It’s okay that kids quit sports

In this article on Changing the Game Project (dot com), an organization trying to breathe sanity back into youth sports, the author goes over some reasons why kids quit sports and things that can be done to help.

As a youth coach, I’ve had some parents forward this article to me when they disagreed with my coaching.

Here is a snippet from the article:

As I have stated here many times, 70% of children are dropping out of organized sports by the age of 13. Whenever I mention this sad statistic, people come out of the wood work saying that it’s only the kids who aren’t good enough to play that quit. They say it’s an age where school, jobs and other interests take precedence. These things are true and contribute to a part of the dropout rate, but they are not the entire picture.

We don’t simply lose the kids who cannot make varsity; we lose many of the best athletes on our teams.

One problem is that the author, John O’Sullivan, doesn’t quantify how much these other factors contribute to the dropout rate or how many of the best athletes quit.

Basic math tells us that the vast majority of kids who dropout are the kids that cannot make varsity. If only the top 20% of kids make the varsity team, that means 80% don’t. If only the top 5% of the high school athletes make a college team, 95% don’t.

In my experience, around ages 11 – 14 kids come to one of a few reality checks.

They may realize that even being average in a sport takes work they aren’t willing to put in, because they simply don’t enjoy the sport enough or they’d rather be doing something else with that time.

Or, they come to understand the odds of them becoming a college or pro players is really low.

Even some of the ‘best’ quit, because they might be at the bottom of the top 20%. They’re better than 80%, but they don’t get a lot of play time, so they decide that getting a job to earn some money is more worth it than riding the bench. That’s basic opportunity cost.

I appreciate O’Sullivan’s efforts to want to take adult toxicity out of youth sports. That’s a worthy effort that doesn’t need to be tied to improving the dropout rate.

There’s nothing wrong with a 70% sports dropout rate by age 13. I bet that has been consistent for decades (and possibly has decreased as there are more ‘competitive’ sports clubs out there that provide alternatives to high school sports) and it tracks the winnowing of the field to make the cut for high school, college and pro.

If efforts to keep kids playing sports longer work, it may have some ill consequences — mainly, keeping kids from doing other things that may be more worth their while.


Boudreaux on tax ‘giveaways’

Don Boudreaux writes about calling tax cuts ‘giveaways’:

(As an aside, I refuse to go along with the common-in-many-circles description of such a tax cut as a “gift” or a “giveaway” to Smith and other high-income earners.  Smith is the person who earned the income.  It is his property.  This income belongs to Smith.  The government takes it away from him.  For the government to reduce the amount of money that it takes away from Smith is not properly called a giveaway to Smith.  But let’s here say no more about this particular linguistic battering of reality.)

Then he provides an apt analogy:

Suppose that freedom of the press were reported in the same way as are tax cuts “for the rich.”  In particular, suppose that a government that, until now, routinely suppressed the freedom of the press announces that it will be less censorious.  What would you think of a reporter who describes the change as a “giveaway to the press”?

Most people, of course, do not own newspapers or other media outlets.  Most people aren’t reporters or editors or paid pundits.  So a reduction in press censorship might be said to help only the relatively few people who own and who work for the news media.

But clearly the case for freedom of the press is not centered on the benefits such freedom has for press barons, news reporters, and paid pundits.  The core of the case for freedom of the press is that it bestows benefits society-wide.  When the press is free, the chief beneficiaries are the general public.  Anyone who assesses changes in the press’s freedom exclusively by how such changes affect “the press” would rightly be called out as missing the point.

Yet, regrettably, far too many mainstream-media assessments of changes in tax policy focus exclusively on how such changes affect those who earn the incomes and who own the wealth that is legally subject to the tax changes.


You can’t giveaway something that isn’t your’s to begin with

Today, Chuck Schumer demonstrated why I have a tougher time aligning with democrats than the other side.

In response to Trump’s tax plan, he described it as a “tax giveaway to wealthy.”

I prefer public servants that think of taxes as something that people pay to the government, not as something the government already owns.

In my opinion, public servants that think of taxes as the former are more likely to spend the people’s money prudently.

Public servants who think of taxes as something the government already owns will spend it less prudently and will never be satisfied the amount they have to spend. They will always want more.

Such folks are less like public servants and more like lords.


Competition in health care?

Sheldon Richman explains why more competition would be good in health care.  He writes:

Competition is the universal solvent: it dissolves all kinds of problems. (I refer to competition in its broadest sense, including what goes on in the unrestricted marketplace of ideas.) The reason competition is so effective at enhancing public welfare is that no person or group has a monopoly on knowledge and wisdom. These are scattered throughout society, and we cannot know who has the information or vision that is exactly what some or all of us are looking for. With goods and services, knowledge comes largely in the form of prices, which communicate supply and demand conditions and give entrepreneurs clues to how they can satisfy hitherto unsatisfied consumer demand and thereby earn profits.

