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Sports Scouts Turn to Elementary School

youngathleteSomewhere in America is a sixth grader who will be the next Kobe Bryant or Peyton Manning. The scouts already know who he is.

After decades of college and major league talent spotters showing up at high school games to decide who their teams should be watching and signging, their turning their sights even lower. Elementary school, it seems, is the place to find the future stars.

Is anyone surprised? After all, Bryant was tracked out of high school and signed directly to an NBA deal. Now he’s got a handful of World Championship rings and the Los Angeles Lakers have made millions selling his jerseys and bringing in fans to watch him play. He was a known quanitity.

And now they want to know who’s next, who can these mega franchises bring up from the bottom and turn into gold? They’re getting help from the likes of JuniorRank.com which has begun holding football training camps around the country where they not only teach kids as young as eleven but rank their abilities and record those rankings for posterity, for tracking purposes. At hoopscooponline.com, they keep track of THE sixth grade basketball player to watch.

So we knew it was coming, but does that make it OK? Does a sixth grader who knows he’s got talent have the same pressure as a sixth grader who knows he’s got talent AND he’s being watched? I doubt it. Because for every thousands of kids who wants to grow up to be the next Bryant or Manning, it’s statistically impossible every one will make it. So kids focus on life as a whole.

Tell them they’ve been ranked and there’s someone keeping an eye on them, and that goes away. In their immature minds, that’s as good as a promise that today it’s recess, tomorrow it’s the NFL. Now they HAVE TO be good because to not make it is to fail.

Can we give them just a few more years of playing HORSE and backyard tackle because they love to do it? Please?

Source: SI

Image: Ultimate Young Athlete

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