Development Zone®


PCA Resource Center

The Worst Part Of Youth Sports For Kids Is The Car-Ride Home

Share This Resource

John O'Sullivan (@coachjohnnyo) started the Changing the Game Project in 2012 after two decades as a soccer player and coach on the youth, high school, college and professional level. He is the author of the #1 bestselling books Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes, and Giving Youth Sports Back to our Kids and Is it Wise to Specialize? John is also a regular contributor for, and his writing has been featured in many publications including The Huffington Post and Soccer America.

In this video, O'Sullivan says that when people are asked what their worst memory is about youth sports, most respond that it is the ride home from the game. Kids are physically and emotionally exhausted, yet parents want to make the car ride home a "teachable moment." It is actually one of the least teachable moments. He advises that parents let their child drive the conversation. If they want to talk about the game, let them talk, but do not be the one forcing the conversation. The ride home can begin to take the joy out of playing youth sports for many kids if handled poorly.