What’s behind the medals

The bottom line is that for a long time the American “non-system” has served us quite well. What has happened? The first thing that changed was the erosion of mandatory physical education to the point where today there is only one state that has mandatory physical education K – 12. The most obvious impact is that youngsters are no longer exposed to systematic physical activity. They are no longer taught basic movement or sport skills as part of an organized curriculum. What we failed to notice is that because physical education was no longer mandatory and that less physical education teachers were being hired. The physical education teacher made up the pool of trained coaches. Then there came an increased emphasis on academic achievement to the exclusion of physical education.

In addition, there were budget cuts due to declining enrollment and tax cuts. Therefore less qualified coaches were hired in the schools. Club sports began to take the place of school sports. These coaches had no educational requirement. Teacher training colleges changed their mission from teaching to research. Title IX put an increased burden on the schools because in many sports it was now necessary to field two teams instead of one. This served to further deplete the pool of trained coaches creating an obvious staffing problem. These problems are a reality in the United States in 2018.

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