Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ranking Elementary Schoolers for College Recruiting

The New York Times just published an interesting article about what happens when kids are ranked for college recruiters as early as 5th and 6th grade. The gist of the article is that it sets expectations that often aren't met as the kids age, and it creates jealousies and other social problems for these kids. Here's a link to the article:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/sports/10recruiting.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

I have watched many kids in several sports from 1st grade through high school. The pecking order doesn't stay static, it changes every year. The kids who were standouts when they were younger don't always keep that status. They might not grow, they might burn out because they're playing year round, and the elephant in the room that no one likes to talk about is that they may hit a wall on skill development and just stop getting better while everyone around them is continuously improving. Conversely, a kid who was gangly and awkward as a 9th grader suddenly grows and comes into their own as a junior and just dominates.

Imagine the pressure on the kid who is labeled as a superstar at 12 and has to hang his head between his legs at 16 because he flamed out. Imagine being the parent of that kid and having to prop up his destroyed self-esteem. Stop the insanity of ranking kids in the 6th grade, even if it is making someone a few bucks. At least wait until they are closer to having adult bodies.

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