San Francisco Youth Soccer starts 'Silent Saturday'

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A survey of youth sports between 2009 and 2014 found participation in all sports dropped by 10 percent. Some experts say it's sideline drama that's hurting on field play, and now at least one local league is taking action.

A Bay Area league started "Silent Saturday" to allow kids just to play for fun, without the pressure of screaming parents or coaches. Every parent in San Francisco Youth Soccer received an email. One mom told ABC7 News she had to stay home, because it was too tough to keep her mouth shut.

"When there's such an overemphasis on winning, it really takes away the enjoyment and fun

experience from the kids," said Amanda Joy Visek, Ph.D., Associate Professor, GWU.

A professor at George Washington University recently asked nearly 150 children what they liked about sports. Kids mentioned team dynamics, trying hard and learning. On a list of 81 factors contributing to their happiness, winning came in way down the list at number 48.

"Parents should take a step back and really listen to what their kids want. For overly
competitive parents, it's never too late to make a change," said Lindsay Powers, Editorial Director, Yahoo Parenting.

Lisa Harper values the hard work and discipline involved in sports.

"It translates into school, it translates into professions," said Harper.

Even though they may see benefits down the road, experts say parents need to remember youth sports are not the same as professional sports and shouldn't be treated that way either.
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