Everything in the previous paragraph applies to medical care and insurance. The dogma that such services and products are outside the scope of economics is merely self-serving nonsense.

He then goes onto explain how competition is currently “curtailed”:

The practice of medicine (physicians, nurses, etc.) is licensed by state governments. The medical-facility industry is largely governed by state certificate-of-need requirements. Medical schools are subject to government-linked accreditation. The insurance industry is ruled by 50 state governments in cahoots with insurers and, since 2010, the national government; the Department of Health and Human Services defines basic coverage, criteria for acceptance, and price rules. Drugs and medical devices are the domain of a government bureaucracy, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and patent law. Individuals are mandated to have insurance. This only scratches the surface.

I know it’s very, very tough for people to imagine a world where doctors are not licensed by the state government.

Who will make sure they are any good?

The same people who do now. Us.

Anecdotes prevent licensing from going away. It only takes one horror story of an unlicensed doctor to get most people to think, “See! This is why doctors need to be licensed.”

Yet, even with licensing there are horror stories. Nobody asks, “How did licensing let this one through?”

The straw that is breaking the camel’s back in retail itself isn’t killing off retail. One simple, sleepy innovation is: Free 2-Day Shipping.

Yes, it came from and it requires to back it up. But, before Free 2-Day Shipping, I rarely ordered stuff online unless I simply couldn’t get it at a local store.

Free 2-Day Shipping was the game changer for that.

It made me realize how much I didn’t like going to stores. The parking lots are a pain. You have to walk lots. People are weird. They manage their cashiers so tightly to save costs that you must always wait in line to check out. And, the big boxes often do not have what you want.

What is legal vs social norm

I think this argument that United Airlines was within its rights is well-articulated.

I also think the author misses that there are sometimes a big difference between what is contractually legal and social norms. A reason the United Airlines case is receiving so much attention, most of it against United, is that it grossly violates social norms whether or not it violates the law.

The speed limit is 65 mph (what is legal). People often drive 70 mph (social norm) without fear of being pulled over. Do people receive tickets for doing 70 mph? Yes. Does that stop us from breaking that law? No. Have we all driven past a police officer while going 5 mph over the speed limit without getting pulled over? Yes. Lots of times.

In the United Airlines case, social norms are saying that paying for a ticket should not carry the risk of being forcibly removed from the flight.

Social norms are also saying that airlines, not its customers, should pay a fair price if the airline decides it needs to remove passengers.

Maybe articles like the one I linked to will help change social norms.

I hope not. I’d rather that the pressure from social norms cause airlines to rethink their overbooking policies to come up with something more agreeable with social norms than converting paying customers into trespassers at the airline’s whim.

More differences between US and European youth soccer

This excellent blog post is on Sacha van der Most van Spijk is on his organization, Home Field Advantage, website.

I think the following from it is a good adder to my post about Sacha’s interview with

I spent many years in my native country of the Netherlands coaching at a community-based club. As I began to find a deeper love with coaching I decided to make a switch and move to the United States in hopes of sharing my love and passion for the game. My first stop began in Northern California where I coached soccer camps with the Ziemer brothers. Later, I moved to Southern California where I took a position as the head coach of a High School soccer program. The following year my progression in the coaching world continued and I began coaching a couple of Club Soccer teams.

Not knowing what to expect, I was very surprised with the way the Club Soccer was structured. Our club played “home” games at a variety of different fields in the area and the league season lasted a mere 3.5 months. Most of the weekend games were being played back-to-back both on Saturday and Sunday. In Europe every youth club has their own home field, league season is spread out in a 9-10 month season, and games are played only once a week.

During State Cup is when I began to question whether my involvement in coaching was actually fun. Early morning games were scheduled at giant soccer complexes about a 2-hour drive North, parking fees were charged to add to an already expensive weekend, games would be scheduled 3 to 4 hours apart, and the boys were required to play 3-4 games in two days!

Some things sound good about the structure of soccer in the Netherlands. Ten month season. One game a week.  A long, paced-out season to be able to gain the mastery without the burn-out drudgery or multiple game weekends. Games always on the same day (from the podcast). Mostly in the same place.

What’s keeping us from doing that? The fragmentation of the sport between rec, clubs and schools, that’s what.

Missing ingredient in US youth soccer II

There is another thing worth mentioning from the podcast interview with Kephern Fuller that I wrote about in this post.

He said that the youth sports experience is more independent of parents than in the United States. The kids ride their bikes to the club. Their parents don’t come to practice. He said the kids would be mortified if they did. It’d be like a parent coming to watch a child in school.