Watched another ball drop and low and behold another year has begun.  The time certainly does fly by.  Seems like it was yesterday I was struggling to stay awake and see that ball drop.  Oh wait, that was just yesterday.

Moving on.

As we look forward to this year, there are some trends I have been observing I think will become a lot more prominent in 2019.  Here are some of the biggies:

  • More kids will be foregoing their school teams for club sports. I have a lot of topics on club sports in this list, but I am seeing this in more and more sports – soccer, baseball, gymnastics, volleyball, etc.  I feel very sad when I say this, but athletes will not place as much value on playing for their school as they used to.  Whether they feel their club sport is more competitive and get them in a better position for colleges to look at them OR they get cut from the team and pay the money to play for club sports, this trend will grow.
  • Club athletes are going to have to do more performance training. Whether it is to prevent injuries (which I will talk about in a sec) or fight for a spot on the team, this will need to be addressed.  Club sports hardly do this at all.  They develop the skill of the sport, but not the athlete.  The ones that become successful are still the ones who are the naturally better athletes.  If we can address this at a younger age, we might have better all-around athletes playing these sports as well as better skilled players.
  • Athletes will have more serious injuries at younger ages. Used to be the biggest thing you worried about for a young athlete was a sprained ankle, not so anymore.  I’ve met athletes who have torn their ACL’s before they turned 15…twice.  You are dealing with elbow issues, shoulder issues, names for injuries I can’t even pronounce, but ultimately a lot of these boil down to one thing, OVERUSE.  In order to avoid this, you will have to find time to do more performance training.  Or do something about the next trend because overuse is caused by it.  Until then, I see this growing.
  • More young athletes are going to be FORCED to pick one sport at an earlier age. We’ve put such an emphasis on sports at younger and younger ages, kids feel they have to continue to develop this appropriately or they will be left behind.  It is WRONG!  I’m going to go through this myself and I hope that my decisions for my daughter don’t blackball her for her club sports, but I’ve written blog posts about it and the research states that the youngest an athlete should even think about doing just one sport is 13.  That isn’t happening.  Parents will also eliminate sports for times’ sake.  They feel like they are Uber drivers anymore.  With multiple kids in sports, something will have to give and it might be another sport.
  • I’m going to say this and completely contradict the very first trend I stated, but I feel that club sport participation might take a hit. The reason being will be financial.  The club fees, uniforms, travelling, etc. adds up.  Anymore club sports aren’t necessarily the best of the best, but the best of the athletes that can afford it.  It could be playing sports for the school is cheaper than a club team and parents/athletes just go with that decision.
  • I don’t know how this will happen, but I feel there has to be a system out there to develop youth coaches better. Some type of mandatory online class or something.  My daughter is in 4th grade and it brings back memories of just bad coaching from when my older daughter was that age.  Not just how to teach the sport (whatever it may be), but how to interact with the kids.  Keep it fun, but develop their discipline.  Understand that the best thing for the kids is not to do a 4 corners if you are up 1 in the 4th quarter of a 4th grade game and there are 5 minutes left.  The kids want to play and score.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate each and every volunteer who wants to coach our young kids, but you need coached up yourselves on the basics.
  • This trend will not happen, but the parents have to control themselves. We are losing good coaches and good referees because of awful parents.  It is already affecting games and when they are being played.  The pool is shrinking of officials and we can only play so many games.  It is just a game.  This trend needs to happen for the sake of the kids.  Yes, I said the KIDS.

What do you think?  Put your own trends in the comments’ box below and/or comment on these.  I’m sure there are some I forgot about, so would love to hear your thoughts.