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Keith Van Horn: Let The Kids Play

SPORTS CAN BATTLE RACISM: As a force in education through sports, we vow not to stop at condemnation, but to strive to be a force for reconciliation, through the collaborative actions with coaches throughout our country.

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Keith Van Horn (@Coach_Keith44) played in the NBA for 10 years, participating in two NBA Finals and finishing his career with an average of nearly 16 points and seven rebounds per game. Earlier, he was a Consensus First Team All-America and 1997 ESPN National Performer of the Year at University of Utah.

Keith, a member of PCA's National Advisory Board, currently serves as Executive Director for Colorado Premier Basketball Club, which he founded based on many PCA principles. Keith is passionate about improving our youth sports culture and writes about his experiences and opinions in his blog, Layups and Rebounds. The following summarizes one of Keith's posts.

Parents, coaches and youth sports organizations have created an environment in youth athletics that is increasingly geared toward meeting adult objectives, such as:

  • Win.
  • I'll pay you $100 an hour if you coach my kid to be great.
  • Make a living running youth tournaments.
  • Get the investors a return on the youth sports facility they funded.

In this environment, kids can't just go to the park and play. They have a soccer game Saturday morning, and a basketball tournament in the afternoon. Same on Sunday.

However, kids learn more than we could ever imagine by just going out and playing, without a coach telling them what to do. They learn to take chances, be creative without the fear of adult or coach condemnation, and learn social rules such as sharing and cooperation. They learn to stand up for themselves and learn that when they get knocked down, they have to get back up. Perhaps, we need to step back and let them play a little more.

To read this excerpt in more detail on Keith Van Horn's blog Layups and Rebounds, click the link below.


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