Saturday, July 25, 2009

Youth Sports is an Arms Race

This is a great article for anyone who has kids that play youth sports or who is interested in behavioral science. I love analogies that tie together seemingly disparate situations (although the analogy on NPR earlier this week comparing rappers to geopolitics was a bit of a stretch).

But in addition to the basic premise, what do you think about the statement:
“It's crucial to recognize the difference between intensive athletic practices and something like studying. Competitive athletic success is a zero sum game. There will be the same number of major league players making the same salaries if everyone in the world became twice as good at playing baseball.

Studying, on the other hand, makes people smarter, more educated and more productive. And that makes your life better, regardless of what everyone else is doing. Economic productivity is not a zero sum game. If we all became twice as smart, we would all be richer, healthier, safer and so on.”
Is it true? I think there also are positive externalities of athletic training. Not just better fitness, but the ability to practice intensely also transfers (read Talent is Overrated for more on this). Or the ability to be a team player (although does this get better or worse if you are intensely competitive in sports?).

More questions than answers. My favorite kind of reading!!