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Youth sports programs have become the focal point of many family-oriented communities nationwide Little League sponsored sports programs and T-ball are just three programs among thousands available for families and their children The increased national interest in sports over the past two decades has promoted the increased endorsement of these programs as well as developed interest on the part of families to encourage partaking by their children Many of the programs developed to encourage healthy levels of competitive and cooperative behavior help children develop a sense of fair play and help children find self-esteem by rewarding physical activities Programs like Little League have been recognized as a stepping stone in the development of major baseball players as well as presidents and successful business people The competitive nature of sports does not necessarily mean that children will develop unhealthy asocial competitive behaviors At the same time there are a number of factors that can impact the influences of organized youth sports programs on the participants and studies have shown that the results of the full picture of youth sports is not always a positive one Some of the influencing factors include the participation of parents in youth sports programs the suggestion by coaches parents and observers that winning is more important than the game itself and the nature of sports that lends itself to competitive and aggressive behavior It is difficult to develop a concrete perspective about the impacts of youth sports programs without considering these influences The influences described above have a decidedly negative impact on the outcomes of youth sports programs Children develop their sense of fair play and their perceptions of ethical behavior in part within the context of these programs These programs can also make a significant impact on the development of a childs self-perception self-esteem and emotional health If the messages displayed by adults in reference to the sporting events have a decidedly negative tone the impact of youth sports programs
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