KC Royals Youth All Sport Expo offers Valuable Educational Resources for Community
By Jeff Strange
The global youth sports market has turned into a highly profitable segment. Recently released analysis by Markets N Research, a research company that helps educate their members and consumers through tactical and strategic research methods, has observed that that the global youth sports market stood at $37.5 billion in 2022, with forecasted growth expected to reach approximately $69.4 billion in 2030.
While proving to be a very prosperous business overall, participating in sports as a child can help promote positive physical health, social skills, learning teamwork and aid in emotional well-being/mental health, amongst other benefits.
However, in a day and age where tools such as social media and specialized training is largely at an athlete’s disposal, there can be cons to focusing on developing dominating, sport-specific skills. Burnout, overuse and mental health are some primary examples of potential risks involved with becoming hyper-focused on athletics.
The Kansas City Royals recently hosted a Youth All Sport Expo at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Launched by the Royals Amateur Development System (RADS), the event was geared for coaches of all sports to learn about mental and physical health of athletes.
Casey Borovac, Manager of Sport Development for the Royals recognized a need to help promote the mental well-being of young athletes and opened up the door to many resources for coaches of all levels to learn positive and effective methods to carry over into their culture.
“Being an athlete today undoubtedly has many opportunities,” said Borovac. “But with those opportunities can be stresses and pressures that get amplified with things such as social media. There’s an expectation sometimes put out by coaches, parents or the athletes themselves to compare each other through avenues such as social media. While there are certainly some benefits available, there can also be an immense amount of pressure to perform that weighs heavily on athletes today.”
With that in mind, the Royals Amateur Development System constructed this opportunity as a way to educate coaches on methods to help with mental health, along with managing and preventing burnout, the effects of social media, injury prevention and teaching life lessons.
The RADS program was created in 2021 with an emphasis to improve and enhance participation in local Kansas City youth baseball and softball leagues. This year’s expo was the first one offered by the RADS program, with Borovac envisioning it to be an annual event.
Featuring multiple speakers and presenters offering their input, topics discussed at the expo included:
- Kinetic Chain Dysfunction of the Shoulder and Elbow by Dr. Vincent Key-MD (Medical Director and Head Team Physician for the Kansas City Royals)
- Performance-Based Healthcare for Athletes by Dr. Joni Pro – APRN, FNP-C
- Pressures that Youth Athletes Face and Signs of Mental Health Challenges by Dr. Becky Gernon – M.D., M.P.H.
- Managing and Preventing High Level Stress and Burnout by Chris Cannon – LPC/MHSP, CCMHC, ACS
- Effects of Social Media by Emily Hawkins – LPC/MHSP
- Strategies to Build Confidence in Young Athletes by Melissa Lambert – Director of Behavioral Science, KC Royals
- Recognizing the At-Risk Signs by Chris Cannon – LPC/MHSP, CCMHC, ACS
- Perfectionism within the Athlete by Emily Hawkins – LPC/MHSP
- Double Goal Coach/Coaching for Winning and Life Lessons by Coach Brian Swan
- Project Play/Don’t Retire a Kid by Dylan Wilson
- Not Good Enough by Jeff Diskin
While recognizing the expo as a positive opportunity for the coaching community overall, Borovac envisions this event to be a constructive and informative resource for coaches, parents and athletes to utilize in an evolving atmosphere.
“We had about 150 coaches total that came out,” said Borovac. “Coaches of all age levels, ranging from the local scene to out-of-state were in attendance this year. The hope is to hold this event at least once a year as a positive resource to the community.”