Is the Pressure of Youth Sports Too Much? Olympian Julie Foudy Weighs In

Los Angeles, CA – In a recent interview with Kids in the House, Olympic Gold Medalist and former Captain of the US Women’s National Team, Julie Foudy opens up about youth sports, including the pressures young athletes face and how parents can encourage their children to be leaders.

“You find your voice. You find your confidence. And everything you’re doing on the field with your teammates transfers to life,” says Foudy of the power of youth sports.

As the Captain of the US Women’s National Team for 13 of her 17 years on the field and a two-time World Cup Champion, Foudy has experienced the pressure of being a professional athlete.

Experts agree that nowadays the pressures young athletes face are not just sport-related. Youth everywhere face not only the pressure to perform at a high level but also the pressure to drink alcohol.

“It’s your friends. You want to feel like you belong with that group, and I get all of that peer pressure. So have a strategy,” says Foudy.

When asked how to instill a sense of confidence in young athletes, particularly girls who are entering puberty, Foudy, who is the founder of a sports and leadership camp for girls ages 12-18 called Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy, encourages parents to be mindful of their words and actions.

“The first point of making a strong, young, teenage girl is being that strong person yourself and leading from a place of strength,” says Foudy, “The little comments you make—those seep into young kids’ minds, and all of a sudden you hear it coming from them.”

Another pressure that both parents and kids face, according to Foudy, is sport specialization. Foudy says that there is a difference between youth sports of her generation and sports specialization now.

“I loved being out there. I loved being around my teammates. There was fun. There was joy to it,” says Foudy. 

“[Now]There’s this risk of burnout,” says Foudy. “So I’m constantly making the argument of ‘Stop the madness!’ We don’t need to train five times a week at the age of eight, 11 months out of the year! I think it’s crazy!”

Foudy goes on to say that the key factor in a child playing a sport should be his or her desire to do so.

“What is it that you truly love? What is it that makes you want to jump out of bed and get better at it?” prompts Foudy. “You just can’t go wrong when you feel passionately about something.”

To hear the full Kids in the House interview with Julie Foudy, click here.

About Kids in the House

Kids in the House is the world’s largest parenting video library with over 8,000 videos from 450 experts including physicians, psychologists, researchers, educators, best-selling authors, and other celebrated cultural voices. The website hosts short-form video content that features parenting professionals from all areas sharing their tips for all parenting styles.

Kids in the House is a place where parents have the opportunity to hear and share different perspectives. Where there are questions, Kids In The House has the solutions from inquiries into pregnancy to getting into college. The library aims to help parents and caregivers better help their children through education, inspiration, and entertainment.  The videos are indexed and searchable by topic in the following categories: All Parents, Pregnancy, Adoption, Baby, Toddler, Preschool, Elementary, Teen, and Special Needs.

Leana Greene, founder and CEO of Kids in the House, is a parenting trends expert and one of the top female entrepreneurs in the United States. She aims for the website to be the most comprehensive parenting resource available—one that respects the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

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