Back in the 1970’s, Bob Bigelow from Winchester, MA, was drafted by the Kansas City Kings. But Tuesday night he stopped in Carve,r calling himself a youth sports reformer and recognized what he believes the organization’s greatest challenge is across the country: “Adults who want to win versus kids who want to play.”
Bigelow impressed upon the crowd of coaches that children in elementary and middle school shouldn’t be cut or placed on selective travel teams, because athletic ability comes from long-term development.
According to Bigelow, most sports including football are late-blooming sports and it’s impossible to judge or reject a child between the ages of 6 and 16 based on their minimal skills, “Anybody’s child, his or her athletic ability prior to puberty is a meaningless indicator of that same child’s athletic ability post-puberty.”
He noted that he didn’t start playing basketball until he was 14 years old, and coaches should follow him as an example of LTAD–or Long-Term Athletic Development, “We will get rid of no athlete in any sport until at earliest 16 or 17 years old. Welcome to Michael Jordan’s and my world.”
According to the retired NBA player, the number of youth teams should increase to deflect turning away young athletes. He also further stated adults have hijacked youth sports by focusing more on winning than the kids themselves. He encouraged Carver coaches to coach less and allow players to be independent.
Bigelow is also the co-author of a book titled ‘Just Let the Kids Play’.