Allistair McCaw: “70% of Talented Kids Drop Out of Their Sport Before Age 13″

Fri, Jan 24, 2014


Allistair McCaw: “70% of Talented Kids Drop Out of Their Sport Before Age 13″


***Allistair McCaw is an internationally recognized leader in the field of athletic performance enhancement. His well-proven method of athlete training, ‘The McCaw Method’, has set the standard for providing world class athletes and Coaches with cutting-edge training techniques, products and knowledge. A fitness expert with over 17 years experience, Allistair has trained a host of world champion athletes including Grand Slam Tennis champions, PGA Golfers and Olympians. Allistair’s expertise in movement & agility training has seen both the world number 1 player’s in Tennis and Squash seek his guidance. He also contributes articles to various magazines on performance enhancement training, motivation and mindset.***


EVERY PARENT OF A TALENTED KID SHOULD READ THIS: 70% of talented kids drop out of their sport before age 13 because of these reasons:

The reality is, 70% of all kids quit organized sports by the age of 13, and the number one reason they cite is that it is not fun anymore.

Personally, having been around the sports world for over 30 years now, growing up as a kid, competing professionally for 10 years, and now coaching, I have seen this first hand.

There can be a few reasons why kids drop out early:

    1. Over zealous parents –
    Parents are fueled by their talented kid to spend all their time and money on pursuing the kids sports career. They feel the more, the better, when in fact it’s that continual push that can at most times send their kid over the edge.
    They also seem to panic when other kids the same age as theirs might be winning or doing better, so they make changes in coaches (-also known as ‘coach hopping’) and add on more tournaments.

    2. Too much competition at a young age –
    Burn out and over playing can occur at a very early age. Kid’s that compete too much and too early are in the 70% category of quitting a sport sooner than later.
    Too much competition at a young age also means that they are not busy doing the things they should be doing more of, like athletic skill and technical development.

    3. It’s not fun anymore –
    The kid doesn’t enjoy playing anymore due to the loss of fun. They are always practicing or playing matches. Also, the pressure and more attention to simply ‘winning’ applied by coach an/or parent. The fun is simply drained out of it because of ‘win at all cost’ coaches and over-pressuring parents.
    Kids also start to see their friends having more fun having more balance in their lives, playing other sports and going to friends houses, fun activities etc..
    Always remember what the number 1 reason was why kids started to play a particular sport – because it’s FUN.

    4. Too high expectations –
    When a kid is extremely talented at a young age or showing great potential, a lot of parents will be constantly told how brilliant or great their kid is.
    This is the mistake of society. Kids are put on pedestals way before they have earned it or should have.
    Ridiculous as it may sound, but here in the United States, I have heard parents of kids under the age of 12 years talking to University and college coaches about getting their kid to go there!
    A massive weight of expectation is placed on these kids shoulders the moment they win a tiny insignificant tournament or competition!
    And while I’m on that subject, parents pulling their kids out of school before 14, what are you thinking? Give your kids Balance and Education for as long as possible!
    It’s understandable that Sometimes arrangements in time scheduling need to be made, but pulling a kid from the classroom permanently at these ages is more harm than good.
    Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve had parents of immensely talented kids who they’ve pulled out of school, bring their kid to me, and what I mostly find is a kid who plays a sport pretty well, but hardly has any friends, balance in life or social skills!
    I fear for the kid if they ‘don’t make it’ in Tennis because it’s all they know.

    The most important thing as a parent or coach, is too always make sure the kid is having FUN.
    I would recommend that both the parent and coach, provide the balance to this equation.
    Parents, your role is simple: Just be there to lend unconditional love and support. Also, remember to let the coach, coach.
    Have some integrity and patience, stop the coach hopping and thinking the grass is always greener when another kid does well.
    Most of all – Let you kid decide if they still find it fun. It should be their choice.

Remember: Develop the Athlete before the player. But most important of all, help develop their enjoyment for the game as well as life skills.

Stay the course. Enjoy the journey.

- Allistair McCaw

McCaw Method Original Full Article can be found by clicking here.

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36 Responses to “Allistair McCaw: “70% of Talented Kids Drop Out of Their Sport Before Age 13″”

  1. 1
    Jerry B. Says:

    To much emphases is put on too many kids as a “talented kid” when they are able to beat other kids who have basically no skills. There is not enough emphases put on technique. I see far to many “talented kids” beating other kids while their technique is horrible at an early age, while later on because their form is so bad they start getting beat by players that other wise they use to beat. I’m beginning to think our coaching system has no idea what they are doing. We have to spend the time and teach proper tennis to keep the win column up to keep them motivated and ahead of the curve. I belong to a club so I have a place to train my daughter when we have bad weather. They have three pros there and all three have kids in the 12 to 13 ages. They were winning a lot of matches early on because they hit millions of balls with their parents because their parents are teaching pros. But, they all have this ultra-western grip with horrible, unrepeatable arm strokes that hurt them badly on the run. Now that the others kids in their age group are getting enough ball reps they are starting to keep the ball in play until these dumb western grips fall apart. To much time is spent on drills and not enough on proper stroke production. It’s only going to hurt them in the long run. My philosophy has always been that any tennis under the age of 16 doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t. Now of course there are exceptions to the rule, but they are far and few between. With proper technique and stroke production early on without worrying about the results will only benefit everyone, even the gifted.

  2. 2
    Mike Says:

    Yes, but do they drop out of Soccer to play Tennis.
    Do they drop out of Football to play Baseball.
    I have heard this before, however kids don’t drop out of sports to do nothing.
    Where is the data on that.
    I know someone out there has thought the same thing.
    Yes, parents are crazy, but we don’t have a bunch of x-athletes sitting around playing video games.

  3. 3
    Ann Says:

    Other reasons:
    1.) The social group or lack of around the child who says it is not fun anymore; the social group is very important to teenagers and pre-teens
    2.) appropriate role models and mentors who support, stay positive and not judge them on or off the court
    3.) more group activities outside of tennis; not as many team sports have ‘drop outs’ although that figure is increasing for some of the same reasons
    4.) less talk from the coach and encourage more talking, about anything they want by the child
    5.) are the coaches, parents, mentors giving positive reinforcement and constructive criticism as much as they can at the appropriate times
    6.) never keep a child on court if it is obvious they are not ready for focus on court that day; they need a day/day off sometimes
    7.) there is more but I will stop here

  4. 4
    Goose Says:

    Agree with Jerry in a lot of things, there is this culture in the US where there is a lot of trophies given at a young age when you do not need to be very talented athletically to win. Kids do not start growing into their bodies until they are 15-16, so a lot of these wins are not worth anything. If a kid is good at 15 take him to futures so he can learn how to deal with the next level of competition. 1 or 2 wins at futures at 16 is worth 300 of those pointless tournaments where you see kids with a 60-1 records play….parents need to loose the fear of seeing their kid lose,

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