Just Sayin’ with Justin: Sports Correspondent Justin Wolford talks fire and aggression in young athletes


In the previous article I talked about the lapse in the top down approach to the sports programs in the county.

While the last article was highly observational this one is a purely opinion piece, taken from my experience coaching different sports in the county.

I have spoken with many parents and coaches at many different levels and along with my own experience parenting my children. There seems to be a lack in this generation of the competitive fire that used to be so prevalent in previous years.

The competitive fire is a very important aspect of sports.

From the entry level little league programs all the way to the professional level.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to bring out those aggressive behaviors and spirit of competition that made our predecessors so successful.

I am not saying that it doesn’t exist, as some kids exhibit it from day one. But what used to be the majority in sports programs is now the minority.

On a team of 12 kids you will have four or five that are on fire and willing to charge the breach headlong, whereas the others provide support.

The situation used to be reversed as each team had one or two kids that lacked competitive fire and the rest were gun-ho.

What has led to this?

I’m not really sure as anything proposed would be conjecture. My humble opinion is that the kids are inundated with numerous hobbies that split their focus.

Video games and YouTube have a major influence over our youth. Most of the competitive fire I’m speaking of is put in reserve by the children to be unleashed on campers in Call of Duty or Fortnite.

I think it’s a healthy dose anti-bullying measures coupled with aforementioned electronics and a drumming down from some coaches to stomp out that fire.

I was always coached to show aggression and fire on the field but once you leave the field you also leave all of that behind.

So, what is the answer you may ask?

I’m not sure there is one. It may just be where we are as a society. Some may say it’s just born in them and that may also be true as evidenced with my own children to which one is very competitive and aggressive and the other not so much.

As a coach we love all our kids and will always work to bring out the best in them. If I had to chose between having good kids who will become good contributors to society or aggressive behavior on the field, the good kids metaphor would win hands down, but is it too much to wish to have them both ? I hope not.

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