Check out this article about how Lacrosse is thriving in upper Westchester communities, featuring Brant Lake Sports Academy Director, Rachel Milim, recently named president of the Byram Hills Youth Lacrosse Board.
At Brant Lake Camp, we love sports and all that one can learn from them. We believe fervently that sports should be “about the journey, not the destination”. The following has been gleaned from the September 4, 2017 Time Magazine Cover Story, “How Kids’ Sports Became a $15 Billion Industry“. The article details the growing obsession with parents attempts to maximize their kids sports futures (mistakenly, in our opinion) and some of the pitfalls from their efforts.
“But as community-based teams give way to a more mercenary approach, it’s worth asking what’s lost in the process. Already, there are worrying signs. A growing body of research shows that intense early specialization in a single sport increases the risk of injury, burnout and depression. Fees and travel costs are pricing out lower-income families. Some kids who don’t show talent at a young age are discouraged from ever participating in organized sports. Those who do often chase scholarships they have a minuscule chance of earning.
The odds are not in anyone’s favor. Only 2% of high school athletes go on to play at the top level of college sports, the NCAA’s Division I. For most, a savings account makes more sense than private coaching. ‘I’ve seen parents spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars pursuing a college scholarship,’ says Travis Dorsch, founding director of the Families in Sport Lab at Utah State University. ‘They could have set it aside for the damn college.’
Children sense that the stakes are rising. In a 2016 study published in the journal Family Relations, Dorsch and his colleagues found that the more money families pour into youth sports, the more pressure their kids feel–and the less they enjoy and feel committed to their sport.
Even well-meaning parents, meanwhile, can find themselves swept up. ‘You say to yourself, Am I keeping up?’ says Rosemary Brewer, a nonprofit executive in Portland, Ore., who has mixed feelings about placing her two sons, 11 and 15, on travel lacrosse teams. ‘There’s pressure, especially if your kids have some talent. You feel it a little more. But we want the kids to have fun and be with their friends. We have to take a step back and keep asking ourselves, What’s the end goal?’
There are mounting concerns, however, over the consequences of such intensity, particularly at young ages. The average number of sports played by children ages 6 to 17 has dipped for three straight years, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. In a study published in the May issue of American Journal of Sports Medicine, University of Wisconsin researchers found that young athletes who participated in their primary sport for more than eight months in a year were more likely to report overuse injuries.
Intense specialization can also tax minds. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, ‘burnout, anxiety, depression and attrition are increased in early specializers.’ The group says delaying specialization in most cases until late adolescence increases the likelihood of athletic success.
Devotion to a single sport may also be counterproductive to reaching that holy grail: the college scholarship. In a survey of 296 NCAA Division I male and female athletes, UCLA researchers discovered that 88% played an average of two to three sports as children.
Other consequences are more immediate. As expensive travel teams replace community leagues, more kids are getting shut out of organized sports. Some 41% of children from households earning $100,000 or more have participated in team sports, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. In households with income of $25,000 or less, participation is 19%.”
While we whole-heartedly believe that sports at BLC should be about the journey not the destination, we are always proud when BLC alums have great have great success in the sports areas.
Within the past year, a BLC alum has reached an admirable standard in each of our core activities.
Baseball: Spencer Kulman signs with the San Diego Padres
Basketball: Spencer Weisz is named MVP of Ivy League playing for Princeton
Soccer: Josh Goldstern is recrutied to play for UVA
Tennis: Aiden McHugh written up as Andy Murray protege at Wimbeldon
Waterfront, Sailing: Joan Herp sailed for the Spanish Olympic Team in Rio
One of the most profound lessons I learned (or at least had reinforced) at our 100 year celebrations was how impactful. BLC has been to so many people.
I have never used the term thick for describing the BLC experience, but I think it is an apt categorization given the context in Brook’s article.
Wishing you the best
PS. Annual Alumni Basketball Game at Dalton School gym will be May 25
Art Chansky, writer of many books on the UNC versus Duke sports rivalry, and long-time friend of mine, came to the BLC Centennial Celebration at camp recently and wrote this in depth article. Hope you enjoy it. – Richie G.
We thought you would all like to see the recent article in ‘Town and Country’ magazine on today’s best summer camps– which we are proud to say included Brant Lake Camp, as well as our sister camp, Point O’Pines.
The list of 19 camps, noted as the “Ivy League” of summer camps, also provides a short synopsis of all the top programs. Several years ago, we were noted by the same publication as the camp with the “Best Traditions”—largely driven by our ever-popular “Green and Gray” color war competition.
We very much look forward to BLC springing back to life with the arrival of all our campers in just a couple of short weeks– and we wish you all the best.
BLC has a credo: “Where Sports Are Done Right” – – and it drives so much of what we are about.
As you know, youth sports today in the USA has come under much scrutiny of late with many recent trends and practices being challenged and debated. It certainly is not a straightforward or simple subject.
The following article, from the Washington Post, is a very thought-provoking view on the emerging issues and is in concert with much of the BLC viewpoint. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/06/01/why-70-percent-of-kids-quit-sports-by-age-13/) We hope that you will take the time to read it and, as always, we welcome your thoughts.
The value of sports is neither black nor white, (all good or all bad)– but usually involves shades of gray; not versus green! At BLC, we spend much time in thinking through and then enacting an appropriate sports philosophy in which the intensity of instruction and competition are based on many factors– age being a significant one.
We are always conscious of making our instruction of high quality by not having big differences in ability levels within each teaching group. We are also careful not to “label” our campers with a certain skill level, form permanent varsity teams or limit opportunities for any boys to participate in a sport until the Senior Camp. Even then, we do so infrequently and with care as well as sensitivity.
with comment from Richie G.
“Even if today’s players are incredibly gifted, they grow up in a basketball environment that can only be called counterproductive. AAU basketball has replaced high school ball as the dominant form of development in the teen years. I coached my son’s AAU team for three years; it’s a genuinely weird subculture. Like everywhere else, you have good coaches and bad coaches, or strong programs and weak ones, but what troubled me was how much winning is devalued in the AAU structure. Teams play game after game after game, sometimes winning or losing four times in one day. Very rarely do teams ever hold a practice. Some programs fly in top players from out of state for a single weekend to join their team. Certain players play for one team in the morning and another one in the afternoon. If mom and dad aren’t happy with their son’s playing time, they switch club teams and stick him on a different one the following week. The process of growing as a team basketball player — learning how to become part of a whole, how to fit into something bigger than oneself — becomes completely lost within the AAU fabric.”
From Richie G:
Steve Kerr is a great coach and thoughtful man. His thoughts on AAU basketball, I think, are on point. His perspective is on how AAU ball affects the pro game. I see it also for its effect on younger players. Young players are doing things that not too many years ago would have been thought unthinkable. Many (most) are not as good with fundamentals nor playing as a member of a team. During the NBA playoffs, I will be rooting for teams that move the ball and players (Golden State, San Antonio) and against others that use the commonly seen stationery offense (where two shooters stay in the corner and a player uses the two high big men for pick and roll or pop opportunities). At Brant Lake we emphasize, at all ages, a motion or passing game style, in addition to developing fundamentals and working on individual improvement. It is imperative for players to learn what to do when the ball is NOT in their hand, as there are 10 players on the court at one time and one ball. Do the math!!
In anticipation of the upcoming UNC Walk for Health, Bobby G is once again in the spotlight. Brant Lake Camp even gets a mention in this one! Check out the link for his latest TV interview.