Tag Archives: children’s athletic training

Redshirting: Changing the Game

The growing trend of parents redshirting their children prior to high school athletic competition leaves youth sports torn between ethical values and winning.  

The phenomenon, traditionally used by athletes competing in the NCAA, is now shifting towards kids as early as kindergarten.  This parentinitiated process is a way for a child to gain physical advantages compared to his or her peers, as well as attract the attention of college coaches and recruiters.    

Most organizations and sports programs do not see the practice as enough of a threat to enforce regulations against it. Yet other entities, such as the New Jersey state legislature, are pushing to end redshirting.

“Right now, it’s not [considered] cheating,” New Jersey State Senator Richard Codey (D-Essex) said, “but we know it is. It’s trying to game the system.”  

Despite several gray areas in the bill, many do believe parents should take into consideration all the ramifications of such actions.

“We really need to think about kids’ rights to an open future,” CSUN Kinesiology Professor Doug McLaughlin said. “Some people in our society value sports too much, which causes people to do things that are problematic.” McLaughlin said if parents decide to redshirt their children for sports, they have only a 50-50 chance at best of seeing success after high school.

A Notre Dame University study found that kids who repeat a year of school between kindergarten and sixth grade, are 60 percent less likely to finish high school.

“It’s tough enough to be a teenage boy and have your parents tell you you’re not good enough so we are going to hold you back,” said President of William S. Hart Baseball, Michael Eberle. “The kids are [the] victims at stake.  I’m just not sure that is a positive message.”

Former college football player and current high school football coach Trajuan Briggs said his perspective on the trend has changed through the years.

“As a player on the high school level, I thought it was a bit unfair.  Since this kid is now in my recruiting class, what if he gets the scholarship I was suppose to get?” Briggs said.  “Once I got to college, my outlook on those types of players changed.  It didn’t bother me at all.  I knew I was going to have to compete with 23-year-old juniors as a freshman and rely on my skills.”

As a coach, Briggs has seen the trend occur several times.  

“It goes back to Pop Warner, where kids are being held back by the parents,” Briggs said. “And believe it or not, a lot of high school coaches look for that.  They feel like it is an on field advantage.” 


Moderator: Harry Bennett III

Anchor: Ayo Adelaja

Producer: Haley Kramer

Social Media Editors: Valerie Hernandez and Sofia Levin

Reporters: Harry Bennett III, Jarvis Haren, Valerie Hernandez, Haley Kramer, Sofia Levin and Mariah Robinson

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Combating the MMA Controversy

Mixed Martial Arts has been gaining popularity over the last decade, even with children. With prominent figures like Rhonda Rousey, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and many others involved, it is no surprise that MMA would eventually appeal to kids.

But many parents are on the fence about placing their kids in MMA, because of the perception that this sport causes a lot of serious injuries through direct physical contact.

Studies published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine and the North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy report that MMA poses greater risks for injury than other combat sports, especially among professionals.

But, according to some UFC advocates, MMA does not incorporate violence into classes for kids, and may actually be an outlet for some children to channel their aggression in healthy ways.

“There’s a misconception that parents think throwing kids into martial arts is actually going to make them more aggressive, and [the] kids are going to become bullies,” said Turbo, a UFC fighter and coach. “In reality, it’s the complete opposite. They now have a structure where they can kind of channel their energy.”

Many parents are signing their kids up, despite the controversy, because the training and exercise seems to increase their kids’ confidence and motivation, in school as well as in other areas of life. In 2012, ESPN reported nearly 5.5 million teenagers and another 3.2 million kids under 13 participating in MMA training.

“[My daughter] became very confident, very outgoing,” said UFC coach and mother Aja Starr, “and being able to do one workout gave her the confidence that she could to do the next workout…[Kids] make the connection between being a good athlete and being a good student, and being a good person.”

“There’s a lot of children throughout the world who could benefit from this, and could also increase their self-esteem and their grades, and actually their relationship with their parents,” said CSUN Psychology Professor Herman Rodriguez.

“I think it’s just a misconception that parents think that they’re basically ushering their kids into this very violent arena, when in fact it’s like any sport,” Starr said. “It’s no different than karate or taekwondo or soccer, for that matter. I think what people miss is that there’s a sport, there’s a real discipline to it, and there’s a real path that their kids are on that doesn’t necessarily have to lead to aggression.”

Moderator: Caitlin Pieh

Anchor: Ala Errebhi

Producer: Halie Cook

Social Media Editor: Nicholas Seaman

Reporters: Noemi Barrajas, Halie Cook, Juaneeq Elliott, Ala Errebhi, Jamie Perez and Nicholas Seaman

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