The Adulteration of Children's Sports explores what behavioral and physiological scientists know about how children’s organized sport has changed, how adults’ goals and needs are at the heart of those changes, and the consequences of those changes on children’s enjoyment of sport and on their autonomy, creativity and moral reasoning outside of sport. Adult introduction of early competition, extrinsic rewards, early sport specialization, and year-round participation has thwarted children’s intrinsic motivation and contributed to children’s attrition from sport. Kristi Erdal explores concerns about the future of sport itself, as adult-mediated selection practices whittle down young athletes earlier on shakier criteria. Parents’ and coaches’ complicity in these practices, however, is based on intermediaries ‘interpreting’ (or ignoring) the research literature. Thus, the final chapters of this book are about translating the research into applied ideas for change. Erdal provides an overview of the evidenced-based research that has been conducted on children’s health and well-being in sport and debunks myths along the way. Adults built the problems compiled in this text. We can dismantle them as well.
“In The Adulteration of Children’s Sports: Waning Health and Well-Being in the Age of Organized Play, Dr. Kristi Erdal writes in a clear voice and thoughtfully digests the scientific literature on children's sport, raising important questions and offering concrete guidance for parents, coaches, educators, and sport administrators.” – Britton W. Brewer, Ph.D, Springfield College