word: Norwegian leagues value participation over competition so much that clubs with athletes below the age of 13 cannot even publish game scores. Remarkably, teams that release their scores online can face expulsion from the Norwegian confederation of sports.
It might seem like any country’s athletic prowess would atrophy under such socialist and anticompetitive policies. Instead, Norway is an athletic juggernaut. In the last Winter Olympics, the country won 39 medals—the most of any country in the history of the Games and nearly twice as many as the United States. It did so with a smaller population than Minnesota’s.
The U.S. sees itself as a land of winners bred by a culture of fierce competition that rewards success. But in youth sports, that competition doesn’t happen—excuse the metaphor—on a level playing field.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... 0BjnddUkvk